• Blog

    Edible Landscaping

    Food production and beautiful landscaping don't have to be at odds
    by Samantha Biggers

    Friday, April 16, 2021, 6:01 PM

Food production and beautiful landscaping don’t have to be at odds.

In fact, there are tons of options for complementing/replacing traditional ornamental lawns and landscaping with plants that will please both your eye, palate and stomach.

Of course, before starting, renters should make sure that changing any existing landscaping is ok with their landlord. Tilling up a yard or making any significant changes to the grass can cost money to undo if you move. If you are renting a house with some land attached, there is a good chance you can work out something with your landlord if you have a long enough lease.

You can also use containers or window boxes to grow food. These are not something that you have to get permission for, and they are a great option for those with patios and balconies. Containers also allow you to grow some things that have to be brought in when temperatures drop below freezing.

Garden Towers and other vertical gardens

You can grow a lot more food and create some attractive landscaping features by taking advantage of unused vertical space. Letting vines grow on concrete walls and house foundations is one popular way to do this that doesn’t cost a lot. Sometimes you will need to add some type of grid. Wood is not recommended for the long term because it rots. I would advise avoiding any vines growing on your house at all if it is mostly wood. There is a danger of fire, too, if the vines dry out.

Trellises, arbors, and cages all help provide a vertical framework for edible landscapes. If you like to do an art project once in a while, you could bend wires and create wire sculptures for plants to grow on.

Window boxes

Herbs and microgreens in window boxes will help cut your grocery bill. Edible flowers are another option.

Planters and containers on wheels

You can grow some big plants in containers, especially if you have them on dollies that you can move around wherever you want. This is helpful if you live in a place where temperatures dip below freezing. Plenty of people grow lemons, limes, and more in fairly cold places because they have the ability to bring plants inside or put them in a greenhouse when temperatures dip.

Hanging baskets

A hanging basket is beautiful when filled with cherry tomatoes or strawberries.  These are a good choice for hanging off of porches or overhead on a balcony as long as plants can get enough light.

Blueberry Bushes

blueberry bush

I love how easy blueberry bushes are to grow and how they can withstand a wide variety of climates. You can plant blueberries around your home for a pretty shrub that yields a lot of highly valuable fruit. Some blueberries will produce throughout a long growing season, whereas others will yield one large crop during a short harvest period. It can be nice for rural and urban homesteaders to have bushes that provide berries throughout the season. If you prefer to get one large crop and get all your preserving done in a short time, then choose short-season varieties. Some people find that having both types of blueberries is the best for them.

Blueberries can be grown in pots in many areas. A reader has told me in a colder climate that it doesn’t work well in extremely cold temperatures because the root ball freezes. If you live where it is very cold, you may want to provide some extra protection to your blueberry plants that are in containers during the winter months.

Dwarf and Semi-Dwarf Fruit Trees

Smaller fruit trees start to produce fruit earlier than standard trees, but they do not have as long a lifespan. The shorter height makes them much easier for the average person to harvest, and you can plant more trees per acre. You can plant dwarf apple trees a mere 10 ft apart, and their reduced height makes pruning and harvesting a lot easier. If you want a tree to provide a lot of shade to sit under, then a semi-dwarf may be a better option. Always check the expected size of any tree before you buy and plant. What constitutes a semi-dwarf, dwarf, or standard varies by fruit. For example, a standard plum reaches the same height as a semi-dwarf apple.

Columnar Apple Trees

I like to mention these trees because they are great for borders and for growing in containers. Columnar trees only reach 18 inches wide but provide a lot of apples for their size. Instead of a non-productive privacy hedge, why not have one that looks prettier and provides bushels of fruit? For even more beauty and to experience a variety of apples, you could plant your columnar apple trees on a color scheme. For example, grow a green, red, and golden variety and then repeat the pattern until you fill your space.

Grapes

grapes

A few grapes can be lovely and yield a lot of fruit. The key is to plant species that work well in your area. The wine grapes you are familiar with from the grocery store do not do well in cold or rainy climates. Cold hardy and disease-resistant grape varieties are widely available through mail order. You can grow grapes in climates that experience temperatures as low as -40 F.

You can use grapes to create a shaded arbor on your patio that is nice to enjoy on a hot day.

