Ok, so maybe you don’t want to plant a huge vegetable garden, let alone raise all of your own food. I’ll be the first to admit that growing fruits and vegetables takes work, and not everyone has the time or the inclination to make such an effort. But I will try and persuade you to include some pockets of edible plants in your landscaping. A patch of lettuce here, a few blueberry bushes there, and a small herb garden near the kitchen door. And how about a few tomato plants in the sunny area next to the garage? Come on…live a little: experience the joy of picking something fresh and bringing it to the table minutes later.
Some do raise vegetables because homegrown produce tastes better, and others so that they know their food is pesticide-free. Good reasons to start growing your own, but not the argument that I’m making here. I encourage you to grow some edibles in your landscape because it’s enjoyable. It’s fun to be able to pick some fresh herbs and toss them onto an otherwise plain baked potato or piece of fish. It’s enjoyable to cut multi-colored leaves of lettuce, wash them, and then sit down and eat your salad. And when you pluck ripe berries from a bush and pop them in your mouth it’s like finding treasure in your yard…small, tasty jewels, as pretty as they are delicious.
So how can you begin to have the pleasure of gobbling your garden? Fit the edibles into small spaces, and don’t (forgive me for saying this) bite off more than you can chew. Many a potential vegetable gardener has become discouraged when the large plot that they turned in the spring becomes a weed-ridden mess by late July. So start small, and make sure that you don’t get overwhelmed before your first crop is ripe for picking. Some suggestions for fitting edible landscaping onto your property and into your life:
Speaking of sun, if you have an area where the sun shines for at least six hours you have the perfect place to grow herbs. Loosen the soil as above, and if you have really hard clay or pure sand, mix in the compost. But if you have regular garden dirt (loam) just plant the herbs in the unimproved soil – herbs don’t need overly fertile ground. Buy small plants of sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley and chives, but if you want to have mint, keep it in a pot. Mint will eat your other plants for breakfast and the surrounding landscape for lunch.
So find a sunny spot and put something edible in your landscaping, because this is the thing: you aren’t just raising lettuce, berries and herbs. You’re growing fun and satisfaction.