Knowledge To Grow – Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping is the integration of edible plants into the ornamental landscape.  More people are looking toward growing their own nutritious produce at home, thus saving money and natural resources at the same time.  Think about incorporating fruit trees and blueberry bushes into the planting scheme of your yard or lining the side of your patio with some beautiful rhubarb, with its bold red stalks and crinkly leaves, being under planted with some creeping thyme.

Many vegetables lend themselves very well to being planted into containers.  I have an assortment of greens and lettuces growing in my rain barrel planter.  When planting vegetables keep their aesthetics and growing habits in mind as well as their taste.  Pretty purple cabbage would look very nice planted with some snowy white cauliflower.  If it’s bold color you’re looking for, Swiss chard comes in a rainbow of colors and sweet peppers sport a very bright yellow.  Some cherry tomatoes planted in a pot would make a tasty snack while lounging on the patio.

Don’t forget the edible flowers such as nasturtiums, chives, lavender and bas il.  Use them as garnishes and in salads.  My favorite is nasturtium, with its zesty, peppery taste it can be added to a sandwich in place of mustard or add it to pretty up a salad.

Edible plants, like ornamentals, require maintenance.  Just remember to “plant the right plant in the right place”.  In other words, take into consideration the plants growing requirements and what condition your landscape area is in.  Most food producing plants need a sunny location and well drained soil along with some pruning, fertilizer and water.

Keep in mind that vegetables and herbs that are planted and harvested frequently will need to be kept in an area to themselves.  This will allow you to amend and cultivate the soil without disturbing the roots of the ornamentals.

Landscaping with edibles not only adds a twist to gardening, it enhances your health and well-being too.  Raspberries you pick yourself will taste so much better than the raspberries that have been trucked hundreds of miles to get to your local grocery store.  So the next time you decide to make a change to your landscape or yard, make it do double duty by using edible plants.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

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