Last month, The Real Story took to the road to visit the founders of Star Apple Edible Gardens in a backyard planted for year-round harvesting. Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner took us up to a deck overlooking a colorful and sustainable landscape, and talked about their business.
In today’s podcast, Leslie and Stefani talk about how edible gardens provide both a beautiful and productive setting with a varied plantscape that responds to the seasons. In California, edible gardens are productive year-round; the trick is to mix up fruit and vegetable plantings with flowering plants, matching low-spreading plants with those with some height and structure, and understanding that some plants actually protect the plants around it.
As a bit of advice to the home gardener who buys a six-pack of plants and ends up with too much of a good thing during its harvest, and then a bare spot in the yard, the women suggest dividing up that vegetable’s growing area into three sections. In the first go the already-growing plants. Seeds go into the next section, and the last section is left unplanted until all of the first section is harvested and the second section showing growth. Then the last section is planted in seeds, and the cycle of succession planting keeps the home gardener in the green all season long.
Stefani and Leslie provide some welcome advice about planting the kitchen garden close to the back door, so that the plants that one needs on a daily basis are literally within snipping distance, and not out in a far corner where the raccoons can feast.