Landscaping for Less
A Frugal Lawn and Garden
Do You Do Edible Landscaping?
I would like to know if anyone knows of a resource(s) for landscaping plans that incorporate fruits and vegetables. We always have a modest vegetable garden and want to landscape the rest of our yard. Rather than landscaping for "looks only," I want to have an "edible landscape." I'd like it to look nice too, so I was hoping to find a resource (book, CD ROM, or likewise) to give me a hand with the "design" aspect. Any suggestions?
The idea of having tomatoes and onions growing in amongst your flowers and foliage plants is hundreds of years old, so there is a lot of information available. Here in England we use terms like "kitchen garden" or "potager" to describe it. My favorite author is Geoffrey Hamilton and I think you can get his books in the US. But you don't need special books to landscape a kitchen garden. I would recommend that you get a good seed catalogue, which you can get free at garden centers or by mail order. Get one with lots of pictures and pick out good-looking fruits and vegetables. It is also a good idea to find out about heritage or old-fashioned varieties, and also exotic varieties. For example, you can get string beans with red or yellow pods, purple carrots and red-and-green striped tomatoes. There is a variety of Swiss Chard called Rainbow Chard. The stalks and leaves are yellow, green and red all on the one plant. Other vegetables have very beautiful foliage. For example globe artichokes have lovely silvery deep-cut leaves, and carrots have lovely feathery foliage.
Remember that vegetables don't grow in the shade. Also they mostly don't grow if they are too close to trees or large shrubs which steal all the water and food from the surrounding soil.
I would recommend you check out organic gardening associations, as they tend to promote this sort of gardening. Also the Permaculture movement focuses heavily on the growing of food. The Internet is ideal for this sort of research. I use the website for the Henry Doubleday Research Association (an English organic gardening association). They provide free help sheets on line, which are very comprehensive.
I have found Rosalind Creasy's book The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping, the best I have seen. She includes layout, small space tips and the most comprehensive plant guide. The balance in the book is both edible and flavor. I get an immense satisfaction from planning and seeing the long-term payoff from edible landscaping.
For edible ideas, log onto echonet.org. They've got some great ones, a nursery, and probably a book about it too.
Mostly geared for tropical climates, the non-profit group helps a lot of missionaries learn about native & edible plants. You'll find some interesting stuff. For instance, you can order seeds for a MORINGA tree. The leaves can be cooked and taste just like spinach!
Also try organicgardening.com for great tips without fertilizers. Happy planting and eating!
Our family purchased a CD called Custom LandDesigner and we used it to plan our new home's landscaping. It helps you draw your lot and home, then lets you choose plants, trees, and other things that would be in your yard like irrigation systems, patio slab, furniture, swing set. My husband even put a dog in the yard!
You can experiment with different plants, and even take a virtual stroll around your yard and see how everything would look once mature.
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