So many of us love the idea of growing our own food but lack of space, sun, and let’s face it, time get in the way. If you’re in that crowd, don’t despair, there is an answer – edible landscaping!
Many vegetables and herbs are as beautiful as they are delicious. This makes them perfect candidates for sprucing up your landscapes as well as your dinner. A wide variety of edible plants offer splendid texture and color for most any landscape. And you can position them just about anywhere that receives six or more hours of sun a day.
Consider existing landscape beds. Chives, parsley, prostrate rosemary and smaller varieties of artemesia are excellent border plants. Basil is a beautiful and delicious accent plant. African Blue Basil grows to maturity as a tall plant with stunning purple bloom spikes that attract many species of bees. Sweet basil planted with Purple Ruffles basil offers interesting textures as well as bright green and purple color in the garden.
Herbs provide interesting textures and colors in the garden or strategically placed containers. Spend time outdoors to identify where your landscape receives at least six hours of sun. Start small by planting one or two containers in the sunniest spot in your landscape. Vegetables and herbs can be tucked into an ornamental planting bed. Just remember to consider the mature size of the vegetable to provide adequate space for it to grow. Large containers are perfect for growing many vegetables and herbs. Make certain that the container has a drainage hole. Purchase good quality potting mix to fill vegetable or herb containers. Place the container in its final location before filling with soil.
One in three households in the U.S. is growing food and children involved in growing vegetables are more willing to eat them.
In our southeast Texas climate, now is the perfect time to begin growing warm season vegetables. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be well on your way:
- Make a list of your family’s favorite vegetables and/or herbs
- Decide which plants you want to grow
- Purchase starts to create an instant garden
- Buy general purpose organic fertilizer and compost
- Identify the nearest water source (hose bib) for a garden hose or plan to hand water
- Dig only where each plant will be planted
- Add a small amount of fertilizer and the plant to the planting hole
- Gently replace the soil around the roots and stem of the plant
- Cover with an inch or so of good quality compost
- Water thoroughly
Ultimately, let your palate be your guide. If you plant what you love to eat you’ll be more likely to harvest and prepare the fruits of your labor. Common warm season vegetables include beans, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and okra. Some warm season herbs are basil, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Local groceries, hardware stores and home supply stores have vegetable and herbs ready to add to your landscape. Set aside an hour or two and begin to grow your own food.
For more information, check out these helpful gardening guides from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Try this delicious recipe using tomatoes grown in your own landscape!
Create a delightful family project by harvesting, cleaning, and preparing the chemical free vegetables and herbs you have grown. Let children make suggestions about what they would like to eat. Involve your family in meal planning and cooking. Sharing edibles from your own landscape is a very rewarding experience. List your favorite vegetables and start now!