Edible Landscaping: A Delicious Way to Garden

You donít always need a traditional vegetable plot to grow your own food. Edible landscaping is a way you can grow edible plants in an ornamental landscape.

An edible landscape can be as simple as adding a few basil plants to a flower bed. Or you can create a much more complex design that incorporates edible groundcovers, shrubs and trees.

Whichever style you choose, youíll have the added benefit of having your own fresh food and a beautiful landscape.

Why plant an edible landscape?

Better quality food. The nutrient content and flavor in most fruits and vegetables is highest immediately after harvest. You can eat the foods out of your edible landscape within minutes of harvest, unlike store-bought produce. You can also grow many unique varieties of food that are unavailable commercially.

Higher return on investment. A traditional ornamental landscape only provides aesthetic appeal, whereas all the water, organic matter, time and other resources you put into an edible landscape will also give you food.

Increased food security. Growing your own food reduces your reliance on imported food sources. Eating locally grown food is important to reduce the environmental impact of food transport. You can also preserve your excess harvest for winter to help even more.

Lower food costs. Certain crops are more economical to grow at home than to buy. And if you keep your edible garden organic, your organic produce is even more valuable compared to store-bought.

More accessible produce. Having your food right outside your door is not only convenient, it also makes it easier to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet for healthier meal choices.

Herb pots

What can you plant?

Vegetables. All types of vegetables are well-suited to an edible garden. Lettuce and many other greens can flourish in shady corners of your garden. Sunny areas are ideal for veggies like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and carrots.

Fruits. Depending on how much space you have, you can grow anything from low-growing strawberries to massive nut trees. Many types of fruit and berries also have dwarf varieties available that are easier to incorporate into a smaller space.

Herbs. Annual herbs, like basil, dill or coriander, are easy to include in most beds because they only last for one growing season. Perennial herbs, such as oregano, thyme, marjoram or lovage, will come back every year and go well in borders or other easily accessed locations.

Edible flowers. Many flowers, such as nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, pansies, fuchsias, squash blossoms and roses, make tasty additions to salads or other dishes.

A flourishing vegetable garden and greenhouse in rural England

How to Get Started

Assess the space you have. An edible garden can be one container on an apartment balcony or acres of planted land. Have a look at the area youíd like to plant. How much sun does it get? What sort of soil is there? Does it have good access to water? Observations like these can help guide your plant and design choices.

Decide what sort of garden you would like. This may depend on how much time you want to commit to your garden. Do you only want a few herbs near your kitchen door? Would you like a few fruit trees in your yard? Or are you interested in creating a larger-scale landscape with many different types of edibles?

Choose your plants. Try to find plants that have as many purposes as possible. For example, marigolds are edible, ornamental and they repel various pests. Berry shrubs or columnar fruit trees can act as ornamental walls or divisions on your property. Plant as many of your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs as you can.

Find the best locations for your plants. Group all plants with similar needs together when possible. For instance, plant all your cool-season vegetables under your fruit trees or other shady areas. And incorporate herbs, sun-loving veggies and edible flowers in open areas with good sun exposure.

Start small. Try planting a container of kale this year, or adding a border of blueberries and see how it goes. You donít have to make an elaborate garden to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And a handful of fresh, home-grown blueberries may inspire you to plant a little more next year.

Provide support. Building trellises, sheds, arbors or other structures for your plants to ramble on can add attractive and useful accents to your yard.

Enjoy your harvest! The best part of an edible landscape is biting into a plum thatís still warm from the sun or the smell of freshly cut basil in your kitchen. Always take the time to savor what youíve grown.

Related
9 Ways to Preserve Your Berry Picking Haul
Permaculture: Landscaping That Works With Nature
12 Ways to Get Rid of Aggressive Weeds Without Resorting to Roundup

 

81 comments

Caitlin B
Caitlin B9 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Paola S
Paola S11 days ago

thank you

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers28 days ago

Thanks.

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Maureen G
Maureen Gabout a month ago

Live where there is limited water so most of my plants including grapevines are in large pots.

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Marija M
Marija Mabout a month ago

thank you

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Sonia M
Sonia M1 months ago

Love gardening.Good article thanks for sharing

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson1 months ago

ty

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Jen S
Jen S1 months ago

I plant flowers with my veggies not only for the aesthetic appeal but because some flowers benefit veggies. Marigolds keep white flies from tomatoes and help among the squash.

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks

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