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Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas!

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Post  rjeverett 5/29/2012, 7:31 pm

I finally decided to do away with the sad half dead shrubs in the beds in front of my house and put in some good 'ol edibles that will really love the space to stretch out, and will look good doing so. My thoughts were sweet potatoes & my late plantings of squash & melons. The beds are about 8" deep with one being 12' x 3 1/4' and the other 18' x 3 1/4'.
My problem solving is with what I might be able to do to keep it pretty after harvest and during the winter season. I was planning on putting in some garlic which will overwinter well there and look cool in the spring, but wouldn't really show anything during the cold months though. I would really LOVE and appreciate any and all suggestions to help me get it started!

rahrah

Thanks so much!
rjeverett
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/29/2012, 9:22 pm

First thing that came to mind was rhubarb as a corner anchor plant, especially if you get a variety with brilliant red stems. For planting to carry through fall, how about the rainbow Swiss chard? Again, the different colored stems are outstanding, and the greens welcome throughout the fall. Perhaps some blueberries somewhere, with a decorative lettuce in front, a lettuce like Drunken Woman Frizzy Head Lettuce, a splotched-leaf lettuce that invites explanation. Got a fence you could trellis three different colored podded beans up (green, gold and purple)? Or, Scarlet runner beans for their lovely flowers and delicious young beans. Do Artichokes work in your climate? They're decorative as well as tasty. Or their cousin, cardoon, which grows TALL, then puts out pretty purple thistle-like flowers. For warm weather, a decorative hot pepper plant--some will set a riot of colored peppers, from green, to yellow, to orange to hot red. Stunning. Don't forget to plant a range of herbs--so much cheaper to raise than to purchase in the chintzy little blister packs in the store: rosemary, thyme, a good-tasting sage plant, oregano, chives and basil, both green and purple. Okay, your turn!
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Post  rjeverett 5/29/2012, 11:42 pm

Wow, Nonna you rock

So many fantastic ideas, hope you don't mind me running down the list here as a way to organize myself, end of the day and all, my brainpower is waning Wink

My only hesitation with the rhubarb is that it would be out front. There are a lot of neighborhood kids that come over to play with my kiddos and they frequent my backyard garden to munch on stuff. I know they'd have to do some serious munching but I'd rather go with the rainbow chard to be totally safe. Speaking of, I actually do have that and was going to do it in pots, but now that you mention it, it WOULD look awesome out front! Not to mention how much attention it would get from the neighborhood kids, who knows, maybe even get them to love their greens?! Smile
Oooh! The runner beans! Fantastic idea, I will definitely use those!
Not sure about the Artichoke, I had been thinking about it but not sure if I would have enough time left in the season or if my winter would get too cold for it. Although this past winter never produced one hard freeze, but that's not to say the next one won't.
I was looking at some berry bushed earlier this season, a local nursery carries several varieties, including a pink lemonade blueberry which I thought looked really neat!
You have given me some great stuff to work with, this is going to be so much fun! bounce
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Post  walshevak 5/30/2012, 6:30 am

Blueberry bushes are on my long term plant to rip out the privet that looks terrible with dead patches. For winter color, redbor kale (tall) (territorial seed) and pansies can take frost. Any of the ornamental kales look like big purple and white flowers.

taken Jan 5 in Pender County NC zone 8

Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Dscn0344

Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Dscn0345

Kay

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Post  Goosegirl 5/30/2012, 7:20 am

Goodness gracious! LOTS of great ideas here! Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! 27650 I still have 2 beds along my house that need attention. Will have to start planning!

GG
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Post  GloriaG 5/30/2012, 10:15 am

Hi rjeverett,

We live on a corner lot in an HOA, whose rules say that no vegetable gardens are allowed to be visible to the street. Our entire yard is visible to the street, Laughing so we've had to landscape all our SFG's. We have a total of approx 225 sq. ft. We're still working on installing the edging and mulch around the beds, and I have a few vegetables in transition. (The empty pots originally had onions and will now become marigolds.)


Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Herbs10
Herbs and sweet potatoes


Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Soji10
Spaghetti squash, melons, and onions

Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Back-b11
Green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, beets, celery, potatoes, zucchini, etc.
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Post  donnainzone5 5/30/2012, 12:15 pm

I just saved those pictures of your landscaped front yard to my computer, just in case I have a similar problem in Oregon.

Your garden looks beautiful and organized! If anyone complains, have them contact me.
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Post  rjeverett 5/30/2012, 12:32 pm

Thank you for the wonderful ideas, they're all so creative! I especially appreciate the pictures, they are very helpful!

Kay, kale is a perfect idea for the winter filler! I love the way you put that around the trees, it is beautiful! I am thinking I definitely want blueberry bushes in front, there would still be plenty of room for the vining plants to stretch all out. My only question is about soil sharing. From what I have read blueberries prefer a more acidic soil, would that present an issue with the other things planted in the same bed? Maybe I could separate the soil with wood or something?

GloriaG that is stunning and so creative! Interesting that the HOA doesn't want edibles in sight, imo a garden is the most beautiful and cheerful thing to see in someone's yard. A neighbor started up a huge SFG in their front yard this year, I think there's a fb contest or something for the front yard SFG's right now, you should enter! http://www.melbartholomew.com/sfg-contests/
I hope I was allowed to post that link.. Smile

I am excited all over again with the thoughts of planting more garden!

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Post  walshevak 5/30/2012, 1:04 pm

Wish I could take credit for the kale ideas, but that was the landscaping in front of the Pender Gardens Nursery. I stop there a lot when traveling from my house to my son's house. They have a huge big greenhouse area in the back filled with house plants, citrus trees and tropical birds in cages. Just the boost needed on a cold winter day. But my front flower bed is going to be done that way this year. Just have to remember to order the kale seeds early and get them started.

FYI, I have the redbor kale growing in my regular beds along with the winterbor green and it is very tasty.

Kay

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Post  GloriaG 5/30/2012, 1:27 pm

LOL -

donnainzone10, That's my BACK yard. My front yard isn't anywhere nearly so pretty!
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Post  donnainzone5 5/30/2012, 1:33 pm

GloriaG,

I thought you wrote that your entire yard is visible from the street. Wouldn't that equate to being nearly the same as the front yard, at least in the eyes of the HOA?

Just thinking....
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Post  rjeverett 5/30/2012, 1:45 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:GloriaG,

I thought you wrote that your entire yard is visible from the street. Wouldn't that equate to being nearly the same as the front yard, at least in the eyes of the HOA?

Just thinking....

^ oops, yea that's what I assume too, like a corner lot..? If it's visible from the front it should count, at least for contest entry purposes..heehee Wink
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Post  GloriaG 5/30/2012, 2:05 pm

Sorry for the confusion - Yes - you're exactly right.

Virtually every part of my yard is visible to the street, except for one tiny part that is hidden behind our out-building. But the HOA still considers this my "back" yard because it's parallel to everyone else's back yard and is outside the backdoor of our house. The view that I sent is from the side street - which happens to be one of the three main access roads to our development.

My "front" yard which is on the side toward the main street and out our front door is very plain. Only grass and a few foundation plants.
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Post  rjeverett 5/30/2012, 2:55 pm

Hmm, so now a new question having to do with the soil that is already in the bed. I am ashamed to admit it but since we moved into this house, *coughthreeyearsagocough* I have never bothered to look under the lava rock they had in the front beds. I just looked. What is under there seems to be way too much rock in way too little soil. Guess that might explain why the shrubs and Azalea's look so sad. They do okay in the early spring when we get a lot of rain and the temps are milder, but once the summer heat rolls in they struggles more than it seems like they should, even with regular watering.
Anyway, back to my question, does anyone know what would be the easiest way to clear out the rock laden soil? Since there are no weeds at all in these beds I was hoping to be able to mix some MM in with what was already in there but that obviously won't work anymore...looks like I will have to empty them out completely now..
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Post  walshevak 5/30/2012, 4:21 pm

That's the reason I refuse to mulch with rock. Always sinks down into the soil and takes up root space. and has to be dug and sifted out to grow plants.

