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Edible Laneways

cherries on a tree

Edible laneways are amazing! An edible laneway or linear garden is a simple and effective way to manage a garden on small properties and homesteads. The concept is this: focus your fruit, berry and herb planting along a single bed beside your driveway or along a fence line. You can plant vegetables between the fruit trees as they establish, you can integrate layers of diversity like an ecosystem (see our book), you can grow a long melon patch- you name it. What is different from other gardens is that instead of a square or rectangle garden with many beds, an edible laneway organizes all the planting into a single bed along a linear, organized space (road, fence line, property front). Because the planting is linear and aligned with your property's layout, it is efficient, affordable and productive. Yes, if you want to grow much more fruit in an orchard or a large garden, then perhaps the Permabed System (as explained in The Permaculture Market Garden) is for you. However, if you are interested in a smaller production that is very affordable and efficient, edible laneways are for you. These can be built using the modular approach presented in The Edible Ecosystem Solution.

Excerpt from the Book

The Edible laneway design is helpful for several reasons. First of all, daily management is simple because access is increased. From planting to weeding to harvest, all these activities occur along one trajectory. You are never far from a road or space for easy access. Also, irrigation is greatly simplified. If you are only going to grow 100 feet of a garden bed, it is easier and more affordable to connect drip tape to one long 100' bed instead of four 25' garden beds that require more header hose and shut off valves. By including your laneway planting into your property design, you have not only created an efficient and affordable production system but also beautified your primary path of entry into your home.

The flowers in spring and fruit in fall are always present and benefiting you by creating a beautiful landscape around your home and the paths you travel daily. Lastly, because your garden is along this path you travel daily, it is always easier to monitor and forecast your management. You can easily see the fruit is ripe or a specific weed pressure that needs attention. Out of sight, out of mind is an adage that doesn't apply to edible laneways!

Whether you have an urban property, a suburban homestead, or a rural farm - edible laneways are great features to build edible ecosystems and garden benefits into your life affordably and efficiently.

About the Authors

Zach Loeks author photo

Author Zach Loeks

Zach Loeks is an award-winning educator, designer, author, consultant, and grower who specializes in Edible Ecosystem Design around the world. He is the director of the Ecosystem Solution Institute and author of The Permaculture Market Garden. He lives in Cobden, Ontario.

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