This is just the start of some thoughts, as yet incomplete. Please forgive me for putting fragmentary thoughts here and please add your ideas.
Our vision of the landscape of Humboldt Gardens is a wild landscape. In the shady parts it could be like a redwood forest with ferns and native forest plants. In the sunny areas it could have drought tolerant natives, flowering plants. It is designed to be inviting to all life, not just humans, with water and shelter for birds and other life. Mostly it is not pruned or weeded. Plants grow in their natural form. But since we are part of the picture I guess we'll move things around and make adjustments we want for the landscape we enjoy. There will be areas of mowed lawn for picnics, barbeques and other get togethers along with wild un-mowed grass and wildflowers. In my view a place is most fun and most enjoyable when it has a cooperative connection with all other life.
Since the natural landscape sustains all kinds of life, feeds birds, deer, squirrels and many other creatures, so ours can sustain us as well. I like the idea of a landscape that is beautiful, natural and also gives us food. My first experience with an edible landscape was when I was working on a project in Grenada, an island in the Caribbean, and I met with the forester for the island at his home. He offered to show me around his vegetable garden. We walked out of his house and into the jungle. All I could see around me was the wild landscape of the jungle. Then he pointed to a plant and said "there is my casava" and as we walked down the trail he pointed here and there to different edible plants, vegetables and fruit trees. Suddenly the "jungle" was transformed for me.
How could we do that at Humboldt Gardens? Since the idea is that the edible plants are fitting into a wild or natural setting, we wouldn’t be planting a regular vegetable patch with rows of one kind of plant. Rather we would have edible plants in irregular patterns mixed into the rest of the landscape. We would have different kinds of plants mixed together. We might have a “field” of lettuce. We would also be thinking of aesthetics, planting vegetables in ways that we like to look at while staying with the natural idea. We could choose some vegetables because they are beautiful or interesting. For example there are some very colorful cabbages.
What are the plants we could use and where do we plant them?
Please Post Your Thoughts
email to HumboldtGarden@gmail.com
Some links on Edible Landscape:
Ohio State University Fact Sheet on edible gardening http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1255.html
National Gardening Association Food gardening guide http://www.garden.org/foodguide/browse
Woman from Kodiak Island, Alaska writes about edible gardening http://www.plantea.com/edibleland.htm
Mother Earth News article http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1985-05-01/Edible-Landscaping.aspx
Other Landscape Links:
Gardening For Wildlife. National Wildlife Federation talks about how to make a garden that creates habitat for other creatures https://secure.nwf.org/backyard/certify.cfm?campaignid=WH09CHTP
Cal Flora maintains a database of California native plants: www.calflora.org
National Gardening Association has information on different plants with pictures. http://www.garden.org/home
Some gardening info for our area:
We are in Sunset Magazine Climate Zone 17 (USDA hardiness Zone 8B). We should select plants that are OK in this zone. This is a very mild climate, not cold, not hot. Some fruits require colder winters for good fruit. Some require more heat. Freezing is not a big problem.
cabbages with flowers in a casual garden.