Edible gardening is thrifty, good for the planet and good for our health by providing plenty of fresh food for our diet. But many people avoid growing food because they can't imagine planting and maintaining a vegetable garden.
Luckily, edible landscaping doesn't have to be so utilitarian as planting a vegetable garden. Making edible plants part of your overall landscaping plans can result in a beautiful outdoor space, full of interesting textures and designs that taste as good as they look.
An easy approach to growing food involves starting with a simple one-on-one replacement. Switch out just one ornamental plant or tree with something similar that's edible. Then try it again with something else. Go at whatever pace suits you.
In the book The Beautiful Edible Garden, the authors offer several simple swaps, including: replacing a magnolia tree with a fuyu persimmon, planting peppers in place of zinnias, using hanging tomato plants in place of hanging spider plants, and switching out boxwood with blueberries. Chives and onions add texture and purple flowers, while leafy greens can replace broad-leaf ornamentals.
Growing food in your yard provides an inexpensive source of produce and the chance to grow unusual varieties. It also saves water, since you are already watering the lawn and ornamentals anyway. Finally, there’s something satisfying about having a source of food in your own yard.
“But always, to her, red and green cabbages were to be jade and burgundy, chrysoprase and prophyry. Life has no weapons against a woman like that.” ~ Edna Ferberter