The Beautiful Edible Garden - Excerpt

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  • 7/30/2019 The Beautiful Edible Garden - Excerpt


  • 7/30/2019 The Beautiful Edible Garden - Excerpt

  • 7/30/2019 The Beautiful Edible Garden - Excerpt



    leslie bennett d stefani bittner

    Photography by David Fenton and Jill Rizzo

    Floral Arrangements by Studio Choo

    Design a Stylish Outdoor Space

    Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs



    The Beautiful

    Edible Garden

  • 7/30/2019 The Beautiful Edible Garden - Excerpt



    Introduction vi

    ONE Principles for Successful Edible Garden Design 1

    TwO Creating Your Beautiful Edible Garden 35

    ThREE The Beautiful Edible Front Yard 67

    FOuR The Beautiful Edible Backyard 103

    FivE Beautiful Edible Containers, Window Boxes,

    Side Yards, and Other Small Spaces 149

    Six Planting and Maintaining Your Beautiful Edible Garden 173

    Resources 200

    Acknowledgments 205

    About the Authors and Contributors 207

    Index 208

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    48 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    In general, edible gardens are not low-water endeavors. Even so, you

    can still be waterwise. In many parts o the country, water is a limited

    resource. Even in regions where there is typically plenty o water it makes

    sense to plan or a uture in which we are all being more careul with our

    shared resources. Well talk about efcient watering systems and practices

    more in chapter six, but or now, know that one o the more important

    things you can do to be waterwise as you design your garden is to install an

    irrigation system that has the capacity to direct dierent amounts o water

    to dierent types o plants. Then you can group plants with similar water

    needs on the same water station or valve on your irrigation system. This

    way you are not over- or under-watering individual plants and, ultimately,

    wasting resources, time, and energy.

    Lower-water edible plants do exist and are great additions to yourgarden. Many o the edible lower-water plants that you can use in the

    landscape are native to the Mediterranean, Caliornia, Australia, South

    Arica, and the Middle East.

    here are a ew o our avorite lower-water edible:apricot artichoke culinary sweet bay caper cardoon fg grapes lavender loquat olive oregano pineapple guava pomegranate rosemary sage thyme

    Five Steps or Creating a Beautiul Edible Garden

    Ater youve assessed soil, ood saety, light, and water conditions, youre

    ready to start creating your garden. To achieve a space that is both beautiul

    and productive, plan your garden layout methodically. This way you can add

    elements to your garden purposeully and meet your goal o creating a gar-

    den that really works or you. The step-by-step process that ollows is meantto be an introduction to the planning process; in later chapters, well explain

    how to apply these steps to specic garden spaces.

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    50 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    Step One: Arrange Permanent Elements

    The location o permanent garden elements such as patios, sitting areas,

    pathways, encing, planting beds, and lawns should be decided rst. Once

    you have determined how you want to arrange them, they will be the con-

    stant, unchanging parts o your

    garden space and the oundation

    o your gardens utility and style.

    These permanent elements

    will dene the space and how you

    move around in it. They are also

    usually heavy and more expensive

    than plants, and, i you move themaround ater plants are already

    growing in your garden, youll risk

    damaging or killing your plants.

    For all these reasons, its important

    to place everything in the right

    spot rom the start, so make sure

    you are pleased with how they t

    into and support your overall gar-den style and ood-growing goals

    beore moving on to other steps in

    your garden design process.


    These are the garden spaces where your plants will grow. Planting beds are

    dened and contained by hardscaping materials and pathways. We reer

    to planting beds as ornamental, mixed ornamental and edible, and annual

    vegetable, with each describing the type o planting ound within the plant-

    ing bed. I you have the luxury o starting rom scratch, the rst permanent

    elements to place are your planting beds. I you are working with an exist-

    ing layout, make any decisions about adding or modiying planting beds

    your rst step.

    Garden gate with mature olive tree andpollinator-attracting nepeta.

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    Creating Your Beautiul Edible Garden 51

    Left: This annual-vegetable bed, planted with chard and kale, is built of locally quarriedstone with similarly warm-toned decomposed granite pathways surrounding it.

