With sustainability and self-sufficiency being major trends at the moment, more and more people are trying their hand at edible landscaping. If the concept of producing your own food in a garden that looks beautifully ornamental appeals to you, then edible landscaping is a technique well worth exploring further.
What is Edible Landscaping?
Edible landscaping makes use of traditional landscaping techniques. However, rather than making use of garden trees plants that are purely ornamental, an edible landscape contains visually attractive plants that also happen to be edible.
This instantly makes your garden so much more productive. It’s also a great way to attract pollinators, while reducing the damage that pests and diseases can cause.
Work With What You’ve Already Got
You’ll likely already have some established planting areas that you don’t want to change too much. These would be great for annual vegetables – ornamental lettuces and mustards dotted through a flowerbed add a stunning leafy backdrop to blooms. Members of the allium family, from garlic to onions, can also easily be interplanted, and are great for repelling certain pests.
When it comes to your garden trees, consider ways in which you can plant around these. Strawberries make a great living mulch, while edible vines can twist their way up around tree trunks. You could also swap out some of your existing garden trees for edible or medicinal alternatives. Look for those that also work as a feature tree to add a focal point, such as a majestic mango tree or a healing tree aloe.
For empty areas, or beds that you want to completely revamp, look into edible perennials. Place some fruit trees, whether these may be citrus, olive, pomegranate, or avocado, around the edges, and then fill the space in between with low-maintenance edible companion plants. Asparagus, rhubarb, and blueberries all work well. Think about the foods that you enjoy eating the most, and then look for visually appealing ways in which you can bring them into your garden.
Give Yourself Time
There are many fruit trees and edible plants out there that require very little maintenance once established. However, they’ll need a little extra care until they’ve reached that stage. Planting out your entire garden in one go with edibles will require a significant amount of maintenance time. Unless you’ve got this time to spare, then take things slowly.
Start with small changes, adding a few plants here and removing a few plants there. Learn how your new edible plants interact with your existing shrubs and garden trees, and then use that information to improve. For example, planting delicate edibles underneath an olive tree may seem like a good idea at first, but they could end up being damaged come harvest time.
In addition to plenty of research, trial and error is the best way to gain this knowledge.
An Edible Paradise
There are now so many different plant and tree varieties out there, to the point where just about every edible comes in a variety that’s also highly ornamental. Gone are the days when vegetable gardens used to feature bland and boring rows – get creative and incorporate edibles into your ornamental garden and you’ll have a space that not only looks beautiful, but has the ability to feed you too.