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How to Plant Edible Foundation Plantings

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner select foundation plantings that include edible varieties for both people and wildlife

Steps:

  1. Choose the right plant for the right location. Check the nursery tags to see the final height and width of each plant and plan accordingly.
  2. Consider when plants will be in bloom and when there will be other interest from foliage and plan a garden so that there is always something to command attention.
  3. Stage plants before digging holes.
  4. Dig holes that are 2-3 times wider than the roots and don’t dig the hole too deep — keep it about 2” shallower than the root ball.
  5. For any plants where the roots are growing around the container, use a hand cultivator to tease the roots to grow away from the plant.
  6. When backfilling new plants, use a mix of compost and loam and add starter fertilizer.
  7. When planting a tree that’s been wrapped in burlap, expose the root flare to set the correct planting depth.
  8. Ensure new plantings get a good watering.
  9. Add mulch 2-3” deep around the plants, but not in contact with the stems.

Resources:

All of the tools used in this segment can be found at a home center or landscape supplier.

Bulk soil, compost, and mulch can be purchased from a landscape supplier.

Plant varieties will vary by garden center or nursery.


Tools