Edible Landscaping: How & Why

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You may have heard of edible landscaping as it’s becoming more popular. There have been some instances where folks were fined or arrested for having a ‘front lawn’ vegetable garden but lately things have been looking up as more and more cities are beginning to embrace front yard gardens.

garden
garden

Edible landscaping isn’t just planting vegetables all willy nilly in the yard. Edible landscaping IS landscaping. A lawn and garden mixture that’s easy on the eyes and a provider of food for the family.

Are you old enough to remember Victory Gardens? If not, you’ve surely read about the practice. All Americans were urged to grow as much food as possible as an aid for the war effort as most of the commercially produced food was needed for the soldiers.

A well thought out edible landscape isn’t just growing food in rows, it’s a detailed landscape with vegetables, fruits and herbs as well as some non-edibles.

Such a plan could be in borders around the yard, both front and back, or merely in the front flower bed. You could even have hanging pots and potted plants (herbs like pots).

Such a ‘garden’ does best, of course, when the produce planted is plants zoned for your area. You can find a planting zone chart here.

Growing in a landscape is not too different than a row garden. You choose your plants, determine where to plant, and do so. Unless you’re a seasoned gardener, start small. You can expand your garden annually.

When planning, think about whether you’re planting a vining vegetable such as a pole bean. Do you have structure for it to climb such as a trellis or clothesline pole? Think about how big the plant will get. There’s a big difference in how much space you need for a tomato plant, onions, or a bush bean compared to the sprawling habits of a melon, squash or pumpkin.

Be flexible. If Junior is the only person in the family that will eat a cucumber but he can eat a lot of them, then make room for his favorite vegetable as well as the rest of the fam. Growing what you love and what you know will get eaten is a sure fire way to feel good about the time and effort a garden takes.

And yes, a garden does take time. You need to keep the area weed free as weeds compete with your food-source plants for nutrients, keep them watered and harvested. For many vegetables, harvesting encourages additional growth insuring a season long harvest.

When you pull that first vine-ripen tomato from the plant and bite into it right out in the garden, you’ll know the pleasure of growing your own tasty nutritious food.

What’s your favorite garden vegetable? Fresh picked radishes? Onions with dirt still clinging to them? Warm yellow squash filled with sunshine?