You paid a pro to landscape your yard, and you love the way it looks, but now you want to add some edibles. The good news is you don’t have to say goodbye to that well-designed look. Here are five subtle but aesthetically pleasing ways to work edibles into your landscape:
- Plant a grapevine in a large attractive container filled with good quality potting mix and train it to grow on a trellis attached to a wooden privacy fence. The vine will need regular water, slow-release fertilizer, and 4 to 6 hours of sun. A certified nursery professional can tell you which grape varieties will grow best in your part of the state.
- Plant a peach, pear, or apple tree at the sunny end of a perennial border that contains winter and spring bloomers and winter blooming annuals. After the fruit is harvested and the tree has dropped its leaves, the winter sun shining through the bare limbs will help the flowers around the base of the tree strut their stuff.
- In late February, or anytime during a mild winter, plant small drifts of leafy lettuces, spicy purple mustard, and curly kale anywhere you find a bare sunny spot. In early spring, carve out space in front of a grouping of shrubs or a large agave and plant red Swiss chard transplants (depending on your existing landscape palette, you might want to choose yellow or orange chard). Arrange the plants in a pleasing pattern and space them 8 to 10 inches apart. To harvest, pick leaves as needed for cooking, but don’t pull out the whole plant. Winter greens and lettuces continue to produce new leaves as long as their growing tips and roots are left undisturbed.
- Fill a galvanized metal tub with a good potting mix and slow-release fertilizer and plant a mix of purple mustard greens and green kale. Using a hammer and nail, make holes around the base of the tub for drainage. Set the tub of greens on a sunny south-facing porch or patio and be prepared to smile and nod to passersby who ooh and ahh at the sight of your colorful and multi-textured display of greens.
- In a sunny side yard, install a metal or wooden trellis (4 ft. by 6 ft. works well) or small arbor and plant runner beans or vining lima beans. Keep seeds evenly moist until they germinate and sprout. Water regularly through the growing season, and pick beans often so they will keep blooming and producing. In most parts of the state, beans can be planted in early fall and again in spring as soon as the soil warms. A vining bean in bloom is a lovely sight, but most folks would probably agree that it’s not nearly as lovely as a Mandevilla vine in bloom. The bean, however, is the winner in the good eating department.