Plant an Edible Yard
I drive by so many houses in summer that have sprawling lawns of grass. Spattered amongst the sea of green are islands of single trees surrounded by a mound of mulch. These lawns make me sad with their absence of color and texture. Everything I grow in my yard is useful except for that weed that most people refer to as grass, (of which I have less and less of every year).
I would like to offer people an alternative. How about landscaping with edible plants? Turn your yard into your grocery store. There are so many plants that we can implement into the edible landscape.
Let’s start with those trees. Wouldn’t you like to go out into the yard and pick fresh fruit. Whether you want tall, medium, or dwarf size trees, most fruit trees are available in these different sizes. In our Northern climate you can choose from Apple, pear, plum, cherries and even peach. Also nut plants grow here such as walnut, hickory, hazelnut, butternut, chestnut. Spruce tips are good to nibble when they are young. Some other tree berries are: Hawthorn, Aronia (chokeberry) and Mulberry.
Now speaking of fruit, let's talk bushes. Many people have landscape bushes that surround the immediate outside of their house. Many landscape bushes have flowers or even fruit for the wildlife, (the birds like a lot of berries that we don’t). So instead we can put in Elderberries, gooseberries, blueberries, currents or goji berries. If you have bushes surrounding your house that have thorns to act as barriers, like barberry, you can replace that with any of the thorny berry bushes like raspberry and blackberry. Another plant with big thorns that will give you a neat edible fruit is the Prickly Pear cactus.
Onto the borders. Many landscape plans have borders of neat and tidy low growing plants. Here you can put many herbs like Thyme, Calendula, Roman Chamomile, Sorrel, winter savory, lavender, and hosta.
Some Fruits and vegetables that would be great in your borders would be Swiss Chard, Kale, and strawberries.
Edible flowers: Spicy Nasturtium, Chives, Daylilies, violets, borage, rose, peony, hibiscus, lilac, pumpkin and squash blossoms, beebalm, and the redbud tree.
Bigger plants for the back of the border or Specimen plants: Rhubarb, Dill, Fennel, Sunchokes, Artichokes, peppers, Mint, Basil, zucchini, lavender, sunflowers,
Vines: Beans (scarlet runner has pretty flowers and there are purple bean varieties available), peas, nasturtium, hops, Tomatoes, Pumpkins and squash. Roses, and of course grapes.
Once you have an edible landscape installed, remember not to use chemical pesticides and herbicides on anything that you want to consume.
Now is the time to start dreaming and planning what you would like to eat right out of your own front or back yard this year!