Brambles

brambles

  • Blackberries
  • Loganberries
  • Marion Berries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

While many brambles have thorns, some domestic varieties do not. You will notice wild blackberries or raspberries because they are smaller than the domestic canes you get when you order from catalogs such as Stark Bros. This year my husband and I bought some Kiowa Blackberry canes that yield a berry that is as long as your small finger.

Note: Black and Red Raspberries should not be planted within 75-100 feet of each other. Overall I cannot recommend planting Black Raspberries due to their susceptibility to viral diseases carried by aphids on other Raspberry varieties. 

Top Vegetables For Edible Landscaping

While there are no firm rules about what you can plant, some vegetables work out well for a lot of aspiring edible landscapers. Here is a brief list to consider. Think of this list as something to build off of. What can you add to make your landscaping more colorful and delicious at the same time?

Edible Flowers

edible flowers

Note: Make sure when purchasing plants and seeds that you are getting a flower that is edible. It can be easy to get confused with a similar name or blossom. If the scientific name is listed on a tag, it is easy to compare that to the scientific name you know to be edible.

  • Day Lily
  • Borage
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Pansy
  • Squash Blossoms

Culinary Herbs

 

  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Lavender

Peppers

peppers

Planting different colors of peppers can create a bright and cheerful display around the outside of your home. Mixing sweet and hot peppers into your landscape gives various shapes and a wide range of contrasting colors. Be careful, and don’t go overboard planting hot peppers. A few plants will grow as many hot peppers as you want, even if you like to eat a lot of spicy food.

Alliums

  • Bunch Onions
  • Egyptian Walking Onions
  • Garlic
  • Red, white, or yellow bulb onions
  • Chives (This little herb loves to spread. You will have to take steps to control it, such as giving it a tiny little bed with a divider or just growing it in a pot.)

Beans

beans

Pole beans make good use of vertical space, have pretty flowers, and then you can enjoy the color and beauty of the maturing bean pods. While green may be the color that you think of when you hear the word bean, the truth is that there are beans in a lot of different colors and patterns. Just take a look at any seed catalog with a good selection, and you will likely find a few colorful varieties suitable for your climate and growing season.

  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Rhubarb
  • Chard
  • I recommend Rainbow Chard because it tastes great, is highly nutritious, and you get items that are yellow, purple, red, pink, and green.

Seasonally Rotated Gardens

Planning out when you plant what is essential to producing a continuous abundance of vegetables is smart. This schedule will be dependent on your region. It is a good idea to get an early start on Spring gardens so you can get as much out of your entire growing season as possible.

Raised Beds

raised beds

 

Raised bed gardening is popular for many reasons. You can establish a raised bed without tilling, for starters, if you bring in your soil and other amendments. You can also use chickens in a chicken tractor to build up beds to a high fertility level. Raised beds allow people to grow gardens where the actual soil may be too poor to produce enough.

The sides of raised beds can be made of wood, concrete, or rock. Cypress is a good rot-resistant board to use if you can find it. There is some debate over the use of treated lumber for garden beds. In the past, treated lumber was created with arsenic, but now copper is used. I think you should definitely avoid using any lumber scavenged from older homes with any paint or other treatments. Up until the late 1970s, lead-based paints were being used.

Small To Medium Sized Greenhouses

While greenhouses are not landscaping, they can become an excellent addition to the overall landscape and provide you with a private refuge during the dark and cold months of the year.

There are so many small greenhouse kits available. I have to say that some take days to put together, and it helps to have someone to assist you when you put them together. Different thicknesses of panels are out there, so it is essential to make sure you are getting a greenhouse that is suitable for your climate. Plenty of DIY types have constructed greenhouses out of reclaimed windows and glass panels. Remember that glass that is not tempered is prone to breakage and will break into shards if hit hard enough. Glass greenhouse that is not made from reclaimed materials are typically made with tempered glass. You could use window security film to prevent the glass from breaking into shards. I could see this being a reasonable option if you have a lot of recycled materials to use because you would save a lot of money overall.

Transitioning From Yard To Edible Landscaping

If a lot of chemicals have been used in your yard in the past, you may want to give it some time before you grow anything. A month of not using anything is advisable if a lot of chemicals were used.

Yards with lots of grass will need to be plowed or tilled and cultivated well. Be prepared for grass to come up often when first establishing your garden beds and edible landscaping. Mulch can help with this if you want to add organic matter and do not have the time to weed as often as needed at the beginning of your edible landscaping adventure.

What are you allowed to do?

If you live in a planned community or anywhere that has an HOA (Homeowner’s Association), there may be some rules regarding what is allowed in your yard. At the same time, you may not have worried that much about what you signed when you moved in; you could be in for a big surprise when it comes to making significant changes around your home. Some areas may not allow a lot of gardening projects. That is not to say that rules cannot be changed if most people agree or that exceptions are not made. Fencing around gardens, mulch and compost piles, etc., may also be regulated.

Planning Out Your Space

Sketching out or using a computer program and aerial shot of your property can be good ways to plan your edible landscaping projects in great detail before embarking on them. Then again, you can just start planning out a small space at a time. Creating a blueprint for your whole space is most helpful if you care about the overall theme and look a lot and want to get things just so.

For a great example of edible landscaping around a home, check out Jim Kunstler’s garden projects over at his site.

Rooftop Gardens and Landscaping

There are some beautiful examples of rooftop gardens in cities. Sometimes this can be a great project for multiple families in a building to enjoy. If you have a building to yourself that has a flat roof then you need to do some calculating and planning before creating a landscape up there. A roof is only designed to hold so much weight. You do not want to find yourself in the position of overloading your roof. A building inspector may be able to help you figure out what is safe to do. Some flat roofs are not made to be walked on regularly so you will need to consider that.

Your edible landscaping will attract wildlife.

Even if you are not near any major forests or wildland, there is a decent chance you will have some trouble with animals trying to eat your garden.

  • Groundhogs or Wood Chucks
  • Deer
  • Mice and Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoon
  • Opossums
  • Skunks
  • Squirrels
  • Birds

How you handle these types of pests is a somewhat personal decision, but you may also have to abide by some laws if you live within city limits. Lives traps allow you to capture animals and relocate them, although there are a few like skunks that you won’t want to transport.

Air rifles and pistols are a lethal option that doesn’t make a noise like a bullet. Fences can help prevent some intrusion, especially if you have a dog that patrols within the fence. It can take some time to train your dog to stay out of the garden and landscaped areas, but it is well worth it. Even our ten-month-old German Shepherd has learned that some areas are off-limits. He doesn’t dig in them or lay in them.

Compost piles can be particularly attractive to animals. Rotting and composting food attracts mice and rats. If you have a cat, they can help reduce any damages. I will warn you that some people have a problem with cats that are allowed outside to roam their yards and hunt, especially if they see your cat catch a squirrel or bird. I think cat’s fill an important niche. If they didn’t hunt the smaller wildlife, another predator would move in to fill the gap. That is how nature tends to work, like it or not.

Edible Landscaping Books

Here are a few popular books on edible landscaping and raised bed gardens.

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway

Landscaping with Fruit: Strawberry ground covers, blueberry hedges, grape arbors, and 39 other luscious fruits to make your yard an edible paradise. (A Homeowners Guide) By Lee Reich

Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden  By Tammy Wylie

Conclusion

Edible landscaping is a great option for those that are tired of maintaining a lawn that doesn’t offer them a lot. Edible landscaping is beautiful and it can add to the curb appeal and value of your home. Using edible plants for landscaping is not just for those that own their house. Containers, small removable greenhouses, and seasonal garden beds are realistic options for renters that have lenient landlords.

Have you converted your yard to gardens and edible landscapes? What do you recommend for dealing with unwelcome wildlife?

Related content
» More

34 Comments

  • Fri, Apr 16, 2021 - 7:06pm

    #1
    suziegruber

    suziegruber

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 03 2008

    Posts: 240

    3

    Calendula too!

    I love this topic.  Thank you Samantha.

    Calendula is also a lovely, easy to grow, edible and extremely medicinal flower.  I use it in skin care goodies.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Apr 16, 2021 - 7:39pm

    #2

    Tycer

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 26 2009

    Posts: 347

    1

    Morels

    Hey Samantha! The morels are flushing north of Asheville! woohoo! How about out your way?

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 1:14am

    #3
    Blood red peony

    Blood red peony

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Dec 16 2020

    Posts: 54

    2

    Love Lovage

    A great article, thank you. One of my favourite herbs is lovage, fantastic in soups and stews. It grows up to 6ft and has pretty foliage and flowers so makes a good screen or feature. I have a couple of the column apple trees and they produce lots, they need to be staked all their life though as they can't support the weight of apples.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 4:15am

    #4
    Kat43

    Kat43

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Feb 10 2020

    Posts: 458

    6

    Kat43 said:

    Purslane!!  There are wonderful cultivars that produce large, meaty leaves.  It is one of the most nutritional greens we can grow.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 6:03am

    #5
    M3

    M3

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 25 2021

    Posts: 20

    0

    M3 said:

    Tea/medicinal  flowers are great perennials to add, echinacea, chamomile, mints, lemon balm, calendula and they're pretty. Mints can take over quickly, I like them in pots.

    Kale is great. It will add a splash of color into the fall or mild winter. Mine came back this spring after cutting back in the winter and tossing some leaf mulch over it.

    I've had luck planting herbs, kale and squash throughout the landscape. The kale and squashes outside of my garden last year grew more robust than the ones in the garden and were spared being destroyed by the cabbage moth and squash beetle.

    This year I've added strawberries, chard, choi, leaf lettuce, artichoke, peas and a few cherry tomatoes into the landscape.

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 6:42am

    #6
    LBL

    LBL

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 11 2020

    Posts: 312

    0

    LBL said:

    I'm thinking about planting more garden in the front lawn area so the house basically won't have a front lawn.  Just wheat that looked like a front lawn, until the birds ate it.

     

    I'm a little afraid of the real estate implications of not having a front lawn, but I think that might be Yuppie Suburbia roots.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 6:54am

    #7

    David Huang

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 20 2010

    Posts: 98

    4

    Milkweed!

    I love seeing that you included daylilies!  Those are one of my current favorites for easy to grow edible perennials that produce food over a fairly wide range of the season.  Though in my case I have several varieties that seem to flower at different times extending the bud and flower harvesting period.  The early shoots are edible too!  I haven't yet dug any of mine up for the tubers but I understand those are edible.  I really must try that.

    Another great perennial edible I've found is common milkweed, Asclepius syriaca.  The buds, flowers, and immature pods are all edible though you do need to cook them.  It's another plant I've found to give an abundance of food over a wide range of time.  I actually wrote a blog post some time ago about both these if anyone is interested.

    For those interested in perennial edibles (I think perennials are esp. nice for landscaping) you might want to check out the perennial vegetable forum section over at Permies.com.  It's fairly active with people sharing info on the subject.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 2:50pm

    #8
    Island girl

    Island girl

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Nov 27 2017

    Posts: 215

    0

    Island girl said:

    Milkweed also has the benefit of attracting monarch. I'd suggest planting hedgerows of cflowring native cultivars from your area that attract pollinators to your garden.  Native monarda, butterflyweed, liatris, pentesemon, lobelia, coreosis, whatever is native to your area. Native, rather than cultivars, if possible.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sat, Apr 17, 2021 - 3:28pm

    Samantha Biggers

    Samantha Biggers

    Status: Member

    Joined: Feb 09 2021

    Posts: 29

    0

    Morels

    I am not sure. I have not looked. Hope you find a lot! I have not had any to eat in years. If we ever get a good rain we should have a good flush of shiitakes from our logs!

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Apr 18, 2021 - 7:44am

    #10
    macro2682

    macro2682

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2009

    Posts: 397

    0

    Animals

    Deer in our area mow down just about everything, and the birds take care of what they leave behind.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Apr 18, 2021 - 5:01pm

    #11
    John Stassek

    John Stassek

    Status: Member

    Joined: Dec 24 2017

    Posts: 1

    2

    Permaculture, urban forest garden youtube link

    Good information, Samantha.  Thanks!

    I recently stumbled upon a gold mine of urban forest garden topics on youtube.  Hope some of you get as much enjoyment and advice as I have.  James Prigioni's The Garden Channel.

    John

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9V_-gqJsZNOy4v_HqbRz3w

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Apr 19, 2021 - 4:41pm

    #12

    LesPhelps

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 701

    2

    Another Permaculture Website

    A neighbor I grew up with has been doing permaculture for 20 years now.

    Here's a link to his website:

    https://www.suburbanpermaculture.org/

    My biggest problem is bugs.  I can keep the animals out with fences, but the japanese bettles and potato bugs limit what I can grow somewhat.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Apr 19, 2021 - 5:03pm

    LBL

    LBL

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 11 2020

    Posts: 312

    0

    LBL said:

    >>>  I can keep the animals out with fences, but the japanese bettles and potato bugs limit what I can grow somewhat.

    Is that something that Praying Mantis will take care of ?

