Your home is probably the biggest asset you own. This is why you should hire a professional REALTOR® to guide you. I help 24 to 28 families each year buy or sell a home. I have been a financial & real estate consultant for the past 30 years and specialized in loan loss mitigation, short sale negotiation and REO marketing. I know how to negotiate contracts & navigate through the most difficult transactions.
Chris B Johnson CalBRE 01501699-Allison James Estates & Homes CalBRE 01885684
Search This Blog
Monday, August 3, 2015
Moorpark Home Owners Show Us Your Edible Gardens #ChrisBJohnsonRealtor
Edible gardens flourish during the summer, and farmers markets seem to overflow with fresh fruits and vegetables. We want to know — what does your edible garden look like right now? Are your herbs, vegetables and fruits thriving? Do you have a backyard, balcony or rooftop garden? Are you growing your edibles in decorative planter boxes or right in the ground?
Homeowners: Post photos to the Comments that show us what you’re growing and where — chard on the roof, herbs on the balcony, or tomatoes in your suburban backyard, your country garden or even in yourparking strip.
Professionals: Have you designed any edible gardens for your clients? Upload a picture to the Comments and tell us what makes them work for your clients.
Harriet Goodall hails from New South Wales, Australia, where she, her husband and their two children manage the 96 acres surrounding their small cottage. The garden beds you see her tending here contain a wide variety of fresh produce that she and her family enjoy eating on a daily basis.
The Beck family call 5 acres in Poulsbo, Washington, home. When they first moved in, back in 2004, they were eager to start a garden. The Becks now have an edible garden they refer to as the “farm area,” with multiple raised brick beds where they grow a wide variety of fresh produce, includingzucchini, squash, tomatoes, blueberries anddill.
This backyard greenhouse in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is thriving. Owners Tom Cowan and Lynda Smith grow a wide variety of edibles given their small space: lettuce, radicchio, Swiss chard, dandelions (Italian heirloom), onions, strawberries, raspberries, garlic, mint, kale, mustard, curly kale, watercress, basil, parsley, sage, thyme, chives and sorrel. The couple grows most of those edibles in softGeoPots or Smart Pots, and a few others in cedar planters connected to the soil beneath them.
Clean, unadorned lines and an open, spacious feel are the hallmarks of modernist garden design. Food gardens —with their exuberant growth and chaotic medley of species that can go from tiny seedlings to an overgrown jungle to half dead and decrepit looking over a six-month period — seem like a contradiction to the contemporary look that is so prevalent in landscape design today. But that need not be the case. With careful plant selection and the right hardscape materials, incorporating edibles into your modernist landscape is easier than you might imagine.
Whether you’re designing a landscape for a backyard in Southern California or a rooftop in Manhattan, the same concepts apply: Place sprawling vegetable gardens in contemporary containers and leave lots of empty space around them so the eye has a place to rest.
Consider metal planters. Cor-Ten steel planters, like the circular ones pictured here, have become widely available in recent years and are a contemporary alternative to the traditional wood box planter.
Note the clean lines around the garden made with edging, a wide pea gravel path and the cool-toned painted fence in the background. These all maintain the modernist look in a yard that features a sprawling vegetable garden front and center.
One of the wonderful things about Cor-Ten steel is its ability to bend. Modernist design often juxtaposes straight lines and fluid, organic shapes in interesting ways to create an overall design that is abstract but visually compelling.
Corrugated steel containers also fit the modernist aesthetic well. Livestock watering troughs, which come in many shapes and sizes, can be almost-sinstant vegetable planter — just drill ¾-inch drain holes every 12 inches or so in the bottom, fill with planting soil and you’re ready to go.
Here, the long lines of the oval containers create a striking futuristic design on this Los Angeles rooftop. Again, minimalism is key — the designer used nothing but the containers and cool, neutral-toned hardscape materials to create a clean, orderly feel.
Modernism has nothing against symmetry, but “orderly randomness” is also frequently used. This fenced-in vegetable garden in Berkeley, California, becomes an abstract work of art when viewed from above.
Get creative with wood. Wooden vegetable planters will also work in a modernist garden if designed in the right way. One simple key is to avoid using ones with a lip that extends over the top edge of the planter. The lips are the horizontal wooden boards that often cap the vertical wooden sides of wood planters, but they go against the modernist emphasis on clean, unadorned lines.
This design includes a lip, but the lip is set over the inside of the planter to maintain the clean outer line of the cubes. The lip serves a practical purpose as a place to sit or rest tools on, which is helpful in an edible garden.
Use glazed pots. Traditional terra-cotta pots go great in a Mediterranean edible garden but are a poor choice for a contemporary garden. Glazed pots, especially those with a tall, thin profile, fit the modernist look much better. Use them for herbs, vegetables or berry bushes.
Don’t forget fruit trees. Fruit trees often give off an old-fashioned vibe, but there are ways of getting around that. These pleached apple trees (Malus domesctica,USDA zones 3 to 9; find your zone) are a great example.
Pleaching simply means to train a row of trees or shrubs into a flat shape by tying and interlacing their branches together. It is similar to espaliering, in which individual plants are trained to grow on a flat plane, usually a wall. Pleaching and espaliering are high-maintenance approaches, but they’re a sure bet for getting fruit trees — as well as edible vines and shrubs — to conform to a contemporary design.
Choose edible species carefully. Clutter is the enemy of modernist landscapes and the reason that edibles, especially vegetables, are not often included in them. Even the most unkempt vegetables, liketomatoes, can fit the part if surrounded by the right hardscape elements, but another approach is to choose edibles that match the contemporary aesthetic.
Asparagus, for example (which is a perennial vegetable for USDA zones 3 to 10), has a tidy appearance, with wispy fronds that are reminiscent of ornamental grasses and other species often used by modernist designers. Eggplant is also a tidy plant, and its smooth, oblong fruits look fantastic in a glossy, glazed container.
The Romanesco cauliflower and red chard pictured here are an example of the abstract artistry found in some vegetable combinations, which are quite stunning when incorporated in an edible modernist garden.
A good rule of thumb for modernist design is that at least half of the garden be devoted to static architectural shapes, such as hardscaping, cropped turf and neatly clipped shrubs, as opposed to plants that change significantly throughout the seasons (like perennial flower borders).
In that vein, you may want to limit your use of edibles in a modernist landscape to a small portion of the nonarchitectural part of the design. That way the food plants will form a counterpoint in a balanced larger picture, as the bright yellow lemons do on the left side of this garden.