In the past generations, the main interest in landscaping was food! Our grandmothers and great grandmothers could step out of their kitchen, into their garden and harvest vegetables, fruits and herbs. Grandma wasn’t as concerned about the “look” of her garden as she was after with what it produced. Whether you have a desire to “work the soil” or just a need to trim your budget, planting an edible landscape is a smart way to go.
You need a Good Planning
With a little planning, an edible landscape can be beautiful and functional at the same time. The same considerations should be given to sunlight, and soil composition as you would when planting a traditional landscape. Make sure you have an area with enough sunshine, most fruits and vegetable will require at least six hours of full sunlight per day with well-drained and well composted soil.
When choosing your plants, remember that annual edibles are more labor intensive than perennial edibles. Annuals will cost more than perennial plants because you will have to replace them every year or as they are eaten. Perennial edibles such as fruit trees and trees/bushes that produce nuts and berries may take a few years to start producing fruit, so you may want to “fill in” with annuals until the perennials get established and begin to produce.
If you are not a seasoned gardener, start small. Choose a couple of fruit trees, berry bushes and a small plot of vegetables. Here is a list of some easy to care for and low maintenance edible plants you might consider:
- blue berries
- high bush cranberries
- raspberry bushes
Red cabbage, string beans, lettuce eggplant, Alliums, Chrysanthemums, Pansies, and Queen Ann’s Lace are all flowering plants that can be eaten. Strawberries make an excellent ground cover and spread fast. Adding a grape arbor would be a beautiful addition to any landscape.
If space is limited, edible gardening in containers is a nice option. Sunlight and soil composition as well as good drainage are still important to the health and growth of your plants. Herbs do well on small containers on a patio or in a sunny window. Tomatoes, onions, lavender, peppers, lettuce, chard, Pansies, and cucumber bushes are all great choices for container gardening.
You must realize that a garden of any kind will demand a certain amount of maintenance to produce and thrive. Once you have chosen the perfect sunny spot, tilled and fertilized the soil, you will need to be committed to weeding and watering daily. Once a month fertilizing is a good idea, the fruit trees will have to be pruned yearly and the annuals will have to be replaced every year.
If you are diligent in careful planning and care of your edible landscape, it will reward you with fresh, tasty fruits and vegetables. As produce prices continue to climb, you will realize the increasing value of your landscape.