This year was the first in which I planted strawberries. I knew nothing about them, so plunked them down next to my broccoli, thinking the colors would go nicely together. As beginners luck would have it, we had succulent berries all summer and they are still flowering despite plummeting temps at night. What I just realized today, as I went to clip some broccoli for dinner, was that the strawberry vines have arched and replanted themselves all over the bed. Which is certainly very cool (and saves me money on buying new plants next year) but not quite what I want in a garden that is already filled with herbs and veggies.
Strawberries are very good at staying abundant!
It did give me an idea, however. Next spring, what if I planted them in a large bare spot in the yard and let them act as delicious ground cover?
Was that an option? I was happy to have reason to pick up my newly acquired book, Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy.
If you want to literally garden outside of the box, this book is a must read. Rosalind can show you–no matter if you are a beginner with a tiny scrap of yard or a green thumb with rolling acres–how to give your produce a second job. Sure your rhubarb looks great when you harvest it into a cobbler–but in the months leading up to dessert, those giant leaves can be stunning as a border plant.
Thai chilies add pops of color around a lamp post; rows of lettuces guide you to your mailbox; flowering chives are pretty in pink against a rock wall; fragrant basil cascades next to an entryway; well-placed pots of tomatoes serve as a little snack shacks as you walk…seriously, would you ever leave?
Your entire yard can be delicious and beautiful!
Imagine what your yard can be if you grow food beyond the raised bed in the corner! Planting for beauty and food is a kind way to garden. There is less waste since you can reap the yummy benefits throughout the season rather than just throwing out flowering annuals after they die.
Lacking for inspiration? This book is filled with gorgeous, color pictures of edible landscapes from all different zones. Even the smallest yard (she has tips on how to maximize tiny areas and how to plant to make it feel larger) will turn into your personal farmer’s market. She did an experiment with 100 square feet and harvested over 77 lbs of produce in one season! On her website, Rosalind lists recommended plantings for each zone, so it takes the guesswork out if you have no idea what will work well in your area.
What an amazing project to share with your children. Turning their surroundings into an edible paradise is something they will be so excited to show-off when friends visit. The whole Southern side of our house is what I call the Pancake Garden–blueberries and raspberries twist and turn under a pear tree. Kids love running out there and picking their toppings as the griddle heats up.
Which brings me back to the Strawberry Question. As you see above, Rosalind loves planting the colorful gems in containers and allows them to dazzle without taking over the poor broccoli!
To learn more about Edible Landscaping and Rosalind, visit her site at http://www.rosalindcreasy.com. She is a true RAWK STAR for showing us that Mother Nature is really the best gardener!
Rosalind Shows You How to Turn Your Yard into Your Own Farmer's Market