    It sounds like you're an experienced gardener.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Apr 19, 2021 - 5:20pm

    LesPhelps

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 701

    2

    Semi-experienced gardener

    I don’t believe we have praying mantis in central Wisconsin.  I don’t like to spray my crops, so the amount of time I’m willing to spend picking bugs, restricts both the size and types of crops I grow.
    Pole beans are out.  I can grow small crops of potatoes.  Last year beetles went after my sweet corn crop.  Normally, they don’t bother it much.  I will not reduce the size of that crop.  I love sweet corn, fresh from the garden.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Apr 19, 2021 - 6:36pm

    #15
    Netlej

    Netlej

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Dec 09 2020

    Posts: 205

    0

    No free lunch

    I think the most important thing that needs to be understood by all is that there is no free lunch. Growing something then consuming it removes those nutrients and calories from the soil and must then be put back.

    If you plant something in a spot, let it grow, harvest it, then plant something there again it will grow but not as well as the first time. The next time you plant there it will be stunted or may not even grow at all. Most people think, ok I just need to fertilize that spot and then I can plant as many times as I want.

    Two things; First the "Feeding of the soil", the type and amount of fertilizing you need to do is nearly equal to the feed you will be able to harvest. Second there is so much more going on with generating and maintaining live, healthy soil than simply the fertilizer.

    Interestingly this is exactly the same situation with regard to humans and disease. A vaccine does not make you healthy, a healthy biome does not need a vaccine it needs all the other elements that comprises a healthy body. So does soil need all of what makes for a healthy biome which will produce healthy food.

    Organic, permaculture, sustainable ag, none of these truly address regenerating a complete healthy biome and still producing a steady flow of healthy food. Some come close but most still factor in some magical free lunch.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Apr 20, 2021 - 6:25am

    #16
    LBL

    LBL

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 11 2020

    Posts: 312

    1

    LBL said:

    >>>  I don’t believe we have praying mantis in central Wisconsin.

     

    You can buy praying mantis egg cases at some garden supply stores.

    They will tend to go where the food is.  It might help to put some fine netting around the buggy plants, where you put the egg case, to keep the baby praying mantis' near their "job site".

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Apr 20, 2021 - 9:50am

    #17
    RandomMike

    RandomMike

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 12 2020

    Posts: 274

    2

    I love my Mom, the way she landscaped the front yard!

    I really do, 'cause she...

    Oops sorry, I thought this was oedipal landscaping.

    Mike

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Apr 20, 2021 - 10:41pm

    LesPhelps

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 701

    2

    Not looking for a free lunch

    I garden largely to hone skills I may have to rely on, at least in part, if things break down.

    There are ways to use the same ground repeatedly, even though they are not free.  I’ve grown an excellent crop in a sheet mulch of 60-70% chopped leaves mixed with grass clippings.  These are items I would otherwise have to dispose of.  The Mittleider gardening method uses a fertilizer mix that will grow a crop in medium, like sand and sawdust.  It’s not free, but not outrageously expensive either.  I’ve grown excellent tomatoes like that.

    But to your point, my garden doesn’t save me money. For now, it costs more than it saves, but I’ll know what I’m doing if I ever have to produce a larger portion of my food.

    I recall Tom Hemenway saying a typical Permaculture setup produces perhaps 25% of household needs.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Apr 21, 2021 - 2:18am

    VTGothic

    VTGothic

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Jan 05 2020

    Posts: 672

    1

    VTGothic said:

    Ha ha!

    Quite funny but random Mike.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Apr 21, 2021 - 5:19pm

    #20
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 1161

    1

    Putting in a plug

    Buss Ferver of perfect circle Farms is a very accomplished arborist especially where edible landscaping is concerned.

    bluestemfarms doesn’t have a bug problem. If you have enough fertility your plants will out grow the bugs?  the squash vine borer, which seasonal planting’s will partly out wit, along with a mix of squash and melons, is the greatest nuisance.

    have any tried spinosad for Colorado potato beetles?

    too busy to type, robie

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Wed, Apr 21, 2021 - 5:24pm

    #21
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 1161

    4

    Buzz Ferver

    you are a solar powered, biological being, symbiotically co-evolved with plants, fungus and bacteria, primarily functioning to process and concentrate plant soluble nutrients in exchange for fruits, nuts, grains and other foods.

    https://www.perfectcircle.farm

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 7:13am

    #22

    Snydeman

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 642

    5

    Les Phelps...

