If you are designing a new landscape or you are simply wanting to add a few plants to your existing landscape, you may want to consider adding some edible plants and fruit trees. Let’s face it, the reason we all garden and landscape is for the simple love of working with nature. We plant because we love to plant and it seems to fulfill something in us on a deeper level than can even be put into words. But when there are other benefits to be had from our labors, then all the better, right? To enjoy the beauty that is created by our efforts or to harvest a salad for our dinner table makes the whole planting experience that much more fulfilling.
There are so many options to choose from when you start to consider your plants as food and possibly even as medicine. Most folks would say, “Well yes, I plant a vegetable garden every year” and so do I . But what about the rest of our yard? I’m not talking about just throwing some lettuce in the flower beds but there are so many ways that edible plants can be used ornamentally. Apples don’t have to be left to the orchard and why can’t blueberries be used as a foundation shrub? What about Eggplant underplanted with Coleus? Or imagine the color combinations of Bright lights Swiss Chard and Sweet Alyssum planted together? Have you ever adorned your salad with Nasturtiums and Day lilies? If so then you know what I am talking about.
Growing fruit trees, berries, grapes, and the myriad of edible plants isn’t all together too difficult, but there some simple things that you should consider before planting. Don’t just go down to the local nursery, pick out the best looking Apple tree and stick it in the ground thinking that you will be enjoying an abundant harvest of Red Delicious for years to come. There is a bit more to it than that. While it would be easy to get lost in the complexities of horticulture trying to sort out what plants to grow, it is not my intent to cover every detail of plant selection and site preparation in this post. I would simply like to propose the idea of edible landscaping and start a conversation about it. Maybe in future posts we can talk more about the details. I would enjoy that. But before we dive into the “how to” I would like to know your experiences with growing edibles outside the boundaries of the veggie garden. In addition, if you start to learn about the medicinal and healing properties of various trees and plants, a whole new dimension can be opened up to our plantings and designs. (More on that later.)
Planting Edible parks and public spaces has increased over the past few years . Many towns and cities are now trying to incorporate this idea into their planning and engineering. Check out this news story below about an edible forest being planted in Seattle.
So what do you think? What are some ways you have used edible plants unconventionally. Likewise, what are some unconventional plants that you have used as food? ( you wouldn’t believe some of the things that I have eaten in my years as an Arborist)