By Carol Cowan
Inspired to incorporate some edibles into your home landscape? Here are some tips to get you started.
- Make a plan. Ask yourself, “What do I like to eat? What space can I use?”
- Do your research. Learn which plants have similar requirements as far as soil type, water and sunlight, and plant them together in little “soil islands.” Blueberries require acid soil; herbs like it hot and dry. Hamilton also recommends looking for cultivars that have particularly ornamental qualities, such as Bright Lights Swiss chard and Black Lace elderberry.
- Start small, and have a pot ready or a hole dug before you buy a plant, Baxter and Ross say.
- Don’t rip up your whole yard and start over. Start with one corner and plant a blueberry bush and a couple of annuals. Blackberries and raspberries are also easy to grow.
- Analyze your landscaping needs, and find edible plants to meet them. Think vertically, horizontally, ground cover, trees, what can grow in a pot or up a trellis. There’s an edible choice for every landscaping need, Ross says.
- Walk out and look at your plants often to keep abreast of disease or insect problems. “Plants are plenty willing to tell you how they’re feeling by their color or how they grow,” Baxter says. “The most important thing you can see in a garden is the gardener’s shadow.”
- Make sure any fertilizers, pesticides and mulches you use are safe for edible plants.