Edible gardening trend

bahia(SF Bay Area)May 15, 2012

Do you find yourself designing a lot more edibles into your garden designs these days? I know I certainly do, and especially appreciate plants that keep on giving over a long season and also look ornamental in the process. Right now I am especially enjoying eating the White Alpine Strawberries that just don't quit, Southern Highbush Blueberries with lots of ripe berries, and seeing all the young fruit forming on apples/pears/apricots and plums around town. Tangerines and Mandarins are another virtually fool proof local crop that don't need the extra heat and coddling to get sweet fruit as do most oranges.

I find it especially useful to use blank wall spaces with espaliered trees such as figs, apples and pears or berries such as blackberry and raspberry. I'm including a photo of Giant Italian Dinosaur Kale from a client's garden in the Oakland Hills, who had specifically requested packing in as many edible plants as possible into the design, but also wanted it to look pretty all year round. I think we succeeded, and it is fun to work in the garden and continuously pop homegrown food into my mouth while gardening.

Here is a link that might be useful: Italian Dinosaur Kale

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I think the edible gardening trend is great but personally, it makes me feel guilty. With the stress here in the PNW especially about eating organic and locally, there's the expectation that you'll grow your own if you have a yard. All my friends are posting pictures of their gardens. I'm not willing to commit to a garden due to my vegicidal habits. Thus, I don't admit that I don't grow a garden otherwise I get astonished stares.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:01PM
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My neighbor's husband has lost his mind and so has decided that the apocalypse is coming soon, peak oil has arrived, the government is going to collapse in anarchy, and we will suffer from a nuclear winter from Fukushima and all out wells will dry up. (He started right, not that it matters. If you fall off the edge of sanity, left or right, you pretty much end up in the same place.)

His wife is finally wanting to do something with their lawn rather than periodically scalp it, and the only way he lets her incorporate flowers (rather than simply clear-cutting the pot and putting in vegetable beds that he is too lazy to even prep and plant, much less tend--he would expect her to do all the work, his contribution being the "idea") is to also put in food. So I'm making plans for her that include scattered edibles to keep him happy and let her keep the actual veggie garden to a reasonable size.

As for me--I'm happy to keep the edibles in my veggie garden, as I'm planning to actually EAT them, not feed them to the wildlife. The only exceptions are 'shrooms that I'm about to start growing next month in the wooded areas and the pawpaws I'm going to be putting down in the river bottom on our land. I'll protect the pawpaws with wireless deer fences until they're big enough to stand up for themselves.

Probably 1/4 of the houses here have dedicated veggie gardens. About half of those actually ever produce anything! We have everything from "patch" gardeners to row gardeners to raised beds to ground-level potagers. But everyone has a minimum of an acre here, so if they want veggies, they don't have to scrounge for space.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:48PM
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I'm incorporating some edibles as I redo the landscape - bean vines for shade, herbs like rosemary and sage for "bushes", sunchokes, etc.

But if you added up the food value produced by all the wannabee urban homesteaders versus the energy and materials expended, I think the local grocery store would be more efficient.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 4:59PM
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I'm not going to be saving one red cent with my veggie garden. I'm going to get tastier stuff but not cheaper--not at all.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Here's one I've always liked for it's ornamental quality as well as food. Not quite as wild as that kale, but still bold... horseradish. I like the idea of food in the landscape. As long as it looks decent.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 12:11AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'm not so much taking about dedicated areas for vegetables or fruit trees as I am about the idea of incorporating the more ornamental plants into the garden with everything else. Up to 3 years or so I was never asked by clients to consciously add edibles. Now I find myself suggesting it even if they don't request it. Trust me, it all gets eaten, and it adds an extra dimension to be able to stroll the garden and eat something delicious. I love my Asian Pear tree, and would include non-traditional species such as my Strawberry tree in the front garden(Arbutus enedo), as an edible. I'm going to have to try the fresh flowering shoots on my palm one of these days(Chamaedorea tepelijote), and the edible fruits on the Butia capitata palm, and maybe harvest some fresh bluestem bamboo shoots. Passion vine, Passiflora edulis and of course the ubiquitous Meyer lemon and Bearss lime trees are other species that I consider both ornamental,(and divinely fragrant in bloom), and year round fruit bearing. Artichokes, Asparagus, Grapes and Sunchokes are others I also use ornamentally.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:25AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

I feel there is an uptick in the request for more edibles in the landscape and the creation of a whole separate edible garden room .

It is pretty darn easy to design edibles into a garden when you live in a Mediterraean climate . Citrus, Olives and Pineapple guavas grow so well here and make great low maintenance / low water use hedges, trees and accent plants.
Herbs such as rosemary, lavender and chives are commonly seen used in city street median strips, they grow so effortlessly.

I've been enjoying all the new citrus introductions that 4 Winds and Monterey Bay Nurseries have been bringing to the trade. I've even used a few of these new introductions in a commercial landscape installation.

The request for raised beds for vegetable gardening seems to be on the rise too.
From Sonoma - Freudbrgr

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:43AM
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