When I was a young bride I planted some vegetables in my first garden. My Dad criticized my first efforts and said that I should plant flowers instead of vegetables. My Dad thought that gardening was an either/or proposition. To be fair, he had never grown a garden of his own. He lived in the middle of the city in a townhouse. He was the president of the Home Owners Association. His idea of a garden was Queen Elizabeth Park. My idea of a garden was Green Acres.
Gardening doesn’t have to be either a food garden or an ornamental garden. You can have both if you follow Angela England’s advice and Gardening like a Ninja. (See my review here.) Angela advocates designing an edible landscape that includes edible, medicinal, and ornamental perennials that are filled in with annuals for food. Sounds a little more complicated than straight-up, raised bed vegetable gardening, doesn’t it?
It is just a little more complicated because it takes a little more planning and a lot more landscape design than just building raised beds and planting annual vegetables and herbs. But once the design work is done and your plants are in place the maintenance work is a lot less.
In edible landscape design your foundational plants are perennial fruit and nut trees that give 3 or 4 season interest, medium size perennial herbs and flowers that draw the eye or the nose, and annual vegetables and herbs that fill in the borders. For new gardeners that have to please a Home Owners Association, designing an edible garden that’s also ornamental can seem overwhelming.
Angela has some help to offer that goes beyond her new book, Gardening like a Ninja. Gardening like a Ninja – An Edible Landscaping Guide Course is a 4 Unit, 12 lesson course that holds your hand through the initial planning stages of landscape and garden design. With the book and the companion course you’ll be able to plan a garden design that even the most finicky HOA will be happy with. In fact they may not even recognize it as a food garden. It will be your secret.
While you don’t need to have a course to help you understand and implement the knowledge in Gardening like a Ninja, if you’ve never planted a garden before or you think you’ve got a black thumb, the course can help. It takes you through the foundational needs of plants in an easy to understand way. Then the course will help you design your lovely and productive garden.
In the first half of the course, you’ll cover essential elements like light, water, soil fertility, compost making, and plant hardiness zones. The second half of the course covers landscape design fundamentals.
Angela takes you through each step of designing your own garden, from choosing the focal point trees and shrubs to filling in the corners. She even helps you choose your colour scheme based on the mood you want to evoke in your garden space. By the time you are done, you’ll have a shopping list to take to your garden centre. You could have your low maintenance edible landscape planted by May, full of both edible and medicinal plants. And your neighbors may not even recognize that you’re growing your own food and medicine.
Have a slow internet connection? Rather be in the garden than online?
If you have a slow internet connection or just a little time, this course is for you. The lessons are print format with attractive professional quality pictures. None of the lessons take longer than 10 minutes to read. If you read fast you can get through the entire course in less than an hour. But don’t let the length of the lessons fool you. There’s no fluff here. The course has the essential elements to allow the beginner or intermediate gardener to design and grow a productive edible landscape specific to their own hardiness zone.
Personal guidance for the Ninja Gardener
I have to admit, designing an intentional edible landscape is a little more complicated than just building and planting out a few raised beds. It does help to have some personal guidance and to be able to ask questions from someone who has some experience. Like I’ve got this idea, will it work?
There’s a lot more to implementing an edible landscape design than a book can actually tell you. But an experienced gardener can foresee potential problems and guide you through the pitfalls, so that you don’t make costly errors. This guidance can help you avoid planting a black walnut beside plants that won’t grow around walnut roots, for instance. The course has its own interactive Facebook group where you can share your own garden designs and get feedback, before you actually spend a dime on seeds or shrubs. Planning your edible landscape design upfront instead of buying trees and shrubs and trying to find a spot for them afterwards, can save you a lot of cash, time, and garden space.
Who is this course for?
This is the ideal short course for new gardeners or experienced gardeners who are new to landscape design. It is a short class, so you’ll get the information you need quickly, without feeling overwhelmed. The class is presented so you can skip the information that is redundant for you and jump to the important bits. The elements of landscape design given in the course are basic, with just enough information that a beginner won’t be overwhelmed.
However, an experienced garden designer who is looking for specific plant information, growing conditions, or permaculture principles may find this class too elementary to be of benefit. The book alone has the information that you need, as a designer, to implement secret food gardens in an urban environment.
Why garden design is important?
I’ll admit to never sitting down with a piece of graph paper and a notebook to plan my garden. And in fact, my garden looks like it. There are straight rows of apple trees and in between the trees raised vegetable beds. My version of garden planning up till now has been, I bought this plant, where is the easiest place to clear some brush to plant it? My garden looks a little rough and haphazard. But that’s all right when you have as much land as I have.
However, my garden would never win any Community in Bloom award. But after reading Gardening Like a Ninja, I wondered if my rustic forest garden could be even more productive and a little prettier. This extra class is just the hand holding needed to turn what we imagine into something that feeds the senses while it nourishes our families.
Get Gardening like a Ninja – An Edible Landscaping Guide Course here.
Limited Time Offer:
Use the coupon code: JOYBILEE. (Expires March 31, 2016)
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Disclaimer: Author Angela England gave me a complimentary pass so that I could check out the class and judge whether it would be something my readers would enjoy. I was under no obligation to give the course a favorable review. This is my honest opinion of the class.