    Money spent on developing vital skills is never money wasted! I, too, grow vegetables in a manner that is way more expensive than buying them in the store, but the knowledge I gain - mostly by screwing up constantly - is a very worthy investment.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 7:33am

    #23
    westcoastjan

    westcoastjan

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Jun 04 2012

    Posts: 674

    0

    Are hostas edible?

    I read somewhere a couple years ago that Hostas are edible. I have many - grow like weeds on the west coast... Does anyone have any knowledge or reference material to share? Thanks!

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 9:08am

    #24
    DennisC

    DennisC

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 19 2011

    Posts: 322

    1

    Edible Pantries

    For my seasonal pantry, I like experimenting with different edible flowers, particularly for use in salads or as a main course garnish.  This year I'm adding fiddleneck flowers  (phacelia tanacetifolia).  It's noted to be a good pollinator-friendly plant and the (very attractive, IMO) flowers are supposedly edible (and deer resistant, but we'll see).

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 9:16am

    DennisC

    DennisC

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 19 2011

    Posts: 322

    1

    Favorite Deer Snack

    My "pet" deer love hostas, particulary when the spring shoots are just about four or five inches tall.  I've had good luck with Milorganite® as a deterent along with a common minty/herby/stinky rotten egg deer spray for when plants get taller.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 11:44am

    wilderabbit

    wilderabbit

    Status: Member

    Joined: Dec 11 2020

    Posts: 47

    6

    wilderabbit said:

    "Edible Pantries" -- at first glance, I thought it said something else. 😀

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 5:11pm

    Cribbage

    Cribbage

    Status: Member

    Joined: Mar 06 2020

    Posts: 21

    0

    Cribbage said:

    Yes!

    https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hosta+species

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Thu, Apr 22, 2021 - 6:33pm

    westcoastjan

    westcoastjan

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Jun 04 2012

    Posts: 674

    0

    great, thanks!

    Oh thank you, Cribbage! I will check that out.

    Dennis: I know the deer love to eat them so wondering if I can do so as well. If so, my garden output just increased for free! I have many the deer cannot get at! Sweet 😁

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Fri, Apr 23, 2021 - 3:17am

    #29
    Mpup

    Mpup

    Status: Silver Member

    Joined: Mar 01 2020

    Posts: 231

    0

    Guinea weed

    I had a man come by yesterday to give me a quote on clearing more land and digging a pond.  While walking the property he pointed out to me areas where Guinea Weed or Guinea Hen Weed was growing naturally.  He told me it had many curative properties.  I did some quick reading and found this true.  It is said to be effective against cancer and viral infections and many other things.  Anyone have personal knowledge or experience with Guinea Weed?    Thanks

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Apr 25, 2021 - 2:27pm

    #30

    David Huang

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 20 2010

    Posts: 98

    0

    edible hostas

    I couple years ago I found a book at the local library listing many sorts of common nursery type plants that were also edible, though few people realized this.  Hostas was one of them.  That got me excited because I've always loved the look of them, they are perennial, and can grow in shady zones.  So I went out and bought several to try and establish some on my property.

    I can't say they are well established and spreading, but mine are still alive.  This year I did try a couple leaves from the young shoots coming up and found them to be quite good.  I may have to invest in more to try growing in other areas, hoping to find a spot where they'll thrive.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, Apr 26, 2021 - 6:02am

    #31
    M3

    M3

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 25 2021

    Posts: 20

    1

    M3 said:

    https://thegrownetwork.com/edible-ornamental-plants/amp/

    I had no idea about Hostas, they are in the Asparagus family.  I planted some last year and just bought a few more yesterday,  along with a raspberry bush.  Nasturtium is good, has a peppery zing.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Mon, May 03, 2021 - 8:35am

    #32

    Wendy S. Delmater

    Status: Diamond Member

    Joined: Dec 13 2009

    Posts: 1451

    2

    One of my favorite topics!

