When you maintain a yard or garden, you expend energy in the forms of time, effort, thought, fertilizer, water, and sometimes pest control. When you incorporate edible plants into your landscape, you recoup some of that energy in the form of food for your family and friends. Growing edible plants is a fun, rewarding hobby and the right plants can not only give you delicious food, but can add interest and diversity to your landscaped yard or garden.
Here are six plants that are easy to grow and can reward you with tasty treats, while making your landscape more handsome in the process.
The Artichoke plant is a striking addition to any home landscape. The spiny leaves deter many animals that may normally eat foliage such as rabbits and deer. The large, thistle-like flowers and the Artichokes that follow grow on raised stems so they are away from ground pests and resistant to mold or mildew that can plague certain vegetables that grow on the ground. If you like Artichokes, add some to your yard for a delicious focal point.
Beans grow quickly and make a vine-covered trellis that provides one of natures most nutritious treats. There are many varieties of beans and most are easy to grow. Make a simple frame with scrap wood poles and string, plant the beans along the bottom edges, and protect young plants from leaf-eating animals with chicken wire. Once the bean plants climb the trellis you will be harvesting your own delicious beans before you know it.
Since Eggplants and their leaves are mostly avoided by animals, they are a good choice for adding color and edible vegetables to the landscape. Technically classified as a berry, the Eggplant is a perennial that grows well in mild summer conditions between 70º and 85º F. In northern states they are grown in spring, and in tropical southern states, in winter. Eggplants have many uses, and come in variations such as black, white, and round.
Most wildlife will not eat onions so they are a perfect edible to add to the home landscape. The green leafy part of an onion grows upright and reaches ten to twelve inches above the onion bulb in the ground. This makes them great for mixing into flower beds where your onions can grow between flowers and blend into the landscape. You can do the same thing with other bulbs like garlic, leeks, or shallots.
Growing herbs is an excellent way to introduce edible plants into your yard. Unlike fruit or vegetables, when you are growing herbs you can begin using them right away. They are also ready whenever you are. Mix Basil, Mint, Oregano, Thyme, Borage, and Sage in with impatiens, marigolds, or any other bedding plant. Or grow a row of herbs along your garden path for a delicious edible border.
Peppers come in many colors and flavors, from green, red, and yellow to sweet, spicy and downright hot. They can be dried, ground for spices, pickled, eaten raw, and cooked with. Most pepper plants require some but not elaborate support, so a simple plant cage or small stakes can do the job and blend in well in most yards. Brightly colored peppers are ornamental and their versatile nature makes them an edible gardening favorite.