Kay

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/30/2012, 4:50 pm

My nephew is dealing with a similar problem with a concrete-edged bed at their new house. I suggested he go up rather than spend days pulling all the old clay/rock soil out of the L-shaped long bed, and construct square foot garden above the existing bed, then he'd only have to put in six to eight inches of good soil (he's decided to use cedar fence boards to construct the 4' x 6' beds, with 2' "alley way" between the main beds). He seems excited about a way to set off the beds (grids, you know) to make plant placement easier for a first-time gardener. Also loves the idea of assigning a section or two to each of their three boys to encourage them to garden, too.
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Post  rjeverett 5/30/2012, 7:23 pm

Nonna, that's a good idea! My beds are stone so if I did that I would have to try and figure out a good way to extend it and it still look cohesive. Honestly though, that may be my better option because the soil in it now is so full of rock just trying to dig to the bottom was too frustrating and slow with a hand trowel. Wonder why in the world they set the bed up like that? I am by no means an expert at this, but I don't really see the benefit in putting so much rock in with the soil..? huh?
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/30/2012, 9:02 pm

Rebecca, if I remember correctly, all around Louisville is some wonderful limestone. Any way you could scavage 'liftable' pieces of limestone to add to the tops of the existing stone beds, then fill in with mel's mix for a wonderful new SFG bed? So, guess I should ask: what kind of stone is in the existing bed? If it's a lot of difference in color, could some of the existing rock be chisled out and replaced with the new? Or could the whole thing, old and new, be brushed with the buttermilk solution I've read about, and encouraged to grow moss-like covering to make it all look the same? Is some of the rock dumped in the existing bed something that could be used on top of the perimeter? Just throwing out ideas, probably without a full understanding of what you're dealing with. Nonna
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Post  rjeverett 6/8/2012, 8:07 pm

Well I did it..mostly

I pulled two hedges, de-rocked a TON (filled and emptied seven 5 gallon buckets), hand tilled the good soil and am going to mix in some good compost/peat. Don't have any more vermiculite or the budget to buy more, so we'll just call this the 'experiment bed' Wink

Going in will be - sweet potatoes, rainbow swiss chard, melon, squash, and garlic. I am so very excited about MORE garden space!
Will be sure and do some pics when she's all prettied up Very Happy
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Post  subsonic 6/9/2012, 7:56 pm

I love squash and the plant is actually a great landscape plant in summer. Huge green leaves and everyone wants to know what it is, when you show them the crook necks underneath and tell them how good grilled squash is. Man I love it
also I do herbs in containers, now think how much you pay for spices and you can grow them yourself for 3 or 4 dollars a year
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Post  rjeverett 7/20/2012, 3:48 pm

So over a month later and I have some very beautiful edible landscaping to share! What I decided on was some Burpee Golden Egg squash, Creme de la Creme melons, and sweet potatoes. Planted everything from seed, potatoes from slips obviously, around June 10th. Something ate 4 out of my 5 melon sprouts so they got replanted a few days later and at the advice of someone from this forum (wish I could remember who.. :scratch: ) I covered the seedlings with the cheap little food cover tents I had purchased from the dollar store and they didn't get eaten this time!
Anyway, here it is today, thriving even better than the big garden in back (which I attribute to the record temps and drought that we're having, since the front gets good shade after noon)

I overcrowded the melon (for now) because of the terrible time we're having with the cucumber beetles this season-so there are 5 melon plants, 3 golden egg, and 5 sweet potatoes.
Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Frontb10
As you can see they are all living in harmony and are VERY happy happy banana
Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Frontb13

Our very first Golden Egg is ready for pickin' Edible Landscaping, SFG style - Need ideas! Golden11

Thanks to everyone who helped me figure this out, I was a little nervous when I started it, but now I could not be happier with the results! Now just to pray that the darned pests don't find 'em!
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Post  Goosegirl 7/21/2012, 9:32 am

Looks great! I am having a dilemma regarding the landscaping thing as well. You have inspired me!

GG
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