    (Hello long-time PP members, remember when I used to do the gardening column?) We've been working on our edible landscaping for over ten years. And we've incorporated a number of the things that you have suggested, some of them successfully, others as "learning experiences." We have 1/3 of an acre and went vertical with many things because there isn't enough space horizontally to grow as much as we'd like. For example, in the 4 foot high/4 foot wide and 45° sloped land next to our driveway we added an 8-ft wide native muscadine grape arbor spanning a gap behind two  2.5-ft high raised beds framed by 10' x 10' creosote ties because the insect problem here in the Carolinas is beyond insane. We lined those beds with tarpaper to keep the creosote off of our food, and then filled them with the same sort of soil that our local farmers use. Understand that originally the space only had an inch or two of sand above hard clay; now we have nice deep beds where we can grow things with deep roots. So the first bed has a mix of perennials like strawberries and arugula with drought resistant blackberries on towers on the slope behind them, as well as creeping rosemary. The partial shade from the great arbor protects annual lettuces and kale that we grow from saved seeds: absolutely essential in the fierce South Carolina summers.

    In the back of the second raised bed on the driveway, which is much deeper horizontally, we have let the area be taken over by Jerusalem artichokes which we can thin in the area we can reach so that we can grow things like peppers and daikon radishes (the greens are great) in front of them.

    In between these two beds is a perennial herb garden which also contains some edible flowers.

    Our 1-foot tall bare root mulberry tree is now 30 feet high, and shades our compost pile. Again, in this climate we learned it's necessary to shade your compost pile or it will dry out too quickly. There is also an extremely shady area next to the second raised bed but under that tree where we grow mushrooms on logs

    Our apple trees are not doing well, but we found that pears do extremely well in this area and make an acceptable vinegar as well. We use that for pickling various things.

    There is a 10' x 8' raised bed in the backyard, on a slope, and that has four cedar trellises we use for green beans and cucumbers – it has to be cedar because bugs will eat any other word in this climate – and the cukes are West Indian gherkins, the only variety we found that is resistant to the insects that plague us. The rest of that box, which has a stone path down the center, is planted with potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as okra. The sweet potatoes are decorative as well as edible because they produce cascades of leaves and purple flowers down the sides of the raised bed. The sweet potato leaves, by the way, can be cooked and used like spinach.

    We've also discovered that we have our best results growing tomatoes if we grow them in 5-gallon buckets, where we also grow celery with great success. And we learned that rabbits don't like Egyptian walking onions, so that's what we planted in the smaller raised beds in the back of the house.

    What hasn't worked well? We're going to have to put in a new asparagus bed because the first one was a disaster where we made every newbie mistake in the book! Our hazelnuts did not do well where we put them, and neither did the blueberries– which was really disappointing because we put them where they are based on advice from someone who was manning the desk in our local agricultural cooperative, only to find out later the person was a volunteer and didn't understand that blueberries needed to be in full sun even if they were close to pine trees for they love to grow in the acidic soil. We're also too far north for the olive tree that we planted to be very comfortable here, but were giving that to my son who lives in Florida who has a spot all picked out for it.

    It was already well established, but our fig tree in the front yard now bears three times as much because we discovered it would like a cup or two of fireplace ash – it does not like acidic soil. We already had concord grapes along the back fence and those enjoy a little bit of fireplace ash as well, for spectacular yields.

    Many of our breakthroughs were in how to store and use the things that we grow– and forage, because we can get 10 or 15 gallons of pecans a year from more than one local source for free (at least for now). We used to turn all over figs into jam which we would never be able to eat, as there was so much of it! So it became gifts and now we sell it to a bakery. We now dry many of those figs, and they last for several years. I have learned how to make grape leather out of the otherwise inedible muscadine grape hulls, how to make muscadine grape jelly that doesn't have a musty taste (you add some citrus), and I learned how to make something called grape hull pie.

    We have an Indian Hawthorn hedge along our front fence, which provides us with berries that have medicinal qualities: they can be dried, powdered, mixed with honey & cinnamon, and used to make something that lowers blood pressure. We've gotten good relationships with the people that run the local apiary, were we can get local honey in exchange for some of our produce, with the local health food store which by some of our surplus, and with a local horse farm, where we can get manure that isn't from hay that's been treated to kill various things were growing – for free.

    Our cat is doing a wonderful job of discouraging squirrels, birds, rabbits, and what have you from coming onto our property and eating what would grow. And unlike our previous cat, she doesn't use the garden beds as a litter box!

     

     

     

     

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Sun, Jun 06, 2021 - 2:37am

    #33
    Lawn gardener

    Lawn gardener

    Status: Member

    Joined: Jun 05 2021

    Posts: 1

    0

    Grow Own Food

    Thanks, Samantha! I agree with you to grow own food and making a beautiful landscape at a time and we have to take this opportunity positively. As a lawn gardener, I will follow your edible landscaping ideas.

