Whether you’re starting a new garden or looking for ways to spice up your current landscape, edible plants like fruits, herbs and vegetables are a great addition. But you don’t need a typical vegetable garden just to get fresh food on the table every day. There are plenty of ways to turn your yard into an edible landscape while maintaining a beautiful lawn design.
How to care for your edible landscaping
Many edible plants need six to eight hours of full sun every day. Some, like lettuce, spinach or radishes, can tolerate a little shade, but most of your edible plants should be positioned where they can soak up the sun’s nutrients. Be sure to give them plenty of water in an area of your yard that has good drainage. They should also be planted close enough to other plants to stifle weed growth but not too close, especially considering some edible plants will expand naturally over time. Finally, cutting back your edible plants every so often makes them healthier and more manageable.
Where to plant your edible garden
You may choose to grow a traditional vegetable garden with tilled rows and a fence to keep out hungry critters. But if you’re looking for a more natural approach, there are several spots in the yard to sprinkle in some edible plants.
- Create a hedgerow with berry bushes or grapevines and enjoy the spring blossoms and summer fruit.
- Plant fruit trees in the yard, but not near decks or driveways as they can get messy when the fruit drops.
- Sprinkle herbs throughout the garden as a compliment to other plants. As long as you maintain proper care, they could go just about anywhere!
- Brighten up the garden with colorful vegetables alongside your flowers and shrubs.
Types of Edible Plants
- Herbs and spices: Variety is the spice of life! Choose several different herbs and spices to enhance your culinary endeavors. Basil, mint, dill, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme all have lovely leaf patterns and complement many dishes.
- Fruits and vegetables: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Keeping apple and cherry trees in your garden creates a constant source of fresh, delicious fruit. Just remember to prune correctly to maintain the health and shape of your trees. Berry bushes and wild strawberries are other great additions to edible landscaping. Plant colorful peppers, squash and tomatoes, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and tasty cucumbers carrots or potatoes to brighten up your garden and your dinner plate.
Protecting your edible landscaping
An edible garden doesn’t just provide tasty treats for you and your family. It can also attract local wildlife. To protect your garden from persistent invaders like deer and rabbits, you may want to consider fencing or sprays. For an organic option to keep your family healthy when eating fresh from the garden, a tablespoon of Tabasco mixed with a gallon of water creates a spray to keep the bunnies away. Sprinkling chili powder around your plants works too! Mix in a few smelly plants like chives, garlic or onions to deter deer from the sweeter treats in your garden. Then, hang wind chimes to help scare them away.
It’s also important to choose a mower that can safely navigate your landscape without damaging your edible plants. Some lawn mowers are designed with easy maneuverability and make it simpler to mow around your fruits and veggies. Maintaining your mower ensures it continues to run at peak efficiency and keep clear of your edible plants. Routine maintenance every summer will show you if you need to replace any mower parts like your lawn mower blades or belts.
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