The Edible City Garden

by Rachel Laurendeau on July 20, 2012

As I work on my yard’s landscaping, I am trying to make conscious decisions around sustainability, pesticide use, and choosing the right plants for my climate. Additionally, I’ve decided that I want most of what I grow to be edible; including trees, shrubs, flowers, in addition to traditional food crops.

There are myriad fruit trees, shrubs, vines and flowering plants to choose from; check with your local garden center or talk to your landscaping company to find out what will grow best in your area. Here are some of my favorites:

Trees and Shrubs
Apple (did you know the flower petals are edible?)
Blueberry
Cherry
Crabapple
Cranberry
Goji Berry
Honeyberry
Lilac (yes, you can eat the individual florets shortly after they open with soft cheeses or frozen yogurt.)
Nanking Cherry (my favorite for jellies.)
Pear
Raspberry
Strawberry

Vines
Grape
Honeysuckle (only the Japanese variety is edible Lonicera japonica.)
Hops
Kiwi

Edible Flowers
A quick cautionary note: you’ll want to grow edible flowers from seed yourself or find a garden center that does not use chemical pesticides. Flowers are difficult to wash off without ruining their appeal.

Anise Hyssop
Bee Balm
Borage
Calendula
Marigolds (certain varieties are nicer than others)
Nasturtiums
Roses (certain varieties are better than others; both petals and rosehips can be used.)
Squash blossoms
Violas, Pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups (tried and true!)
Violets

Herbs
Basil (so many varieties to choose from that I’ve got five types this year!)
Chocolate Mint
Chives
Cilantro
Dill
Galangal
Lavender
Lemon Grass
Lemon Verbena
Mint Julep
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Thyme

I love being able to step out into my front yard and pick the ingredients for my meals or my son’s snacks! Another advantage of edible gardening is that these types of plants will attract wildlife to your garden so you’re more likely to see butterflies and birds in your city yard.

Edible gardening is interesting and fun to do and most of the edible plants are just as aesthetically pleasing as non-edibles. Like anything that is worth doing, I found that there is a bit of a learning curve to edible gardening, particularly when it comes to the edible flowers and figuring out which varieties are best or which types of dishes to use them in. However, I think that’s half the fun!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, you may also like Finding Space to Garden – Rooftop Gardens and Terraces.

Source: The Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy

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