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MASTER GARDENER COLUMN: Adding edibles to your landscape

Winter months are a great time to plan your garden and landscape space for the coming season.

Have you considered adding edibles to your landscape?

Cynthia Housel

Many of us want to lead a healthier lifestyle and we also want to know where our food comes from. Why not get them from right outside your front door?

There are many advantages to adding edibles to your landscape. It reduces your food cost and reduces your dependence on over-processed, mass-produced food. Fresh fruits and vegetables always taste better.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables allows you to control the pesticides and additives in your food. This also contributes to a healthier environment and lifestyle.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables also gives you the opportunity to try new varieties that may not be found at the local market.

Winter months are a great time to look around your landscape and plan where to add edibles.

Fruit trees are a great alternative to flowering ornamentals; some require more care than others so choose wisely.

Elderberry fruit has many healing properties. The fruit can also be made into jellies, jams or pies. Fig trees have an interesting shape and texture. They can be pruned to adapt to a smaller space.

In North Carolina, the late fall and early winter is the best time to plant fruit and nut trees. Be mindful of sun and shade when the trees leaf out.

Blueberry bushes are a great early-blooming shrub. Strawberries can be planted as a ground cover.

Vegetables add color and variety to the landscape. Kale, swiss chard and other members of the Brassica family would be a colorful addition to a garden bed.

Herbs are a great addition and are often low maintenance. Most herbs including oregano, rosemary and basil can be grown in pots on a patio.

Blackberry, Loganberry or raspberries can provide a beautiful hedge to control traffic flow in select areas. There are thornless varieties available.

Anyone can add edibles to their landscape no matter the size space they have. Start small and add something new each year.

Get the family involved. Let the kids grow their favorite vegetable. Imagine stepping out your front door to gather fresh tomatoes, basil and oregano for your homemade pizza.

References:
https://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/2015/11/edible-landscaping
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/extension-gardener-handbook

Cynthia Housel likes to grow veggies and flowers in her small space in Stanfield.