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April 22, 2010 Volume 31, No. 28

Investing energy in edible landscapes

If you prefer landscaping to gardening but still would like to enjoy the benefits of homegrown produce, then edible landscaping might be for you, says MU horticulturist David Triklein. “Edible landscaping uses attractive plants that also just happen to produce food.” 

Edible plants in the landscape can include Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, onions and most herbs. “Containers filled with tomatoes or peppers can add to the decor of a patio or deck while at the same time providing fresh, tasty food,” Trinklein said. “Fruit trees can be planted instead of small flowering trees. Blueberries can take the place of shrubs and grapes can adorn an arbor or cover a trellis instead of vines.”

He offers some more ideas to consider:

  • Incorporate plants such as lettuce, radish or cabbage into your flowerbeds and borders.
  • Plant herbs along with flowers in a container.
  • Train raspberries up a fence.
  • Plant flowering cabbage in the fall as an alternative to mums.