How to Incorporate Vegetable and Fruit Plants into Your Landscape

This article will give you ideas on how to incorporate vegetable and fruit plants into your landscape.

Does the idea of freshly picked fruit or home garden herbs send tingles up your spine?  Do the words 'cottage garden' make you smile with stars in your eyes?  Peek out of your front and back windows.  Do the images in front of you look nothing like the ones you just conjured up?  No worries!  If you’re a gardener “at heart” you’d be surprised at how easy and fulfilling creating your own edible garden is.  Imagine fresh, homegrown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.  Soon your neighbors will be eyeing your front yard in admiration.  Here are 2 simple steps to get started:

Step 1: Pick your Plants (The “Easy” Part)

First things first – choose the plants you want to grow.  When I first started my edible garden, I was overwhelmed with choices.  Then I thought, well, what do I like?  I like currants, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, asparagus, rhubarb, oregano, thyme, green onions, and Jerusalem artichokes.  So you can guess exactly what I have planted.  I’ve had varying degrees of success with them all.  However, be persistent.  Gardening is a wonderful learning experience.  Look for crops that grow well in your zone and just pick out your favorites.  Don’t worry if it does not turn out all that well.  You’ll get better at it and you can always try again the following year.       

Step 2: Choose your Location (Getting Down to Business)

If you have a flat lawn, setting up boxed raised beds might be a good option for you.    What would you need?   Box frames, soil, seeds, and a little elbow grease.  Berries, asparagus, and many herbs thrive in them.  The pathways created make them easy to tend to and harvest.  If you like things a little less “geometric”, you can always use stones or logs for a more natural-looking landscape. 

What if your lawn is flat, your garden is full of rocks, or the land you have isn’t perfectly manicured?  Well, what better way to spruce things up while looking like you’re not even trying!  Imperfect and unintentional landscapes make for the best gardens!  LavenderEchinacea,Black-Eyed Susan, Wild Lupin, to name a few, love rocks!  Feverfew, Comfrey, Cat Mint, and Chamomile are beautifully flowering herbs serving a dual purpose.  Plant them pretty much anywhere to make your garden come alive.  Now that I think about it, that uneven mound of dirt just outside my backdoor (the one where we placed the compost bucket) now grows the best rhubarb I have ever been able to grow.  This is just 3 weeks of growth and we’ve already made cuttings for some yummy rhubarb crisp! 

If you’re not sure how things will turn out or your inner-designer is on permanent hiatus (like mine is), here’s a quick tip:  Plant Jerusalem artichokes.  Notice I mentioned these in my list above?  Not only do I enjoy the taste, but the plants are beautiful and look very similar to sunflowers.  Tall, stately sunflowers that block the view of the inquisitive (like my neighbors).

OK, seriously now, what if you have very little space to work with?  If your living quarters are tight, you can still create your very own “farmer’s market”.  Fill containers with potting soil and place them closely together.  This maximizes the space utilized and makes watering efficient and a snap.  Strawberries and herbs grow extremely well in pots.  A sunny spot near a window is all the love they need.  Take advantage of vertical spacing by training plants, such as grapes and berries, up trellises. 

So, no more excuses.  It’s your turn to be the envy of the neighborhood.  Get out there and plant with pride.  If you’re looking for quality plants and seeds, check out Greenwood Nursery