Edible Landscapes

Integrating edible plants within your landscape

With shrinking acreage and larger house footprints, growing food in one’s own yard is becoming a larger challenge. Integrating logical choices of food-producing plants in place of select ornamental bushes can appease both neighbors and your family’s grocery bill. “Food not lawns” is not a novel concept, but something long-utilized in other parts of the world.

Adding an edible landscape is easy with these starting points!

 

1. Plant 2 or 3 Blueberry Bushes

As a bush that once natively thrived in New England, cultivated blueberry species are an great choice to swap out ornamental full sun plants. Blueberries flower in the spring, provide nectar to native bee species, produce fruit for yourself (or birds), and have a gorgeous show of color in the Fall. As a bonus, they do well in damp and acidic soils, which are often a landscaping challenge. Remember to plant 2 different varieties for cross pollination to get fruit.

2. Plant Raspberries Along Tree Lines

Taking a lesson both from nature and permaculture, raspberries can do well in dappled to full sun. Utilize the canopy of foundation plantings by planting raspberries just on the edge of their understory to fill space and create an edible shrub or hedgerow.

3. Try a Fig Tree in a Pot 

Yes, you CAN grow fig trees here in New England! There are both cold hardy varieties that die back to the ground in winter and grow back in the spring, or, most commonly in New England: you can put in a large pot (10 gallons or larger) and over-winter in an unheated garage. Fig trees can be pruned to stay small and compact, making them a great choice for small spaces. They like full sun and are heavy feeders, making Coast of Maine Grower’s Mix the right choice for high performance. While fig trees are self-fertile, homeowners need caution — sourcing and collecting the many different varieties can become addicting!

4. Mix Vegetables in with your foundation plantings

Make your spaces more dense by adding a zucchini or rhubarb plant in your flowering beds, or cabbage among shrubs. Consequently, the thicker planting will crowd out weeds, minimizing your need for heavy mulching and continued maintenance. In addition, by keeping food close to the house, it will translate to seeing the food and using it more often.

5. Use strawberries as a ground cover or in a planter

If space is particularly limited, try adding ever-bearing strawberries as a full sun ground cover. Though gardener be aware, you may need to share your berries with animals. If you’re concerned, try June bearing strawberries in a mixed container of annuals, or in a hanging basket as your spiller!

6. Move Any Vegetable or Culinary Herb to a Container on your patio

We all know the experience of buying a pack of rosemary only to use 2-3 sprigs and toss out the rest. In this situation, find pretty pottery for your patio and plant your favorite 3 herbs, thus allowing you to harvest only what you need at any time. At the end of the season, cut and dry the herbs for continued enjoyment through the Fall and Winter.

7. Replace your Invasive Bradford Pear with a Fruit Tree (dwarf or semi-dwarf)

Bradford Pears were a landscaping go-to that turned into an ecological disaster. Initially selected for their fast growth habit, they’ve been found to form thick groves that inhibit native tree species.

In view of this, swap your Invasive Bradford Pear for something that fruits. Your selection can serve triple duty: it flowers, is functional, and also adds ecological value. Try an Anjou Pear, Peach, or Apple tree. Or, if you’re limited for space – ask our team to help you acquire a dwarf or l’espalier tree.


2024 Organic and Standard Vegetables, Herbs and Edible Landscape Ideas


Organic Herbs
Catnip
Chervil
Chives
Coriander
Lavender
(Green) Oregano
Parsley
Sage
Santolina
Spearmint
Summer Savory
Tarragon
Thyme

Standard Herbs:
Basil
Cilantro
Curled Parsley
Curry
Dill
Lemongrass
Mint
(Greek and Italian) Oregano
Parsley

Organic Vegetables:

Tomatoes

  • Better Boy
  • Big Boy
  • Black Cherry
  • Brandywine
  • Celebrity
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Early Girl Bush
  • Early Girl Blush
  • Indigo Cherry
  • Sungold
  • Sweet One Million

Peppers

  • Bastan Poblano
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Ghost Chili
  • Goddess Banana Pepper
  • Jupiter
  • Sweet Chocolate
  • Sweet Lunchbox
  • Thai Hot

Standard Vegetables

Tomatoes

  • Beefsteak
  • Better Boy
  • Big Boy
  • Jersey
  • Sweet 100
  • Sungold
  • Yellow Pear

Lettuces

  • Buttercrunch
  • Iceberg
  • Mesclun Blend
  • Spinach

Peppers

  • Valencia Orange

Others

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • (Bush Pickle) Cucumbers
  • (Black Beauty) Eggplant
  • (White/Yellow) Onions
  • (Zephyr) Squash

Edible Landscape Plants

Blueberries (Remember to plant 2 varieties for cross pollination and fruit)

  • Bluecrop
  • Bonus
  • Chandler (Berries the size of Quarters!)
  • Duke
  • Patriot
  • Pink Lemonade

Fig (Self-fertile)

  • Black Jack
  • Black Mission
  • Chicago Hardy
  • Corkey Honey Delight

Raspberries

  • Anne Yellow
  • Caroline
  • Nantahal
  • Raspberry Shortcake

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