I’ve written a lot about how to get the most out of your garden, and for most people, that garden is a little spot in the back yard that they’ve set aside for growing a few vegetables.
Others may have a fruit tree or two in their yard so they can get the occasional apple, peach or cherry. That’s convenient, and the garden can help add a bit of food to your dinner table.
Other people, however, take their gardening a bit more seriously, to the point where everything that grows in their yard is edible. This is a relatively new phenomenon known as “foodscaping.” That is, it’s landscaping with food.
The idea has been around for a while, but it took off during the recession of 2008 when a lot of people decided that they could save money during hard times by growing more of the food that they eat instead of buying it at the grocery store.
Also known by the less cute name of “yard farming,” foodscaping remains a popular pastime. Some people have completely replaced their entire lawns with various plants, such as barley or lambsquarter.
There are some definite advantages to foodscaping:
- You don’t have to worry about pesticides or herbicides; you know what your plants have been exposed to.
- You can grow more of foods that you like.
- You can grow foods that are often expensive to purchase.
- You can provide a good learning experience for your children.
Keep in mind that foodscaping isn’t as simple as ripping out your lawn and hedges and planting corn. There are a few things that you need to consider before getting started with yard farming:
- Decide what types of food you would like to grow in your yard.
- Find out whether it’s possible to grow those particular plants where you live. Not everything grows everywhere, so you may not be able to grow avocados if you live in Minnesota, for instance.
- Pay attention to how these plants will look. You are still landscaping, and the appearance of the plants is important. Some plants are very colorful and others are not. Some have flowers or colorful fruit, and others do not. Some plants are small, others are tall, and still others produce trees.
Ideally, you should talk to someone at your local nursery about your plans to foodscape your yard. What you want to do is create an attractive landscape that makes your yard look nice. In addition to this, you’d like to use plants for this landscaping that produce edible fruits or vegetables. Designing a properly foodscaped yard is not something you can do overnight.
You can, however, do it with a bit of planning, and fortunately, once you get it set up, maintaining it year after year is a much simpler task than the initial construction. If you do it correctly, you should have a beautiful, colorful yard that will catch the eyes of your neighbors while not drawing undue attention as an eyesore.
Sometimes the distinction is a fine one, but with a bit of planning, you can likely come up with something that looks great and tastes good, too.