Creating a Coastal Edible Landscape
Beautiful and tasty gardening!
General description: Edible landscapes are increasingly popular with individuals, families and in communities. One can achieve a wonderful sense of accomplishment not only in the beauty of growing but also in the kitchen. It is gratifying to share and trade crops, garden wisdoms and tried and true varieties within one's community. On the Mendocino coast the climate is moderate and there are varieties of fruit trees, berries and vegetables available to thrive. Planning the site, layout of your garden and choosing climatically appropriate trees and plants will make for a better outcome.
Soil: The soil should be well drained, deep and slightly acid (or a neutral pH for fruits and berries). In the case of poor soil and drainage, raised beds, containers and berms are good solutions for vegetables and berries. Prepare soil well in advance using manure and/or other organic materials to improve drainage and add nutrients. It pays to take time with soil.
Light: Fruit trees, berries and vegetables all need full sun for good growth, optimum fruit set and fruit and vegetable quality.
Water: Young fruit trees need weekly watering to become established. Don't allow water stress. Once established, fewer and deeper waterings are appropriate. Vegetables need to be watched and watered carefully, not too much or too little. Blueberries and raspberries should be kept moist at all times but without saturating the soil, they are highly susceptible to root rot.
Fertilizing: Nitrogen is most often deficient; apply in early spring and in fall or monthly April through July. Plants in beds or containers need a complete fertilizer. Using mulch and compost will provide nutrients to all soil.
Maintenance: Clear weeds 2-3 feet around fruit tree trunks. Mulch to conserve moisture, control weeds, maintain a moderate soil temperature, and to improve the soil. Pruning and fruit thinning will improve harvest size and health of tree. Rotating vegetable beds, utilizing cover crops and green manure will add to the health of the soil.
Pests and disease: The Mendocino coast is ordinarily a wet region which can cause disease problems in the spring during bloom and problems with mildew and root rot. Typical pest problems include deer, gophers and birds after berries.
Favorite plant picks:
Bosc pear 'Beurre Bosc'
Comice pear 'Doyenne du Comice'
Darrow blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Red raspberry 'Sumner'
Kale ('Red Russian')
Lettuce 'Bronze Arrow'
References: California Master Gardener Handbook, 2004 How to Grow Vegetables and Fruit by the Organic Method, J.I. Rodale, 1976 Sunset Western Garden Book The Home Orchard, University of California, 2007 Submitted by Master Gardener Katie Wheeler, 2010