While you may have heard about "edible landscaping," do you know exactly what it means?
Edible landscaping is replacing ornamental plants with plants you can actually eat, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and edible flowers.
Although edible landscaping has gained popularity in recent years, it’s not a new practice. In fact, many gardens throughout history included both ornamental and edible plants (for example, ancient Persian gardens and 19th century English suburban yards).
Benefits of Edible Landscapes
- Gives you increased food security because you know where your food is coming from
- Provides convenience
- Rather than purchasing edibles, growing them at home can save you money
- Maintaining an edible landscape can also be a good source of fun, recreation, and exercise
- Protects the environment and reduces energy inputs
Edible Landscape Design & Management Tips
- Plan your design before you start growing anything.
- Take the plants’ needs, such as location and season, into consideration. (For example, it’s a good idea to place an edible landscape in sunny places with well-drained soil to accommodate plants.)
- Even people who have small yards or who live in apartments can enjoy edible landscaping—grow potted herbs on the patio or plant vegetables in a window box.
- Be sure to prune, fertilize, and water your food-producing plants, and don't forget about pest control.
- Once you’ve designed and planted, it’s time to harvest your edible produce.
- Keep an eye on your crops daily or weekly to prevent fruit from dropping from trees and to avoid rotten produce.
Although edible crops may require more work than ornamental ones, you don’t want this fun and rewarding hobby to become a chore. Start off small and add more plants when you feel comfortable doing so.
Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office for more information on starting and maintaining your own edible garden.