Edible landscaping is gaining in popularity in this tight economy. Everyone wants to save money and it’s a given that making every penny count is a necessity. There are many things that can be done at home to stretch a dollar and edible landscaping is one of them. Using plants that do double duty in a yard will produce fresh fruits and vegetables and also maximize dollars spent on watering that would be done anyway. It makes sense to grow edible landscaping because it not only looks great but will save money on the grocery bill.
Edible Landscape Plant Choices
- Instead of decorative grasses, an edible landscape alternative could be green onions, garlic or chives. Save money on those expensive bottles of herbs at the store by opting for such things as thyme or oregano as a substitute for low growing grasses. These edible landscaping plants not only taste good, they also smell good when you walk on them or brush by.
- Edible landscaping alternatives for specimen plants include bok choy, celery, rhubarb, peppers or tomatoes. Imagine a fresh rhubarb pie for a family barbeque, or a big bowl of salsa from your own peppers and tomatoes and you can freeze cut up fuits and vegetables to extend the enjoyment of your edible landscape through winter.
- As a substitute for low growing shrubs in the edible landscape, choose blueberries, gooseberries or currents. These garden plants are old favorites that have been around for a long time and their fruits make wonderful pies, jams, and muffins year after year. Roses are another favorite when planting edible landscaping. You can eat the petals if they’re not treated with pesticides or fertilizers, and the hips are high in vitamin C.
- Tall shrubs provide natural visual barriers in the yard which offer privacy. For edible landscaping, why not choose double duty shrubs such as sand cherries or even raspberries or blackberries. They produce an abundance of fruit for desserts or fresh eating and offer thornless varieties for easier picking.
- Fences make a perfect trellis for edible landscaping. Choose climbing beans, peas, squash, cucumbers or melons. Fences keep the fruit or vegetable off the ground eliminating brown spots or damage from moisture.
- Your deck is also a great place to grow edible landscaping. Nasturtiums and pansies have edible flowers and look great in a salad. Or try basil, swiss chard, kale or another old favorite, strawberries.
- Last but not least, fruit and nut trees are a natural for edible landscaping. People have done this for years and they are available at local nurseries who generally carry the varieties suitable for your area. Apples and pears are good choices or how about an almond or pecan tree in your edible landscape.
Edible Landscaping Considerations
Not all plants are edible so check with your county extension agent about plants you are unsure of. Be sure to wash everything before you eat it and don’t use pesticides in your edible landscape. If you don’t have a yard, you can still grow a small edible landscape of garden plants in containers on your deck or porch using handy tips in this article: How to Grow a Salad on Your Deck
Never use pesticides on plants you intend to eat and always thoroughly wash fruits, vegetables and herbs before they are consumed.