|One of the best methods of edible landscaping is to incorporate food producing plants right in with other landscaping in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. That's the advice of Mark Bernskoetter, president of the University of Missouri Extension's Master Gardeners of Greene County.
"It can be like having a fruit and vegetable garden throughout your entire yard instead of consigning it to a single section," Bernskoetter said. "Anything that you would normally like to plant for food can be placed around the yard in edible gardens instead of creating special vegetable or herb gardens or a berry patch or an orchard."
Among his suggestions are:
- Raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries and blueberries that are extremely popular shrubs that grow easily and are very fruitful
- Red currants that have deep green leaves and rich red berries
- Grape arbors that are a source of shade for a seating area because they grow fast and sprout delicious grapes at an incredible pace.
- Fruit trees from pears to apples to cherries that come in dwarf varieties taking us less space in the yard
- Strawberries that can be used as a groundcover
- Herbs, like onions and chives that work well in the landscape
"I have seen vegetables used, too. For example, a row of leaf lettuce to outline a flower bed, zucchini used as a ground cover under a taller plant, tomatoes--especially cherry tomatoes--and potatoes planted in a perennial bed," said Bernskoetter. And he considers chard or peppers especially ornamental because of their many colors.
The available space and the soil types are considerations for what plant to use in the landscaping.
Bernskoetter says it is also important to consider common pests and diseases for any edible plants considered for a home landscape.
"An advantage to spreading them out over the landscape is that generally, diseases and pests are less of a nuisance that way than when the plants were all grouped together into one garden spot," said Bernskoetter.
Edible landscaping will likely require a little more maintenance than the more common landscape plants for them to produce well.
"Just remember, you are getting more out of these plants than just good looks," said Bernskoetter.
Some resource information about edible landscaping, complete with a sample plan can be found here and here.