Tag Archive | "edible plants"

An Introduction to Edible Landscapes

Many people are choosing to move to creating more natural landscapes, even landscapes which contain plants that are useful, or can be eaten. Many vegetable plants are very attractive, and a lot of edible plants have ornamental varieties.

Most people who create edible landscapes use perennial vegetables, because they come back year after year, without the need to replant them each year. Once you’ve planted them, they’ll continue to provide you with beauty and food as long as you care for them.

A little watering and feeding is all most of them need, aside from the occasional weeding, pruning, or insect control. There are plenty of varieties of vegetables that you can plant that will keep feeding you year after year.

They’ll usually die during the winter, but every spring they’ll return and go through a growth cycle again. With the prices of fresh vegetables and fruits rising at an alarming rate, it’s a very good idea to grow some of your own.

You might not want the responsibility of caring for a traditional garden. Traditional gardens require a lot of work to maintain. You must constantly weed, rake, hoe, water, fertilize, and spray traditional gardens. But edible landscapes require little more effort than traditional landscapes!

You can use many different types of edible plants to replace various aspects of traditional landscaping. You can use fruit trees in place of standard trees. Many perennial herbs can be used to replace ground covers and shrubs. And ornamental vegetables can be used in place of flowers, borders, or other accents.

You can also mix edible plants with other plants to form beautiful combinations. Some edible plants, especially herbs, make great additions to flower gardens. You can mix all kinds of plants together for different looks.

Curly parsley looks beautiful with many different types of plants. You can plant it with pansies, lobelia, strawberries, dusty miller, or dianthus. Sage and oregano are very beautiful plants, and make great low shrubbery. They look fantastic as edging in front of larger bushes.

Leaf lettuces look lovely planted in beds as accent areas. You can plant a bed of different colors and varieties of leaf lettuce, and then edge it with a border grass. There are several types of plants that have edible flowers.

Many of these plants also have other edible parts. They can look very striking as part of a landscape while they’re in bloom. Sugar snap peas have gorgeous white, pink, or purple flowers, and they produce delicious peas.

Fava beans produce white and red flowers. Chives have amazing purple globe-shaped flowers. Dill has lovely yellowish blossoms. Nasturtium blossoms are edible, and some in red, yellow, and orange. Sage has blue and purple blossoms. And salvia also has blue and purple blooms.

Perennial herbs and vegetables are superb for planting in edible landscapes, because they require so little maintenance. You can try perennial broccoli, dandelions, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, sorrel, artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes, chives, fennel, garlic chives, ginger, and asparagus.

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Planning Your Edible Landscape

Edible landscaping is the process of planting edible plants in a landscape, rather than in a traditional garden. There are two major benefits to edible landscaping. First of all, edible landscapes save space, because they combine landscaping and food-growing into a single space.

Secondly, they turn a standard landscape into more than just aesthetics, but into a useful method of growing some of your own food. Edible landscapes don’t have to be 100% edible. You can design your edible landscape around any percentage of edible plants you wish.

You might choose to make your landscape 100% edible, or you might only include a single fruit tree. Edible landscaping has actually been around for a very long time. Some of the earliest edible landscapes were found in ancient Persia and in gardens in medieval times.

In some areas of the world, most people plant mostly edible varieties. Some people see no point in planting anything that isn’t edible, seeing everything else as a waste of valuable food-growing space.

An important part of planning your edible landscape is knowing what conditions each variety needs. Some plants will need a lot of sun, and some plants require more shade. You need to be sure the soil conditions are suitable.

Be sure to check each and every variety so you know its soil requirements, sunlight requirements, and the nutrient and pH balance needed. Start by planning out your landscape on paper.

Mark off where you want to place certain plants, and be sure those areas are conducive to the varieties you wish to locate there. Use fruit trees in place of shade trees. You can plant hazelnuts and currants wherever you might place a deciduous shrub. You can use herbs in place of low-lying shrubs and ground cover.

Ornamental plants often need very little care. Edible plants do need a little bit more attention than other plants if you want them to produce a good harvest. You might have to water them more often or fertilizer them.

You’ll probably have to work a bit harder to control pests than you would for strictly ornamental plants, because insects tend to target edible plants much more often. But the food yield certainly makes it worth a bit of additional work.

One of the most important types of edible plants to add to a landscape is fruit trees or bushes. Fruit trees make excellent shade tree replacements. And berry bushes can be extremely attractive in place of typical shrubs. Blueberry bushes can be quite lovely in front of a home, for example. And apple trees can grow into delightful shade trees!

Instead of planting flowerbeds, you can plant beds of lettuce, herbs, or greens. Many types of mint have lovely blooms. Lettuce and other greens can come in all types of colors. You can get ornamental cabbages and kale in a wide variety of colors, adding a splash of color to any area. Peppers and tomatoes are colorful additions, as well.

Grape arbors are a spectacular addition to a landscape. Grape arbors have been used for many years as a beautiful enhancement to lawns, and the fruit is a wonderful bonus. Remember, many types of flowers are also edible.

Nasturtiums, violas, daylilies, calendula, and borage are all edible, and make wonderful additions to salads and decorations for cakes. So you can still plant some flowers, even if you want to stay 100% edible!

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