Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Edible Landscaping and Me

Barren, neglected flower beds

Flower bed now planted with strawberries and perennials like sage, lavender and sedum

Since moving into a new house, there has been lots to learn and do, especially relating to landscaping and yard care. I have had my battles with poor drainage, an over-zealous sprinkler system, common knotweed and stinging nettle, slugs/snails, and I have learned a lot already.

I've been eagerly researching information on edible landscaping, raised bed gardening, and which plants grow well in my climate and neighborhood. (US Zone 9, Sunset zone 14, and what appears to be silty soil on top of clay - not ideal but pure clay would be worse). My goal: Low-maintenance perennials that will attract pollinators, and as many edible trees/plants/shrubs as I can squeeze onto our property.

I have already written about the unproductive orange tree which came with the property. I decided that I'll give it a year and if it doesn't shape up under proper care, I'll replace it with something that does produce fruit. Since moving in, I have planted the following edibles in our yard: Lemon balm, Lemon verbena, sage, strawberries, rhubarb, chives, leeks, lemongrass and dwarf Meyer Lemon and Kaffir Lime trees (in pots).

Since we haven't constructed our raised beds yet, I also still have many herbs and my fall crops planted in containers as well: Watermelon Radishes, kale, beets, winter greens, more leeks, and parsnips.

Later this fall, I am going to plant a Persimmon and Black Jack fig tree, more rhubarb, Baba red raspberries (in a raised bed), and container blueberries. By next spring, we should have our raised beds ready for spring planting. I'm going to attempt to start everything I plant from seeds next year. Ultimately, I hope to phase out most of the lawn and replace it with productive, beautiful edibles.

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