    Login or Register to post comments

  • Tue, Jun 08, 2021 - 1:59am

    #34
    OneStrawFarmer

    OneStrawFarmer

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 16 2020

    Posts: 9

    0

    Some advice for creating an acceptable edible permascape for suburban yards

    Reality check: what the author is recommending, does NOT work in most suburban yards and especially in HOA's. It's NOT 'landscaping" by the usual definition. I'm working on a true landscaped permaculture, in a challenging climate, and it's really a LOT more difficult and requiring of deep creativity than it looks.

    Not to discourage anybody or say it can't work, but there's a strongly imbedded and and unfortunate ideology in the perma community that says that unless it looks semi-wild or obviously NOT traditional, it's not good.  This keeps a good number of people tuned off to the idea, It also does nothing to help the masses of people who have to abide by rather stringent rules in planned communities.

    Suburbia now makes up the third largest biome in North America! If permaculture is going to succeed, it MUST adjust to accommodate the huge numbers of suburbanites who are simply not allowed to plant wheat and peppers in their front or even back yards. I'm trying to help work out edible permascaping that looks sufficiently controlled and ornamental to be snuck into most HOA yards. If we can't devise such a workaround, permaculture will remain a pipe dream for most people.

    Take nitrogen fixers, for example. They're essential in any permascape, but most are big, weedy looking and potentially difficult to control (goji and sea berries, I'm looking at you!) Native (NOT Japanese!) wisterias, however, are both beautiful and manageable. Place a few wrought iron arbors in strategic places around your yard, cover with native wisteria vines, and voila! You're feeding your grass and veggies serreptitiously while pleasing your neighbors with tresses of gorgeous, insect-friendly vines draped luxuriously over your attractive arches.

    Like grass? Why not create several small, decorative islands here and there and plant them with Indian Rice Grass, a native grass with nice ornamental appeal and nitrogen-fixing roots? Everybody likes ornamental grass, and this one will feed the plants around it as well. Pop some edible lilies and small Magellan barberries around it, and you have classic-looking landscaping - with food and seasoning as a bonus!

    There are also some plants so beautiful that nobody would ever guess they were actually edibles. Calosia argentea is a perfect example. It's been grown as a heat-tolerant, nutritious green in central Africa for milennia, but it's a show-stopping annual plant with huge pink candelabras of gorgeous flowers that drive the bees mad. Nobody would ever accuse it of being edible! My experience is that the leaves never get bitter even in the worst heat, and it's fairly drought tolerant as a bonus. Sesame is another annual that you can blend into your more casual flower beds. Edible onions and garlic can also be grown en masse at the back of the flower bed - just be sure to clip off some of the flower heads before they open so you can pull out those plants when the tops die back and enjoy the bulbs to eat. Nobody will notice a few missing plants, I promise! And they will help deter Japanese Beetles and other pests if you should choose to plant a rose bush in the middle of your bed, hint, hint. To kick it up a notch, , plant an old-fashioned apothecary's rose, because you can make medicine out of the petals.

    These are just some ideas. If you live someplace where strawberries thrive, why not mix alpine strawberries in with violets and other little flowers to line a path? Alpine strawberries form clumps instead of runners, so they can make an edible edging. Speaking of violets, some have smooth, edible leaves that can be used as mild greens in cooked dishes. So why not plant a bunch of those in your flower beds or under shady shrubs? Nobody would object to a planting of violets. And use real sweet potatoes instead of decorative vines in planters. Just use a bigger planter than you normally would, and harvest both the leaves and tubers to put in the cookpot.

    There are many possibilities. But, it takes time, effort, creativity and a LOT of research and experimenting around to figure out what will really work for you. The reality is that most permaculture "landscaping" as currently conceived simply won't work for many suburban yards. And there's just no way to disguise certain things like potatoes. But if you search hard enough, you CAN find varieties of common edibles like tomatoes and basil that can be disguised enough to get a pass in many settings. Just please, don't put out a bunch of fruit trees and veggies loosely organized to look like a "forest" and expect to pass muster if your neighbors expect a groomed lawn and ornamental flower beds. Let's up our game and try blending in instead of always having to stand out in everybody else's faces. Sure, we want to change the world for the better, but sometimes that means working more with the status quo and walking a little bit less to the tune of our own drummers.

    Login or Register to post comments