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.

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


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


    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 expan