I recently met a wonderful woman named Avis Licht whose passion is to educate people how to create beautiful gardens that incorporate edible plants that can be harvested year round.
Avis is a teacher as well as a Landscape Designer and shares her tips about how we can create beautiful gardens indoors and out. In this interview she shows us how everyone can do it. Whether you only have a sunny window, a deck, a small or large garden, her great tips will assist you in growing your own food, herbs and spices starting today. This is your chance to leave a lighter footprint on the earth and move towards more sustainability!
Q. Why do you feel growing our own food is important?
A. Growing edible landscapes combines the best of both worlds of gardening and landscape design. It is a way for you to get deep satisfaction out of growing healthy, tasty foods for you and your family AND make your yard look beautiful. By growing organic food in your own yard, you reduce your carbon footprint, provide the freshest food for your family, and make the best use of increasingly scarce resources. Water that is used to irrigate your food is easier to justify than planting only ornamentals.
Q. Can you give us some Examples of Simple Edible Landscapes?
A. Not all landscapes need to be big or complicated. Even tiny places can produce some wonderful edibles. If you have a deck or even a great window with good light you can plant herbs like parsley, cilantro, chives, rosemary and oregano in pots and have a great source of fresh flavors for cooking. Mint, lemon balm and lemon verbena are excellent for tea and also do well in containers. Pick your favorite food or herb and see if they grow well in your climate. I always recommend starting simply and with easy to grow plants. Success makes for excitement in wanting to grow more.Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and nasturtiums can all be grown in a small garden and make a wonderful addition to your meal!
Q.What can we do in winter for planning a spring edible garden?
A.Start by assessing your available area. Winter is the time to plant deciduous fruit trees and shrubs. Find your growing zone by going to this fun site: http://www.smartgardener.com/. You can learn what to grow in your own climate and when to plant it.
To convert your traditional landscape to an edible landscape, start by replacing a few ornamental trees and shrubs with fruit. Blueberries are beautiful in all seasons and give a plentiful harvest. Pineapple guavas grow in many climates in the United States and provide beauty and unusual fruit.
In winter you can look at catalogs and make a list of your favorite foods either to start by seed or get in your local nursery. Starting seeds in winter requires good light and warmth for healthy seedlings. For small gardens, it’s easier to buy seedlings than starting from seeds.
If you have an area that has an unwanted lawn or weeds, you might consider sheet mulching it over the winter and it will be ready for planting in spring. Don’t know how to sheet mulch? Better go to my blog and find out!
Getting inspired by reading good gardening books is also a great way to spend a winter evening.
Fruit trees, strawberries, herbs and sunflowers surround the patio where we eat. This is an example of an edible landscape: beauty and bounty.
Q.Tell us how we can learn more about how we can create our own edible gardens?
A. I write a blog on edible landscapes which goes into depth on all of this and more. In it I take the elements of good landscape design and infiltrate them with plants that we can harvest year round. The trick is putting the right plant in the right place. I will teach you how to skillfully incorporate those plants that look good with those that provide great food, but are too homely to be seen front and center. I write about best edible plants, designing your edible landscape, tools, books, organic pest control and much more. It’s your one stop shop for information.
Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and nasturtiums can all be grown in a small garden and make a wonderful addition to your meal!
About Avis Licht
Avis has been teaching and installing beautiful edible landscapes in California since 1978. She is the co founder of Commonweal Garden in Bolinas, California, an organic farm and permaculture-teaching and holds a B.S in Conservation of Natural Resources from U.C. Berkeley. She was co-author of the Feasibility Study for the Organic Farm and Garden of the College of Marin, which is now a major teaching center. She lives in Marin County and has designed hundreds of beautiful edible landscapes. After 35 years of gardening and designing gardens, she now shares her experiences in her own delightful and informative blog.