Best of Both Worlds: Creating an Edible Garden
"Edible Landscaping" is a growing trend across the country. This is the concept of practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. An abundance of edible plants can be incorporated into your landscaping without anyone being the wiser. In other words, plants used for food do not always have to look like the typical vegetable garden. There are many ways to incorporate edible plants that you might not have thought of. Not only can your landscaping look beautiful, but it can save you money and taste good too!
Ok, here are some of my favorite plants that you could easily choose for your landscaping that will serve double duty as far as being very ornamental as well as edible. Sugar Maple, Apple trees and other fruit trees, Blueberry, Grape vines, Currant, Herbs, perennial vegetables such as Asparagus, and Jerusalem Artichoke, Quince, and Rose (for Rose hips), among many others.
Herbs of various kinds have beautiful colors and textures, and an entire garden area could be devoted to these beauties. How about considering a traditional "Knot Gardenâ€ made with herbs? Or use an herb as a low border plant. Herbs can be incorporated into a perennial garden or can be a wise choice in a kitchen garden.
Why not choose Sugar Maples for a few of your shade trees? Who doesn't love Maple Syrup? And with the considerable cost of a jar of real Maple Syrup, you know you'll be enjoying your own homemade syrup all the more.
If you have a place for some fruit trees, you know how much food these can produce. You can have raw, eating fruit, or make applesauce, or have fruit in the freezer for winter deserts. Not to mention, the delicious jams you could be spreading on your toast all year long.
Blueberries are very ornamental shrubs that do double duty for food production. They also give you a great fall color. What more could you want? There are even varieties that grow very low to the ground, or grow quite tall. They are the perfect plant for edible landscaping. Blueberries are also one of the easiest fruits to freeze. Just wash, dry, place a single layer of them on a cookie sheet in the freezer, and once frozen, put in a freezer container. How easy is that?
Do you have an arbor or a trellis? Why not grow some grape vines? Or, how about growing some hops and try your hand at doing a home brew?
Be aware before you dig into the concept of Edible Landscaping of the work involved with the care of the plants and the work it takes to preserve the food. For example, you may need to be more diligent with some of these plants to prevent diseases and pests, and you will, of course, need to do the harvesting and processing when the plants are ripe. They will mature on their schedule - not yours. If you are willing to do what it takes to get the harvest out of your plants, perhaps the idea of Edible Landscaping is for you. Think about it.
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