Transforming Landscaping with Edible Plants: Gone are the days when landscaping only involved growing ornamental plants. Today, more and more people are opting for edible plants to create functional landscapes that not only look good but also provide a variety of fresh produce. Edible landscaping is the practice of using food-producing plants in landscape design. In addition to being sustainable, it can help reduce food miles and promote local food systems. Here are some ways to transform your landscaping with edible plants:
Creating Kitchen Gardens with Raised Bed and Intensive Planting: One popular method for creating edible gardens is by using raised beds and intensive planting. This technique involves closely spacing plants to maximize yield and minimize space. For the hill country south of Texas, it's important to choose deer-resistant plants or use physical barriers like fencing or netting to prevent predators from destroying your hard work. Despite the challenges, the rewards of creating a kitchen garden with raised beds and intensive planting are well worth the effort. Not only do you get to enjoy fresh, healthy produce right from your backyard, but you also contribute to a more sustainable way of living.
Edible Borders: Edible borders are an attractive way to incorporate food-producing plants into your landscaping. You can use a combination of herbs, vegetables, and even edible flowers to create a colorful and productive border. For example, you can plant chives or lavender along the edge of a garden bed or create a border of kale or lettuce to add texture and visual interest.
Vertical Gardens: Vertical gardening is another popular method for incorporating edible plants into your landscaping. This technique involves growing plants on walls, trellises, or other vertical structures, making the most of limited space. You can grow a variety of plants vertically, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs. This technique is especially useful for small yards or balconies where space is limited.
Incorporating Edibles into Hardscaping: You can also incorporate edible plants into your hardscaping, such as in between pavers or as a groundcover. For example, you can plant creeping thyme or chamomile between stepping stones to add color and fragrance while also providing fresh herbs for your cooking.
Food Forest: A food forest is a type of edible landscape that mimics a natural forest ecosystem but with food-producing plants. This approach involves planting a variety of fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and understory plants that can be harvested throughout the year. Food forests require less maintenance than traditional gardens, as they are designed to be self-sustaining over time.
Incorporating edible plants into your landscaping not only adds beauty and interest but also provides a sustainable way to grow your own fresh produce. From kitchen gardens with raised beds and intensive planting to edible borders, vertical gardens, and even food forests, there are many creative ways to transform your outdoor space. Whether you live in a small apartment or have a large yard, there are options for everyone. By reducing your carbon footprint and promoting local food systems, edible landscaping is a win-win for both you and the environment. So why not give it a try? Follow our guide to planting in South Texas and the Hill Country and share your beautiful and sustainable garden on social media with the hashtags #ediblelandscaping and #sustainablegardening.
What to plant in Texas in the month of May, categorized by herbs, vegetables, greens, and flowers: Best season for planting: Spring Herbs:
Peppers (bell, jalapeño, etc.)
Squash (zucchini, yellow squash, etc.)