Edible Landscaping: The Health Benefits and Quick Tips
Edible landscaping is landscaping for those who want their yard to look unique and beautiful. According to The Learning Channel,
“Edible landscaping is the great equalizer of the gardening world. Tomatoes, arugula, squash and their other vegetable brethren are no longer planted away from the gaze of passersby. They now find new homes nestled beside showstoppers like roses, marigolds and violets. Proudly displayed flowers no longer escape harvesting either, with edible varieties added to salads, sandwiches and even ice creams.”
However, edible landscaping isn’t just about your house’s aesthetics; it’s about your health. The benefits of edible landscaping are many.
First, edible landscaping is a great way to see and encourage green living. Plants are an imperative part of our eco-system. They provide us and other organisms with energy through their production of sugars and starches. Plants convert and provide us and organisms with necessary potassium, iron, and other minerals. They also make oxygen that enables us and other organisms to breathe. And these are only a few of the functions plants serve in our ecosystem.
Second, your favorite vegetables, nuts, fruits, and herbs will be freshly picked by you. Placing health fruit and vegetables in drawers in your refrigerator can many times lead to forgetting you bought them in the first place. An edible landscape not only cuts the risk of wasting these healthy food choices, but enables you to pick your favorite produce and consume it when it is the most fresh. And the fresher your produce is, the better it is for your health; after being picked, produce slowly begins to lose the nutrients they retain.
Third, it is a healthier way to get produce because you know that your home-grown produce is chemical-free. Unlike the “organic” and “natural” produce you buy at the grocery store, you know exactly what went into growing your produce. You don’t have to worry about chemicals being in your food.
Fourth, you’re more apt to choose your own produce over refined foods because it is conveniently located in your yard. When we get hungry, our brains don’t think about what would be best to eat; they think about what we want to eat. Because your healthy produce will be something you see daily when you’re at your home, your edible landscape will serve as a constant reminder that you have healthy, fresh options in your yard.
Tips for Beginner Edible Landscapers:
- Buy a book to educate yourself on edible landscaping, like Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy; she is known as one of a “pioneer” of edible landscaping.
- Follow a good blog or website that provides tips, resources, and ideas. This will provide you with people who have experienced advice on edible landscaping.
- Do research online to get ideas for plants and arrangements.
- Research which plants will work best with your area’s climate.
- Plan your landscape not only according to what will look good, but by which herbs, vegetables, nuts, and fruits you enjoy eating.
- Know which chemicals are safe to use on your plants.
- Know how often to water your plants.
- Plan your arrangements; create to-scale diagrams of the way you will arrange plants. This will help you visualize your landscape, ensure that you will be happy with your design, and ensure you’re spacing is adequate for your design.
- Measure the space where you will be doing your landscaping; you need to know how much space you’re dealing with in order to plan properly.
- Set a budget.
- For those whose schedule is simply too busy to design, plan, and convert your landscape to an edible one, there exist hundreds of companies that will do it for you.