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Reap benefits of edible landscaping

Last updated: 03-15-2019

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Reap benefits of edible landscaping

Reap benefits of edible landscaping
By Gail J. Farquhar Victoria County Master Gardener Edited by Charla Borchers Leon
Mar 7, 2019
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With many landscape uses, the Feijoa pineapple guava is an attractive, evergreen tree/shrub well-suited to home gardens. The plant grows 12 to 15 feet tall and wide, has edible red with white blooms in May and sweet, fragrant, reddish fruit that drops to the ground when ripe in late summer or fall.
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern Gail Farquhar
The artichoke and its relative thistle-looking cardoon plant accent a landscape setting with angular, architectural fountain-like effects up to 6 and 8 feet tall. Gray-green foliage, edible buds and purple flowers are very striking in the landscape – and also produce a culinary favorite.
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern Gail Farquhar
Numerous varieties of herbs do well in designated areas in full sun in the landscape. While some are great border plants, others work well in the foreground. Still others like basils, sage, dill and lemon balm grow larger and taller like this holy basil with long leaves and purple-like stems and flowers. This warm season annual requires moist soil with good drainage and does well in flower beds and containers with its leaves used in Italian and Asian dishes.
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern Gail Farquhar
The chile pequin plant is a Texas native that produces peppers with a bright red color as shown here. Easily grown from seed, the plant adds a burst of bright green then brilliant red to the garden with the peppers that add a hot, earthy flavor at the table. The plant requires routine water and partial shade from other plants. Because of spicy heat, it only takes a few of the jalapeno-like peppers to give dishes a powerful kick.
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern Gail Farquhar
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The benefits of edible landscaping are many and include growing food for you, your friends and family while having a landscape that is unique and eye-appealing.
Also there is benefit in teaching children what their food looks like when it is growing and getting kids interested in both gardening and eating what they have helped raise.
Providing habitat for pollinators, other beneficial insects and birds, controlling what fertilizers and pesticides are used on your food and having fresher fruits and vegetables than you could purchase at a grocery store are also pluses/advantages to edible landscaping.
Incorpo rate edibles into eye-pleasing landsca pe
Edible landscaping is not about rows of crops hidden away in your backyard; rather, it is about incorporating those crops into an eye-pleasing landscape, by planting trees with edible fruit, also hedges, borders, groundcovers and specimen plants and mixing edibles into your existing landscape.
Conduct soil test
Before you start planting, do some research starting with a soil sample that will tell you what you should do in order to have the best possible soil to support your landscape. You can get the information you need to do this by contacting Victoria County Extension Service at 361-575-4581.
Consider growing environment
You should also look at how the sunlight moves across your yard, how water flows, where it tends to stand after rains, and the locations of existing landscape elements so you can plan where to place your plants so they will thrive.
Recom mended plants for edible gardening in our area
Trees
Of the pecan tree varieties, Caddo is probably the very best yard tree. Pawnee and Sioux are also good.
In the category of smaller fruiting trees, plums and pears are easier care and lower maintenance than other fruit trees. Try Methley and Santa Rosa plums, Kieffer, Orient, Shinko and Shinseiki pears.
Peaches may require more care, but TexStar, TexPrince and La Feliciana are good ones to try.
Olives can grow and produce well and Arberquina is hardy and needs no pollinator.
Other easy fruiting trees include loquats, mulberries, jujube, persimmons, pomegranates and some citrus. It is always best to look for improved varieties of the minor fruit trees and Aggie horticulture online aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu , is always a good source for information.
Shrubs
Blueberries can be grown here, particularly in containers so they can be given the acidic pH and excellent drainage they require.
Figs are easy care, and Celeste, Alma and Brown Turkey are recommended.
Elderberries, pineapple guava and Barbados cherry plants can be trained into hedges and screens. Turk’s Cap can be a very attractive fruit producer as well.
Herbs
Many varieties of herbs can be planted in designated sunny herb gardens, herb spirals or tucked in among other plants.
Those in the onion family are all useful as border plants. Rosemary, bee balms and Mexican marigold mint grow into beautiful specimen plants with attractive flowers.
The oreganos, savory, thymes, chamomile and salad burnet are good as foreground plants; while basils, sage, anise, chervil, dill, fennel, parsley, lemon balm, pineapple sage, bay and lemon grass grow larger.
Perennial fruits and vegetables:
Artichokes and cardoon offer bold, angular architectural accent plants up to 6 and 8 feet tall. Their gray-green foliage, buds and purple flowers are very striking.
Blackberries can be grown as a screen or on a fence or trellis while dewberries like to grow lower. Plant Kiowa, Brazos, Rosborough, Arapaho or Natchez blackberries. Austin is the best dewberry.
Grapes must be supported by a trellis, strong fence or arbor. Our own Texas Superstar Victoria Red grape has proven itself here, and other possibilities include Muscadines, Lenoir, Black Spanish, Blanc Du Bois and Champanel.
Strawberries are not really perennial in coastal Texas and will grow best as containerized or raised bed annuals, planted in the fall for spring harvest. Try Chandler, Oso Grande, Seascape, Sequoia, Festival and Radiance varieties.
Annual vegetables


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