Posts Tagged ‘Edible Front Yard’

Companion Plants and Edible Landscaping

Cottage gardening — a mixture of flowers, herbs and food crops — allows you to sneak edibles into regular landscaping. By mixing ornamentals and edibles, you can outsmart HOA regulations or deter two-legged thieves from pilfering your front yard garden.

Flowers bring pollinators for greater yields. They also attract predatory wasps, who keep “bad” bugs in check. Interspersing crops among flowers and herbs makes would-be munchers work much harder. Instead of a huge kale buffet, those cabbage moths need to discover their caterpillar’s terrain amidst a bunch of other shapes and colors. Choosing purple varieties also confuses animals that want to decimate your hard work. If you let parsley and cilantro flower, they will not only attract beneficial insects; they’ll also reseed themselves.

All of this makes organic gardening much easier!

I prefer a slightly messy garden. It takes less time to maintain, and keeps a casual flow of colors and shapes throughout the season. In addition, companion plants can alter light or soil conditions in favorable ways, allowing hot weather crops a longer season, or repelling things that would otherwise lower yields.

Just sharing some recent photos because my garden brings so much food and joy. You can add freshness and a little food sovereignty bit by bit:

bee balm, flowering parsley, shiso, tomato, and chives
yellow squash, chamomile, flowering onion and kale to the right
“perennial” purple kale, zinnias, nasturtium, banana peppers and more
“perennial” collards (right), sage, yarrow, chives, dianthus, nasturtium, tomato and more
area behind our shed with yellow squash, cucumbers, flowering purple mustard, and potted nettles

Sometimes you garden so much that you start looking like a garden, and that’s OK, too.

Plant Nannies and Today’s Garden

Some quick photos from this morning’s garden show the strategic use of “plant nannies.” I wrote about plant nannies in a 2018 post called “Edible Landscaping Secrets,” and I still recommend them for the Garden Tower Project and any plants that need more water than their neighbors. You can use mineral water bottles or wine bottles — anything with a long enough neck to fit in the terra cotta spike that digs into the soil. The terra cotta slowly releases water if the nearby soil dries out. If the soil’s moist, the water stays in the bottle until needed.

I scatter the plant nannies around the Garden Tower. Otherwise, I find the soil dries out by late afternoon’s scorching temps. With the nannies, I can go longer between waterings, and my plants feel less stressed and therefore healthier. These photos also show the (unzipped) mesh cage and rabbit fencing around the base. Yes, that’s volunteer lettuce in the patio cracks!

I have heavily harvested this Garden Tower for months, and it shows plants of varying degrees of growth. I recently removed the now bolted spinach and replaced that with carrots, rainbow chard and zinnias. Those are the holes with less growth.

We’ve had weather in the 80’s and 90’s for weeks, which would normally make all this lettuce bolt. I’ve found I can harvest the heads “too much” if I know it will be close to 90. That robs the plants of enough energy to shift from leaves to flowers and seeds. When it cools a bit, I let the leaves grow again. I’ve lost track of how many giant salads David and I have made from the Garden Tower. So fresh — and critter free! The mesh cage also keeps cabbage moths off my kale and collards. 🙂

Some other shots from today… It’s officially “Orange Season” here — David’s favorite color!

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Hair and Garden Update

Whew, it’s hot and HUMID here in Michigan! Here’s a little photo update of the garden in mid-late Summer. This tends to be a time of fewer blooms. The trick is regular deadheading (popping off the spent flowers). Many plants will rebloom to complement new bloomers like hummingbird mint, hibiscus, hostas, echinacea and cosmos. Before long, it will be aster and mum season.

The garden continues to yield more produce for less work, so I’m liking that! Between massive amounts of greens from the enclosed Garden Tower 2 and cucumbers, squash, herbs, banana peppers, carrots and eggplant in the open beds, every day brings a sizable harvest. It’s not the over-abundance I used to need to deal with while quasi-farming in Goshen: rather, a steady supply of fresh flavors and nutrients.

Some photos from today:

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dinner plate hibiscus

 

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Late May Garden

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Garden Update ~ Life in Death and Flowers Galore

It’s so amazing how nature sorts itself. I’ve mentioned the weeping birch in front of our house, which according to neighbors, has struggled for five years. I kept trying and trying to keep this tree alive, but it turns out a dead tree really does support more life than a living one. I had heard that before, but I still wanted the birch to survive. It seems that nature had other plans, because this tree actually looks more dramatic and faery without leaves, and it gives the garden much more sun:

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I have another, far more magical and accurate looking photo of that birch tree and surrounding garden, which I’ve unsuccessfully tried posting for weeks. In the photo you see above, most of the camera shy beings are out of sight. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get that other photo to load. If you want to know what the garden really looks like, imagine the above photo with extra shimmer and glow, and the hanging branches creating a “mist” even on sunny afternoons. The photo above is flat compared to the life force energy radiating from that tree and the plants and beings around it.

We have way more birds in our front yard this year due to all the fun perches available now. I see gold finches, cardinals and robins throughout the day. On a recent morning, Continue reading

Garden Pretties

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This clematis was almost dead when we moved here, and now it’s been healthy and blooming for weeks. Delphinium came out today:

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Garden Firsts: Columbine, Iris, Sea Kale, Rhododendron, Roses, and the Portable 2017 Garden

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Stunning columbines this year! It is crazy windy today, so some of these photos aren’t as clear as I’d like. Too pretty to keep to myself, though. 🙂

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Flowering sea kale, is an edible perennial that looks good all season. Even better, you can eat every single part from roots to shoots to leaves to buds to flowers:

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The first of many varieties Continue reading

17(ish) tips for Edible Activists

This list comes from the good folks at the Incredible Edible City of Todmorden in England. I think they’re great tips, but please ignore the “Magic is not possible” statement, as that’s already been proven false.

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What?! You haven’t heard of Todmorden? Watch and be inspired by something “anybody can do, anywhere.”

Like what you see? This list helps you replicate it in your locale.

Late Afternoon in the Garden

This is one of my favorite times of the day in the gardens — not due to the temperature, but due to the quality of light. I love how it seems to stream from heaven over all the flowers. Too pretty to keep to myself:

back gardens 7-13

back beds 7-13

bed bed 7-13

tomatoes, pumkins, gourds and melons

more maters 7-13

purple coneflower with lavender in back 7-13

white lilies

front herb bed 7-13

scarlet runners

sunnies

front flowers 7-13

looking over the back beds 7-13

Blessed Be!

Mini-Food Forest in Denver, Colorado

In case you, like me, are dreaming of sunnier, warmer days: