Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge

It’s not just a good Aerosmith song.

Edge use, for those of us who really like to push our food production to the max, is essential.

Along a property line (assuming you have a good relationship with your neighbor and trust they won’t spritz your plantings with herbicide) is a great place to make use of an edge.

Trellised hops or sunflowers are a good start. Well caged tomatoes, if the sun and soil needs are met, is another option. I’ve had success with all of those. Edge and vertical space use always go well together.

Peas first, cucumbers later

Here, along the west side of our house I’ve planted peas. It receives moderate sun this time of year, the stucco holds daytime warmth and protects the plantings from late frost. Once the peas have finished out, I’ll replace them with cucumbers that’ll love the heat and sun that bears down on that side of the house during the later part of the day.

In the event you don’t want to add more food production: a lightly tended natural area can be a haven for birds, bees and small animals. We keep a mixed hedgerow between our chickens and our neighbor to the west. It gives the birds some cover. We clean it enough to keep invasive and destructive ivy at bay, otherwise it’s a hangout for our wild friends.

Berries of most varieties find an edge to inhabit even without human intervention. Most blackberries are found along forest edges and that’s where they’ll thrive for you as well. Consider a thornless type for good neighbors. Choose as needed!

Non-property line edge use is another tool. When we bought our house, it contained the standard two holly bushes between the porch pillars. Within a year I removed them and since then, that porch border has contained a blend of perennial herbs, iris and prickly pear cactus. It’s a mostly shaded area and all of these plantings seem to thrive in that location.

All of this is to emphasize that you probably have more space to work with than you realize.

If you’re new to this way of gardening or are interested in taking things up another level, get in touch.

Keep growing: within and without.