    Right: This charming, rustic pathway leads to a tucked-away blueberry grove. Nasturtium,groundcover chamomile, golden marjoram, Tricolor and Berggarten sage, mint, andlavender provide fragrance and easy harvesting along the way.

    Patios and Pathways

    Patios and pathways dene the garden, creating diferent destinations

    and leading you to them. I you are starting rom scratch, think about

    how many people may be using the patios and pathways, what purpose

    they each serve, and what material youd like to use. A patio can be a com-

    munal gathering space or secluded destination. A pathway can take you to

    a patio, garden bench, or garden gateor can even just be a circular path

    with a dened start and nish. Choose one pathway material through-

    out, then either continue it as a basis or your patio or select a diferent

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    52 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    material that complements the rst. This will give your garden an overall

    cohesive look.

    Patios and pathways can be made out o a variety o materials, but it is

    best to use permeable suraces in the garden so that rain and other watercan inltrate through the surace to the soil below. This way, you can keep

    water on-site instead o having it run o into storm drains. Your ruit trees

    and other deep-rooted plants can access this groundwater, reducing your

    need or irrigation. For these reasons, permeable options such as gravel,

    decomposed granite, and pavers with unmortared spaces between them are

    usually better choices than concrete. Use gravel or pavers or main access

    pathways because they drain more quickly and will not get mucky during

    winter rains. Groundcover herbs are oten grown in the spaces between

    pathway pavers. Although this looks great and we encourage you to plant

    LEFT: Line simple pathways with groundcover chamomile, variegated lemon thyme, andcreeping thyme.

    RighT: Pathways between annual-vegetable beds provide the space to maintain andharvest rom your garden.

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    Creating Your Beautiul Edible Garden 53

    them here, its best to cook with herbs harvested rom your plantings beds,

    which are less likely to be contaminated by oot trafc, and reserve the herbs

    planted in your pathway or decorative and pollinator-attracting purposes.

    You need a way to get rom point A to point B in your garden withouttromping all over your reshly turned soil and delicate plants. Ideally, main

    pathways should be about three eet wide, a comortable size or a wheel

    barrel and strolling side by side with a riend. A secondary pathway through

    a planting bed can be as simple as a piece o stone or brick to step on. Make

    secondary paths a minimum o eighteen inches wide. In a perennial planting

    area, youll be using the secondary pathway to pick owers, ruits, and ber-

    ries, and also to ertilize and mulch. Annual-vegetable planting beds require

    more requent access to harvest, plant, ertilize, and turn your soil. So, while

    an eighteen-inch pathway is ne between your vegetable beds, youll need to

    have a wider main pathway nearby so that you can use your wheelbarrow to

    bring resh compost to your beds a couple o times each year.


    Deciding whether or not to grow a lawn in your garden is an important

    decision. Lawns take up a lot o sunny space that could otherwise be used

    or growing ood; most traditional lawn grasses are water-thirsty, and many

    require a lot o ertilizer and herbicide to stay green and lush.There are ways to reconceptualize your lawn as a more productive space.

    First, consider how large your lawn really needs to be. A straightorward

    option or gaining more edible space is to simply reduce the size o your lawn.

    I you expand the planting beds that border it, you can cultivate them with

    edibles and pollinator-attracting perennials. When growing edibles along-

    side a lawn area, it is important to switch your lawn care to organic methods

    so as not to introduce toxic chemicals into the ood you will be eating.

    There are also alternatives to a traditional lawn that still provide an

    open look and space or amily recreation. New eco and no-mow lawn

    options require less water, less gas-powered mowing energy, and ewer er-

    tilizers. Or, consider a lawn o low-growing herbs, such as Roman chamo-

    mile, groundcover yarrow, or thyme. All o these attract pollinators such as

    bees, so they are not good choices or a recreational lawn, especially i you

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    54 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    have young kids running around bareoot. However, i the lawn is more

    or visual impact, these herb alternatives are a great way to achieve an openlook while also creating more habitat or benecial insects and increasing

    the productivity o your garden.

