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SustainAbility Newsletter

Edible Landscaping?

edible landscapesEdible landscaping offers an alternative to conventional residential landscapes that are designed solely for ornamental purposes. Edible landscapes can be just as attractive, yet produce fruits and vegetables for home use. One can install an entirely edible landscape, or incorporate simple elements into existing yards and gardens.

Edible landscaping is the use of food-producing plants in the constructed landscape, principally the residential landscape. Edible landscapes combine fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and ornamental plants into aesthetically pleasing designs. These designs can incorporate any garden style and can include anywhere from 1-100% edible species.

Why landscape with edibles?

There are many reasons to incorporate edible plants into the residential landscape. These include:

  • To enjoy the freshness and flavor of home-grown, fully ripened fruits and vegetables
  • To control the quantity and kind of pesticides and herbicides used on the foods you consume
  • To increase the food security of your household
  • To save on grocery bills
  • To grow unusual varieties not available in stores
  • To get outside, interact with the natural world, and have fun

History of edible landscaping
Edible landscaping is as old as gardening itself and has undergone a recent revival. Ancient Persian gardens combined both edible and ornamental plants. Medieval monastic gardens included fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicinal herbs. Plans for 19th century English suburban yards, which modeled themselves after country estates, often included edible fruits and berries. The edible components of residential landscapes were largely lost in this country to the now familiar shade trees, lawns, and foundation plantings. In the past two decades, however, there has been a revival of interest in edible landscaping, thanks to the work of early pioneers such as Rosalind Creasy.

How to landscape with edibles
Like all plants used in the landscape, edible plants grow best in certain conditions. Many (but not all!) fruits and vegetables do best where they receive at least 6 hours of full sunlight a day. Most also like well-drained soil. Parts of your yard that satisfy these conditions are good places to start an edible landscape. To perform a complete makeover on these areas, consult the books recommended below for a full design process. To start simply, consider a one-for-one substitution. Where you might have planted a shade tree, plant a fruit tree. Where you need a deciduous shrub, plant a currant or hazelnut. Where you have always had chrysanthemums, plant bachelor's buttons—you can eat them. Edible plants come in nearly all shapes and sizes and can perform the same landscape functions as ornamental plants. Figure 2 shows how a small area, about 25 by 25 feet, can be planted almost entirely with edibles that have ornamental value and appear to be a decorative garden. The list can be changed to suit individual taste or local garden conditions.

Here are some more ideas for edible landscapes:

  • Put pots of herbs on the patio
  • Include cherry tomatoes in a window box or hanging basket
  • Build a grape arbor
  • Grow nasturtium, violas, borage, or calendula and include flowers in salads
  • Eat your daylilies
  • Plant a fruit tree in the corner of your yard
  • Grow Red-jewel Cabbage
  • Plant colorful pepper varieties (e.g., Lipstick, Habanero) alongside flowers
  • Tuck lettuce, radishes, or other short-lived greens into a flower bed
  • Replace a barberry hedge with gooseberries
  • Put basil together with coleus in a planter
  • Try yellow or "rainbow" chard
  • Grow chives around the mailbox
  • Train raspberries up your fence

Won't it take a lot of work?
Many common ornamental plants can survive with minimal care. Most edible plants, however, require a certain amount of attention to produce well. They may require a little extra watering, pruning, fertilizing, or pest management. The time required, however, need not be exorbitant. To care for a fruit tree, for instance, may take only a few hours a year, while the yield could be enormous. It is best to treat edible landscaping as a hobby and not a chore. You may find yourself checking on your plants more than they strictly require, just because you want to see how they're doing. If you are concerned about being overwhelmed, just start small.

The possibilities for edible landscaping are endless. By incorporating just one—or many—edible plants into a home landscape, you can develop a new relationship with your yard and the food you eat.

 


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 
             
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Sustainable Demonstration Project Blog
scotlandyardsgolf.blogspot.com

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games
www.olympic.org

Scotland Yards Golf Club
www.scotlandyards.com

Audubon Outdoors
www.audubonoutdoors.org

Love and Dodson
www.loveanddodson.com

Green World Parth
www.greenworldpath.com

Turf Feeding Systems
www.turffeeding.com

The Dodson Group
www.thedodsongrp.com      

To learn about sponsorship opportunities please call us at: 727-733-0762
This Issue of the SustainAbility Newsletter sponsored in part by:

The Dodson Group

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Kick the Plastic Water Bottle Habit

Water BottleSave resources by drinking from a glass whenever you can, or use a refillable, stainless steel bottle when you are on the go.

Ever wonder where most of those plastic water bottles go that we knock back from every day? Into landfills, where they live on and on and on and on. Exempt from many state deposit laws, and most often used away from home, where recycling bins are scarce, the majority of water bottles do not make it into the recycling stream.

Not only do they accumulate and stress landfills, they are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a petroleum product, and their manufacturing process uses oil, a nonrenewable energy source, and increases CO2 emissions.

So kick the plastic water bottle habit. That way you can avoid the controversy over chemicals leaching from both hard and soft plastics into your water, even at room temperatures.


PDF

 
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT

References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org

MSNBC
www.msnbc.com

Green Cities
www.greencities.com

The Daily Green
www.thedailygreen.com

LandDesign
www.landdesign.com

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

Energy Star
www.energystar.gov

Green Hotels List
www.independenttraveler.com

 

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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