As spring fever overtakes the land, gardening is occupying more and more weekend time. This year, move in a sustainable direction by converting purely ornamental landscaping into an edible landscape that is both beautiful and nutritious!
To get started, first consider a one-to-one substitution. For instance, plant a fruit tree instead of a shade tree, a berry-bearing shrub for an ornamental one, and hot pepper plants for geraniums.
Or keep it simple by growing your own tomatoes and herbs in pots on your patio. (They are among the easiest plants to grow.) In choosing what to plant, remember that many fruit and vegetable plantings do best where they receive at least six hours of full sunlight a day. And aim for an organic approach to the garden that focuses on enhancing soil health with compost, rather than treating plants with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Good Housekeeping recommends this useful list of edible ground-cover plants that can replace traditional grass in lawns: herbs like wintergreen, thyme, or sage; leafy lettuces; or low-growing berry plants, like strawberries.
There are several books available about edible landscaping, most notably by Rosalind Creasy whose pioneering works in the field include Edible Landscaping ($26 at amazon.com). We also like the more subversive front-yard edible designs of Fritz Haeg's Edible Estates ($18.20 at amazon.com). Of course, your local nursery is also a great source of information, workshops and classes.
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