Do you wish you could get more food, herbs, and edible flowers out of your yard and take your survival strategy to new levels? Instead of planting flowers and colorful plants solely for the aesthetics, you could indulge in edible landscaping. Learn what edible gardening is all about, how it can complement your survival garden, and how to get started.
What Is Edible Landscaping?
Edible landscaping relies on vegetable and fruit-producing plants, herbs, and edible flowers to add some color and design prowess to your yard. You can get as creative and over-the-top with it as you want, or you can focus on drilling down to the basics.
However you approach it, edible landscaping is nothing new. The practice has been around for centuries when monks lined their gardens with herbs alongside their ornamental roses. But the term "edible landscaping" broke into the mainstream when landscape designer Robert Kourik coined the phrase in the 1980s.
Pros and Cons of Edible Landscapes
There are plenty of pros to edible landscaping, starting with maximizing your food source. When you run out of space in your survival garden, you open up new possibilities to grow what you need for a more sustainable food source. If you're especially drawn to the aesthetics of an edible landscape, you can also use your go-to crops, from cabbage to broccoli to design an edible, ornamental garden around it.
There are some downsides to edible landscapes. If you're focused on using specific fruits and vegetables that are full of color, you may experience some challenges. For example, blueberries need particular soil conditions with plenty of acidity and will require patience and soil amendments to get them growing.
Like anything you grow in your gardens, you'll also need to consider common pest problems and diseases. Another downside to edible landscaping is the mess it can make from curious pests and weeds.
Picking the Right Herbs and Plants for Edible Landscaping
Just like your survival garden, your edible landscape also needs a plan and strategy for a successful yield. Unless you're a pro and love a good challenge, you should start slow and simple. Try juicy and delicious strawberries for a sturdy ground cover that spreads quickly. They’ll need some maintenance and trimming, but strawberries make a dazzling addition to your landscape and your dinner plate.
If you have a forest garden, you're probably already growing figs, cherry trees, and other perennials. Of course, growing fruit trees is a long game and will take time to yield results, but it is worth the effort.
Think about what already grows native in your area or hardiness zone and boasts color and flavor. Peppers, tomatoes, chives, and eggplant all make for eye-catching landscaping. You can plant herbs, onions, and beans, to name a few ideas.
Use More Edible Flowers
If you're not accustomed to eating colorful flowers, it's easy to forget that they make a great addition to your survival garden or edible landscape. Many flowers make a great-tasting garnish to dishes, flavor enhancement to salads and desserts, an edible ornament for cakes, or serve medicinal purposes. However, it's essential to make sure you know the plant is edible and safe for consumption before adding them to your must-grow list.
Here are a few edible flowers we sell in our seed and seed vault kits:
- Cosmos - these colorful flowers add a garnish to your dishes
- Sunflowers - voracious climbers, sunflowers grow high, and the seeds taste amazing as a snack or garnish
- Camomile - use these lovely flowers in tea to help ease an upset stomach or add to your homemade skin care products
- Echinacea - often used as a painkiller and is thought to alleviate stomach aches, headaches, sore throats, and the common cold.
- Yarrow - this bright yellow flower is often used as a fever reducer to reduce skin rashes and itching and can be used to flavor a dish
Choose a Location for Your Edible Landscaping
There are a few ways to approach your edible landscape design, from small and tidy to opulent. You can start small with areas on the side of your house that are just sitting empty and prime for some edible landscaping. Or you can transform your entire front yard into rows of colorful cabbages, flowers, vegetables, and fruits.
You can also pick several areas to expand your edible landscape, but consider whether or not you want your efforts to look cohesive. If you want everything to look uniform or complement each other, you'll need to consider the colors, height, and purpose of each plant or flower before expanding your edible landscape.
Create Your Edible Landscape Design
Once you've determined what you want to plant and where you have space, think through your design. For example, tomatoes are voracious climbers that do well growing up a trellis or garden wall. You can also combine colors and make going vertical part of your design.
If you're especially fond of garden design, you can also get visual and create a landscaping map to create patterns and experiment with different heights. But it can also be simple without reinventing the wheel. Consider where your existing grass and landscaping start and any gaps in your yard. Try planting edible flowers, chives, and other plants alongside the existing landscaping in your yard to enhance its beauty.
How to Keep Pests Out of Your Edible Landscape
Just like your survival garden, an edible landscape is also susceptible to pests. However, it's vital to skip pesticides and other harmful chemicals to protect the health of your garden and your own well-being. Instead, start by installing bat houses that feed on mosquitoes, moths, beetles, crickets, and leafhoppers. Bats are also surprisingly good pollinators and will help spread the love around your property.
Of course, bushes aren't the only pests threatening your edible landscape. Deer, dogs, raccoons, and other animals will likely come and graze on your tasty landscaping. One option is a Solar Powered Ultrasonic Pest Repeller lights up and emits irritating sound waves to keep animals away from your landscape.
Need more ideas? Learn more about controlling pests and planting pest-resistant varieties.
Remember to Strategize for Survival
Make sure to strategize for the big picture if your edible landscaping goal is to maximize your survival strategies. For example, if you can't get enough sun in your survival garden to grow the pepper or melons you want, add them to your edible landscaping instead. Or, if your garden already teems with greens and roots vegetables, consider edible flowers or fruits to dress up your landscaping and create a plentiful food source.
Your edible landscape can still look amazing; just make sure it supports the sustainable lifestyle you're looking for.
If you’re ready to maximize your property and grow more food, expand your survival gardening efforts to include edible landscaping. You’ll bring more flavor, nutrition, and design to your property. Shop now for our survival seed kits, flowers, and more to help your gardens flourish.