The snow is melting and spring is approaching, bringing green grass and a fresh canvas for a new landscape. If you’re looking to incorporate sustainability in your landscape this spring, we’re here to tell you all about “foodscaping”–edible plants that are so pretty you want to work them into your landscape. Adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your landscaping is not only sustainable, but a fun and fresh new look! Keep reading to find out why foodscaping is for you, and how to get started on your own garden.
If you’re hesitant to start edible landscaping this spring, let me ease your mind–there are lots of benefits to foodscaping! Some include:
Saving money on groceries by growing your own fruits and vegetables
Saving time on yard work, as fruits and vegetables need less tending than flowers and other plants
Providing lots of fun for a family with children, as they can help pick the fruits and vegetables when they are ready to be harvested
Providing a way to be sustainable, as you will reduce plastic use and can control what goes into your plants and soil, like using organic pesticides instead of unnatural ones
Improving your overall health by grabbing a snack from your garden instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks.
If any of these things pique your interest, you may want to get started on planting your own edible landscape! Don’t worry if it seems intimidating–this step-by-step guide, along with a little research, will make it far easier than it sounds.
Where to Plant
The first step to creating your edible landscape is to determine where you want to place your plants. By figuring out where in your yard you are going to plant your various herbs, fruits, and vegetables, it will help you pick out which ones you want to plant. This will also help you figure out just how much room you have to plant, in order to see how many plants you need to choose. When you choose the planting spot, you can test your soil, see how much sunlight the spot receives, and see how much runoff or water it naturally receives. If it is a shady spot that receives a lot of runoff, you want to plant something that does not need a lot of light, and can hold a lot of water. If it is a sunny spot that does not receive a lot of water, you will want to find a plant that can do well with heat and drought. If you need more privacy in a certain area of your lawn, you can consider planting fruit trees or shrubs to provide natural privacy! Once you’ve found the perfect place to plant your fruits and vegetables, it’s time to choose what you want to eat, and how they look together.
Picking the Right Plant
Once you have chosen your planting location, your next step is to find plants that are compatible with that spot, and look aesthetically pleasing when paired together. Something to consider is how your plant is going to look in your landscape–if you want to incorporate your plant into your landscape, it should pair well with any spot that needs more green foliage! That being said, things like carrots, beans, etc. will not add anything to the look of your landscape, as they grow low. Look for tall plants, bushes, or even trees. Consult the list below for our favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs to incorporate into your landscape!
Choosing plants that look great in your landscape, are compatible with the soil and sunlight available in your yard, and grow well in your climate are important factors for growing a sustainable edible landscape. However, the most important part is growing plants that you will actually use! Only plant the amount that you will eat or share, and only plant fruit and vegetables that you actually like. Don’t plant bell peppers if no one in your family likes bell peppers!
Planning & More Planning
Edible landscaping doesn’t have to feel like a full time job, and yet it still does sometimes. This is because some people only focus on one stage of the process at a time, rather than planning out the placement, planting, growth, and harvesting of the plants all at once. By planning ahead, you can avoid doubt about your plant’s growth, because you’ll know exactly when it should be ready to harvest, instead of just guessing. Planning ahead with your edible landscaping can also be helpful when it comes to planning grocery trips and meals! If you know when it is going to be time to harvest your crops, you will be able to skip that specific food at the grocery store that week, and plan a meal around your harvest. With just a little research on the growth periods and harvest times of your crops, you will be prepared to turn your garden from a full-time job into a hobby to last a lifetime.
A Note on Sustainability
Besides having a produce section right outside your door, and creating a new and healthy hobby, edible landscaping is also a way to be sustainable. By controlling pesticides, herbicides, and water in your foodscape, you are helping to promote sustainability in your family and community. Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs can improve your soil, attract native wildlife to foster the local ecosystem, help to control water usage, and use renewable resources. Not to mention the plastic you’ll save by not using those little bags at the market for every separate fruit or vegetable you buy! Edible landscaping is so much more than just having food outside your door though; it is also aesthetic, in that your crops make up your landscaping, and transform your yard. By continuing foodscaping as a hobby, you may also encourage your neighbors to transform their landscape into an edible one!
Edible landscaping, or foodscaping, can be an entertaining hobby as well as a sustainable and aesthetic way of living. Turn crops into more than just food: turn them into a lovely front garden! Edible landscaping is a great step to living sustainably, and a way to encourage others to do so too.