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Edible Landscaping

Grow Your Dinner, Grow a Greener Future: The Rise of Edible Landscaping


For decades, our lawns have been dominated by thirsty, high-maintenance turfgrass. But a new trend is taking root, one that's both delicious and eco-friendly: edible landscaping.


Edible landscaping is the art of incorporating fruit trees, vegetable patches, herb gardens, and even edible flowers into your existing landscape design. It's about transforming your yard from a purely aesthetic space into a productive one that nourishes both you and the planet.


But edible landscaping offers more than just fresh, homegrown food. Here's how it benefits the environment:


  • Boosts Biodiversity: Edible landscapes create a haven for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. These vital creatures ensure the reproduction of many flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables we love to eat.

  • Improves Soil Health: Unlike traditional lawns, edible gardens encourage a wider variety of plant life. This diversity fosters healthy soil with beneficial microbes, earthworms, and fungi. Rich soil not only retains water more effectively but also helps capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

  • Reduces Water Usage: Many edible plants, especially herbs and native species, are naturally drought-tolerant. This translates to less water needed for maintenance compared to traditional lawns, a significant benefit in areas facing water scarcity or for those trying to be conscious of their consumption.

  • Minimizes Pollution: Edible landscapes often rely on organic pest control methods and eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers. This reduces pollution in our waterways and creates a healthier environment for everyone.


Edible landscaping isn't just good for the environment; it's a trend on the rise for modern homeowners. Many consumers are becoming more conscious of their energy, grocery, and lifestyle habits. Incorporating edible landscapes can be an effective way for you to have a little more say in those fields. Here’s how edible landscapes benefit me:

  • Connects Us to Our Food: Edible landscaping fosters a deeper appreciation for the source of our food. Tending to your own plants and harvesting fresh produce creates a rewarding connection to the natural world.

  • Provides Food Security: Having access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be invaluable for many families. Plus, there’s something incredibly gratifying about eating food that you grew!

  • Sustainable Living: As we become more conscious of our impact on the planet, edible landscaping offers a practical way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Many homeowners are switching to incorporate edible plants as a way to give back to the environment.


There are countless examples of plants to use in edible landscapes, but some of my favorite include:


Strawberry

A favorite for a reason, strawberries are a delicious and easy-to-grow addition to any edible landscape. They are low-growing plants that typically reach only 6-8 inches tall and spread 12-18 inches wide. Perfect for edging walkways or planting in containers, strawberries produce sweet, juicy fruits throughout the spring and summer.


Kale

Not only is kale a nutritional powerhouse, but it's also a beautiful plant with ornamental appeal. Curly kale varieties boast stunning blue-green leaves with ruffled edges, while other varieties like Lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale) have long, dark green leaves. Kale is a cool-season crop that grows 18-24 inches tall and 12-18 inches wide.


Lavender

Lavender adds a touch of elegance and fragrance to any edible landscape. This versatile herb not only boasts beautiful purple flowers but is also known for its calming properties. Lavender is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in hot, sunny locations. It typically grows 1-2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. The fragrant flowers can be used for culinary purposes, while the leaves can be used to make sachets or potpourri.


Blueberry bush

Blueberries are a delicious and healthy fruit that can thrive in an edible landscape. Blueberry bushes are small and compact, typically growing 3-6 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide. They are perfect for foundation plantings or borders and produce a bounty of sweet berries in the summer.


Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is a leafy green vegetable with vibrant stalks that come in various colors, including red, pink, yellow, orange, and white. It's a cool-season crop that grows 12-18 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide. Swiss Chard is not only nutritious but also adds a touch of color and texture to your edible landscape.


These are just a few examples of the many plants you can use to create a beautiful and productive edible landscape. With a little research and planning, you can find plants that suit your taste, climate, and available space


Edible landscaping is a win-win for you and the environment. It can add beauty and practicality to any yard, saving money and helping the ecosystem. So, ditch the bland turf and embrace the beauty and bounty of edible landscaping. With a little planning and creativity, you can transform your yard into a thriving ecosystem that nourishes your body and the planet


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