Edible Colorado Landscapes

May 26th, 2017

What’s better than a landscape that looks good, but also is edible?! Not a whole lot.

Edible landscapes require some tending to, but are possible in a Colorado climate.  It’s also not just a garden, but can be fruit trees, fruit shrubs, and vegetable or fruit gardens. Incorporating edible plants into landscapes makes your outdoor areas more interesting, colorful, and delicious.

Starting the Growing Process

Edible landscaping is a continuous trial and error process. Getting to know your plant’s personalities, soil properties, and the sunlit areas of your landscape are the keys to the success of your fruit and vegetable plants. Once mastered, it is an incredibly rewarding process and way of landscaping.

Growing in Colorado can be a challenging process to begin. We have low humidity levels, poor soil, heavy clay, and high winds- none of which help promote growth. Hardiness zones are geographically defined areas in which certain plant life is capable of growing. Colorado is classified as a zone 5, meaning our plants can often withstand cold temperatures. Edible plants can typically withstand the Colorado climate, but do require more delicate care and attention.

Adding water to poor soil conditions is simply not enough for your edible plants. The soil needs to be regularly amended and we also recommend using raised beds depending on the type of product you’re looking to grow.

You can more easily control and confine the soil when using a raised bed. Our Colorado soil is prone to fungi and mold, but with a raised bed, you get more direct access into the soil below the sprouts. It also does not have to be a true garden. You can build a similar type of garden using containers- just use multiple containers for multiple plant types!

Consider planning your garden lots like you are farming a full-sized area. Divide the soil space into individual lot areas and plant the same plant within the laid-out space. Plants all use the nutrients of the soil differently. Each year, trade off what you plant in each lot to help give your plants the nutrients they need out of the soil content. If you plant corn one year, plant beans in that space the next year! We recommend keeping a journal to track what you grow, where each year.

Pollinators are your Keys to Success

Your pollinators are going to become your edible landscape’s new best friend. Different pollinators are required depending on which type of plant you are trying to grow. They ultimately promote the blooms to grow into fruits and vegetables on your plants.  Check out our blog on how to attract pollinators to your landscapes.

Some edible plants receive their pollination only by having another plant of the same nearby. If you have a tree that needs a pollinator, but is not being pollinated, you won’t get any fruit on your tree. You will also often need pollinators other than bees to help your plants out. Our staff in the nursery is equipped to help answer any questions you may have when it comes to fruit and vegetable pollination.  

Risks You May Run Into

Depending on the type of plant, there are different bugs and insects that may be a potential threat to your plants. There are different types of products and pesticides, both organic and non-organic in our nursery that will be able to safely eliminate your pests, while keeping your plants thriving.

When fighting against any threats or risks to your edible gardens, please carefully read any labels and follow instructions as directed. Consult with one of our experts when determining which product to use and how to successfully use the product. Our staff can help answer any questions about the chemicals you are using and what they’re safe to be used with. Remember- read the label. 

Colorado weather and season changes can present potential threats to your landscapes. If we get a late season frost, you run the risk of losing your blooms, which means you lose all of your fruit. Carefully monitoring season changes and reacting to extreme temperatures can only help your plants live long, happy lives.

Enjoy the Process

There is nothing more rewarding than being able to eat something at your table that you grew in your yard. Your trial and error processes come along with the territory of growing edible landscapes. It’s a fun, exciting type of gardening to experiment with that yields something everyone can enjoy!

Fossil Creek Nursery is located at 7029 S. College Ave in Fort Collins.

(970)-226-4924 | www.fossilcreeknursery.com