An important step toward creating an overall sustainable garden is adding native edible species of trees and shrubs in your landscape. One person, one family, and one street can make a difference toward restoring our environment. And when your overall landscape is in balance with nature you'll have a lot of success growing healthy organic vegetables. The best way to do that is to incorporate native plants in your yard.
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of shady overhanging trees can keep these five fantastic edible landscape plants from becoming standards in the Southeastern garden: crabapple, yucca, sunflower, native rose and pawpaw.
“Forgiving” is what I call these attractive plants. That’s another way of saying they aren’t terribly fussy about temperature or soil, they don’t fall prey to pests or diseases and they don’t need much pruning – yet they all produce delicious, organic food while adding drama to the garden throughout the year. At their blooming best they attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects into the yard, filling space with subtle motion and fragrance, too.
There are some of you out there who haven't made the leap and started gardening. There may be many of reasons for that. But if you subscribe to USL you probably like the idea, but don't feel like you have enough time and don't know what to grow. I always suggest that beginners start by growing their favorite herbs. Herbs don't need any special soil or special attention and have little or no pests or diseases. For those of you in a time crunch, using garden soxx are a quick way to get started.
No matter what your experience in gardening everyone can grow grapes in their backyard successfully. Let your grape vine grow over an arbor or trellis as a sunshade or keep trimmed for smaller spaces. This is an excellent low cost way to add value, beauty and summer hade to your patio or deck. Growing grapes is a long term commitment. It can take several years before your vines are mature enough to grow grapes and longer for a bountiful harvest. Success begins by picking a sunny south facing location for your grape vines.
Developing sustainable landscapes has the added benefit of bringing and encouraging wildlife of all types to call your corner of the planet home too. It seems like since we started our urban farm we have seen all manner of fauna visit us, from beautiful and itinerate wild birds to regular visitors like Kooky the Red tailed hawk. If you have pictures of your own visitors be sure to send them over to email@example.com
A delicious ground cover
Strawberry plants are a great ground cover for several reasons. They tend to stay very low and bushy, and the runners that each plant produces quickly fill in, covering the ground completely and choking out any potential weeds. Aside from the delicious fruit these plants produce, they are covered with tiny flowers (which can be pink or white) in late spring to early summer.
If you can, plant your strawberries on a gradual slope; this improves with drainage and can help prevent frost injury. A south facing slope allows strawberries to ripen a few days earlier than plants on a north facing slope.
"Bare rooted season is over" I can hear you saying, but have no fear, I'm writing this for the people who bought bare rooted trees this season and are maybe now thinking, "what happens now?" and also for the people who may have seen those barren sticks in their local nursery but were too reluctant to give them a go.
Bare rooted means just that, while the trees are in their dormant winter state they are up rooted and distributed to nurseries and sold to us public for a fraction of their potted price. The choices are unlimited ranging from fruit trees to maples, crepe myrtles, lilacs and even mop top robinias.
Used in teas to aid in digestion and ailments of the digestive track, facial sprays to sooth, calm and refresh, and of course in the kitchen in all manner of foods and drinks such as Mint Julep, an additive to plain iced tea for a cool summer Compost in a Bowltreat and as a flavor enhancer to herbal teas. And while it is sometimes shied away from due to the fact that it can very easily take over one's garden, once it is there, what else can you do with it?
Well, make pesto, of course!
Vegetable gardens are popping up everywhere - at the White House, at the California statehouse, in front of city halls and in backyards across America - in large part because the progressive food movement got the word out.
But many in the gardening and environmental communities are saying, "Vegetable garden? Great start! Now how about fixing the environmental problems on the grounds?" But with all the media attention on the Obamas' vegetable garden, there's been no mention of creating a sustainable landscape on the rest of those 18 acres around the official residence.
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