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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

Creating an Inland Edible Landscape

Simple changes for beautiful flavor!

General Description: Frugality, self-sufficiency, or a gourmet palette are only some of the reasons to consider gradually a transitioning from a traditional to an edible landscape. One does not need to rip out and till the lawn into a corn field in order to enjoy the bounty of a garden. Simple changes to the home landscape can add flavor, color and variety to meals with little extra work.

Soil: The key to landscaping with edibles is to plant according to your landscape. A soil test is indispensible prior to starting, allowing you to properly supplement soil that may be severely out of balance after years of nurturing perennial ornamentals.

Light: There are edible plants suited to nearly any part of the landscape that you wish to replace with edibles. Consider strawberries and raspberries in partially shaded foundation planters, and use fruit trees as shade trees.

Fertilizing: There is no reason to abandon your current method of feeding landscape plants. While it is not difficult to transition to organic practices, there are a wide variety of time released inorganic fertilizers available allowing your landscape to remain as maintenance free as before; If you want good results with absolute minimal effort use a time released balanced fertilizer with identical numbers (ie, 15-15-15).

Maintenance: Weeding is important, particularly in areas previously occupied Decorative mulches help reduce weeds and conserve water.

Pests and Diseases: Effective weeding, mulching and proper fertilization can do much to stave off damage by pests, however, plants can be affected by a wide range of pests from aphids to gophers. A gradual transition from established ornamentals to edible landscape plants is a good way to avoid infestations.

Favorite Plant Picks:

  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) Interplant in strawberries for beautiful blooms and foliage, or amongst brassicas as a pest repellent and lure crop Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) Day Neutral varieties produce fruit all summer long)
  • Grape (Vitis vinifera) Can easily be pruned and trained as a climbing accent)
  • Apple (Malus domestica) Columnar varieties can easily be container grown
  • Pear (Pyrus communis)

References: Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy. 1982 How to make a Forest Garden, Patrick Whitefield. 2002 Edible Plants and Flowers from Your Garden, Barbara Fahs, http://www.gardenguides.com/604-edible-plants-flowers-garden.html Submitted by Master Gardener Sean Spicer, 2010.