    Step Two: Establish Focal Points

    Once you have arranged the permanent elements o your garden, the next

    step is to establish your ocal points. Focal points are where the eye comes

    to rest in a garden. They help give a garden direction and energy. You havemany options to choose rom: a place to sit, a ountain, a piece o garden

    art, a single special specimen plant or tree, a central planting bedor

    even a vegetable garden. The key, however, is that your ocal point must be

    something permanent that is special or beautiul. When deciding on your

    gardens ocal point, think about what you love and then arrange the rest

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    56 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    This persimmon tree, covered with chartreuse-colored spring leaves, stands out amongthe evergreen Tuscan Blue rosemary hedging. The tree is a ocal point in this relaxedhillside garden.

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    Creating Your Beautiul Edible Garden 57

    o your design to highlight it. You can do this by making a pathway lead to

    your ocal point, encircling it with low-growing plants, or giving it a back-

    ground o monochromatic plants so that it stands out. Focal points draw

    the eye by being a dierent material, color, or height than their surround-ing environment.

    Focal points should be in proportion to the scale o the garden and

    reective o your chosen garden style. The larger your garden, the larger your

    ocal point or points can be. You can also use ocal points to enhance the

    sense o space in your garden. For example, in smaller gardens, a ocal point

    toward the end o the gardens longest viewrather than right in the center

    o the gardenwill create a more spacious eeling. Whatever you select, a

    ocal point denes the character o the space and gives everything else in the

    garden a reerence point.

    Step Three: PositionAnchor Plants

    Along with your permanent hard-

    scaping elements, anchor plant-

    ings are the structural ramework

    upon which the rest o yourgarden is based. These anchors

    will dene your garden through

    the seasons. Even in winter, when

    deciduous plants lose their leaves

    and patio urniture is put away,

    there should be strong elements in

    place that provide visual interest

    and that maintain the basic lines

    and ow o your garden.

    Evergreen pineapple guava, blueberry,and ornamental blue oat grass worktogether to anchor this traditional rontyard border planting.

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    58 The Beautiful Edible Garden

    Use perennial plants as your anchors. They should be evergreen or, i

    they are deciduous, they should provide another element like height or strong

    branch structure. Many ruit trees work well or this purpose. Screening

    and hedging plants are oten used or privacy, but their evergreen oliagecan also serve as an anchor in your overall garden design.

    Step Four: Add Plants or Beauty and Production

    Ater you have nished placing the permanent elements and anchor plants

    in your garden, you are ready to choose additional plants that are beautiul

    and productive. These plants include perennial edibles (like rhubarb, arti-

    choke, asparagus, lemongrass, and berries), annual vegetables (like peppers,

    eggplants, chard, onions, and celery), herbs, and owers that you will add to

    the remaining spaces in your planting beds.

    Just as your edible plants work or you, pollinator-attracting plants

    work or your edibles by providing a habitat or the pollinators and ben-

    ecial insects that your edible garden needs. Pollination is what happens

    when pollen is transerred rom a plants male parts to its emale parts.

    Without it, the development o new seeds and ruit wouldnt happen. The

    most eective way or pollen to move around rom ower to ower is when

    it is carried by insects, also called pollinators. Pollinators include bees, but-teries, beetles, ants, and sometimes also birds. Even plants that can rely on

    the wind to distribute pollen will increase production signicantly when

    they have support rom visiting pollinators.

    A healthy garden also needs a whole host o benecial insects to help

    ght o unwanted garden pests. Benecial insect is a general term that

    includes the above pollinators and also insects that prey on garden pests

    like aphids or mites. These pest-killers include ladybugs, green lacewings,

    praying mantis, assassin bugs, and some ies and wasps. Because this rangeo insects help keep each others populations in check, you cannot have a

    healthy garden ecosystem without them.

    Happily, the plants that are attractive to your local benecial insects

    and help lure them to your garden are also attractive to uswe all like

    owers! There are so many pollinator-attracting blooms to choose rom,

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    Creating Your Beautiul Edible Garden 59

    This beautiul garden produces a rich harvest o vegetables, ruits, herbs, and cut ow-ers. Stone and decomposed granite ma...


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