Monday, March 31, 2014

Adding Ornamental Edibles to Your Landscape

The beautiful fall orange color of a blackberry cane is decidedly ornamental.

I have always had an eye toward growing my own food.  Maybe it is because my dad is a farmer.  I know where food comes from; someone has to grow it.  Maybe it is because I live in a food desert of a sort; because I live in an agricultural area, unless you grow it, it is terribly expensive, or not to be had unless you find something that is damaged falling off a truck.  Maybe I am just too cheap to buy it because I can grow it.

The decorative aspect of the savoy type cabbage which was grown in a large pot along with a canna and crocosimia  (non-edibles) is hard to deny.  As I only eat a cabbage or two a year, growing a couple in a pot is ideal.
I don't know, but I have always tried to incorporate as many edibles into my landscape as possible.
Hazelnuts are the only nuts I grow, because they are shrubs, they fit into my small yard; and because they are NOT walnuts, which would kill everything else.

Four hazelnuts held in a clump, the result of good pollination provided by neighboring honey bees.
I have chosen fruiting trees when looking for smaller trees suitable to my small yard, and chosen scions on dwarfing root stock, too.  My 'Honeycrisp' apple tops out at just 8' tall, yet supplied enough apples for all the sauce, juice, and fresh eating not only I, but my brother's family can consume.

I have recently embarked on growing my vegetables in a bigger way with the advent of the "family garden" at my brother's house.  Having this space which was pretty much mine to plant with the assistance of my gardening nephews, has made me less anxious about growing vegetables in my own space.

This new gardening season there is much up in the air.  My brother wants to sell his house.  My accident has left me a bit less than able.

Can I use a shovel or a hoe?  I really don't know.  Probably the hoe, a shovel in dry ground, that may be an impossibility, at least this year.  Dragging my watering hose, I have a feeling, when I am dragging part of my body, too will be ultimately too frustrating.  I am going to have to think carefully how I will get water to any outliers.   So not only does my gardening need to be edible, but my gardening style will need to be more adaptive, too.

Given I am probably growing for one, growing in containers seems the way to grow my edibles this year.  Looking over the possibilities for container culture, I find the possibilities have expanded greatly over the last couple years and are well worth another look if you haven't looked over some of these offerings lately.  There are bush varieties of many squash and cucumbers, both which can eat up the space when grown on the vine unless trellised.

I have decided on a cinnamon basil and a flat-leaved parsley, both which I have sown in a flat and are now quietly growing under lights.  The cinnamon basil with its dark purple stem and flower will be quite the accent plant while providing basil, too. They will hold down some real estate in the ornamental long border.  Last fall before my fall, I had laid out and stacked brick across the bottom of the potager.  The intent was to made a cold frame which could be covered with shade cloth and would be a prime space to grow young greens, harden off transplants and keep cabbage moths from my cole crops through the summer. 

I have been having a hard time finding the best onion for this area.  The sets sold in early spring seem not to do especially well here.  The last couple years, I have noticed the truck farmers have been selling good-sized Alisa Craigs.  This year, I have started some from seed, to transplant as soon as the ground can be worked.  Some of the first will go into a pot on my deck with my earliest greens.

I have also started my peppers, from seed saved from 'California Wonder'.  It has grown the best here for two years now.  In 2012, I bought seed.  In the cool summer of 2013, the saved seed from this F1 hybrid did exceedingly well here.  I have found saved seed from my peppers seems to germinate more readily than purchased seed (which is exceedingly expensive at 50 cents a seed, only half which germinate).  The peppers I get from this OP F1 hybrid seed seem at no disadvantage.  I am also growing seed saved from the 'Yum' peppers, and 'Sheepnose' pimentos. 

Having sold my pick-up truck, which I had no hopes of being able to ascend into the cab, and typically parked on the lawn at the back of my yard, I find I have more space there to expand a bit of an existing bed.  This bed often grew carrots or potatoes, but with less shade from the shadow of the truck it may hold edamame and peppers this year.

Pictures of the seedlings and a complete listing of my edible garden selections in future posts.  Today, however,  with morning temperatures in the upper 50s (F), it may be my first day I can attempt to walk in my garden.  It has just a scant five days less than six months since I last did so.  What surprises await?

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to hear what you saw! Spring is such an affirmation of life.