Create a beautiful landscape with edible plants. Easy to grow edible plants like blueberries and raspberries can be added to your landscape, no matter how small.
The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom will plant vegetables and fruits in containers as described in our previous post, container gardens enable those restricted by space, physical disabilities, and location to be be successful in creating their own gardens.
Besides planting in containers, the plan for our Edible Garden also includes another option. Instead of planting edibles in traditional garden beds, you can plant edible fruits directly into your landscape. According to Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardossi in Growing Berry Shrubs, “When you think about growing berries, strawberries are likely the first fruit that comes to mind. While these luscious berries are a favorite addition to an edible landscape, there are other berry-producing plants that not only yield an abundance of fruit, they also make attractive landscape plants.”
Today, volunteers planted eight blueberry and four raspberry plants in The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom.
The blueberries and raspberries were purchased through our friends at the Pittsburgh Garden Experiment, a blogging community for city gardeners, in their annual Fruit Tree and Plant Sale. We are happy to note that half of the proceeds from the sale will support Pittsburgh Permaculture.
We learned two important things about growing blueberries so if you are inclined to try them in your own landscape, here are a few resources for you to consider.
Several varieties of blueberries grow well in Pittsburgh with the proper soil amendments. Our soil was tested with a kit we purchased through the Allegheny County Penn State Cooperative Extension. The soil PH in Pittsburgh is high in alkaline (ours is 7.2 PH) and blueberries grow best in soil with a lower, more acidic PH (between 4.5 and 5). Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences Cooperative Extension’s article, So you want to Grow Fruit….is a wonderful resource for information about growing berries.
When you plant blueberries, you should plant more than one variety to allow for cross-pollination. We planted Blue Crop, Duke, Elliot and Patriot. Keith at Backyard Berry Plants has a great guide with information on how to plant and care for your berries.
How can you grow fresh food and beautiful gardens in small spaces?
Let’s say that you love to garden and the thought of growing your own food appeals to you. Perhaps you also think that you don’t have enough space or that you physically can no longer get down and dig in the dirt, well there is a solution, how about a container garden?
Growing plants, both edible and otherwise, as well as fruits and nuts is possible for most individuals. All it takes is a few containers and some ingenuity. Planting containers can occupy small balconies, even smaller ones can rest comfortably on windowsills. Container gardens enable those restricted by space, physical disabilities, and location to be be successful in creating their own gardens.
With a container garden, you can offer your plants optimal soil conditions as well as move the containers according to their sunlight needs. It is also a great way for kids to get involved in the education of growing their own food as well as a way to encourage responsibly.
Are you interested in starting a container garden? Keep an eye on the Rodef Shalom Congregation website for a two workshops: “Vegetable Gardening 101” and “Growing Vegetables in Containers”.
Until then, here are a few resources to get you started:
- About Container Gardening Ideas
- About Growing Vegetables in Pots
- Growing Strawberries in Windowboxes
- Gardening with Kids
- Container Gardening for Kids
Happy gardening !!!!
A Jewish compost bin? Well, the bin itself, not Jewish, but the eco-friendly practice of composting is certainly, as Leah Konig explains in an article on MyJewishLearning.com, “deeply Jewish”.
Leah Konig tells this story about a sign posted above a composting bin at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center:
As I stood before the food scrap bucket, poised to scrape in a few leftover bites of salad, my eye caught a sign taped directly above it. On the sign, next to a small photograph of two hands cupping a small mound of dirt it said: “Turn it and turn it for everything is in it.” Of course! The inside of a compost pile–made up of layers that get “turned” every so often….teems with life as countless hard-working microorganisms rebuild the universe out of our banana peels. What could be a better physical metaphor for the Torah than a healthy mound of soil?
The Compost Workshop
The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) described 2 types of compost bins, backyard bins and worm bins, at a workshop held at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Sunday. This engaging workshop thoroughly covered the importance of composting, setting up a compost pile, proper maintenance and ways of using finished compost.
According to the PRC website:
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. By utilizing the natural process of decomposition, organic materials often considered “waste,” such as grass clippings, food scraps, autumn leaves and even paper, can be recycled back into a rich soil conditioner. Through this transition, soil organisms, many of which are too small to see, break down the organic material in a compost pile so that valuable plant nutrients can be released for future generations of plants to use. Composting helps you reduce your waste stream, it improves the health of your gardens, and most of all its easy to do and enjoyable.
The Compost Bin
It’s available at Construction Junction.
This is a worm bin filled with worms!
The Rodef Shalom Preschool will use this bin in the classroom! Yikes!
Speaking of dirt, there is a low down dirt discussion that you don’t want to miss!! Join us as we discuss COMPOSTING!!!
Please reserve your spot at the Pennsylvania Resources Council’s workshop, “Backyard Composting for Adults” being held on Sunday, March 27th at 11:45 at Rodef Shalom Congregation . This class aims to teach about composting or, “natures recycling.” You will learn how to turn organic materials into a rich soil conditioner. Additionally, you will learn the importance of composting, how to set up your own compost pile, proper maintenance of the pile as well as ways to use the finished product.
A light lunch will be served to all attendees!! (Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch, this one is !)
Don’t forget to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you will be coming to get down and dirty with us!
Hope to see you there !!!
Introducing the one, the only, the blog you have been waiting for…..
Welcome to the Rodef Shalom Edible Garden Blog!!!!
What, you say you haven’t heard of us and you have no idea what an Edible Garden is, are you kidding? I thought for sure everyone knew, alright here it is from the beginning.
A very civic minded member of Rodef Shalom Congregation applied for, and Rodef Shalom Congregation was awarded, a grant from the Union of Reform Judaism to create and build an edible garden. The garden will be planted in containers on the property of Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Shadyside. Plantings will include edible plants, fruits and nuts.
The garden’s goal is to provide a Jewish educational program for preschool children, religious school children and interested congregants as part of a Life Long Learning Program. Additionally, it will aim to highlight the Jewish value of healthy and sustainable food choices and to strengthen the traditional Jewish connection between food and social responsibility.
The containers have been purchased, the plants selected, we await the official arrival of spring so that we can get planting!! Check back with us often, we will provide updates regarding planting dates and pictures! Better yet, subscribe to the blog and receive new posts in your email.
Comments are welcome, remember we are a family blog, the only dirt we want here is well, the real stuff !!