Trying to live self-sufficiently in a city or suburban environment is rewarding but comes with many challenges. One of the most common obstacles is simply a lack of space. The average residential lot may vary anywhere from 3,500 square feet. to 6,000 square feet. Either way, even a very large suburban lot isn’t going to be larger than a quarter acre, and often quite smaller.
Fortunately, there are numerous methods to save space and still grow your own food in the city. One of these methods is called edible landscaping.
Edible landscaping is the technique of planting edible foods in place of purely ornamental plants within a landscape. These edible foods could be anything from herbs to full-grown squash plants.
Of course, anyone can use edible landscaping on their property but it works exceptionally well for those who live in an urban setting, for two reasons:
- You can grow food without affecting the value of your current landscape
- It won’t attract unwanted attention from neighbors or passersby
Tight-knit urban communities might not be so happy about you having garden beds on your front lawn. Such a garden also can affect your property value. Additionally, it isn’t unheard of for people in unfortunate situations to help themselves to your food.
Edible landscaping allows you to grow your own food in a subtle but very effective way.
Planting an Edible Landscape
Edible landscaping tends to be very forgiving and is easy for anyone to do, even if you have no previous experience with gardening. While virtually anything you’d normally plant in a traditional garden can be used in edible landscaping, here are a few that work very well in this type of set-up:
1. Sweet and hot peppers. They fare well against pests, and most plants are quite attractive. They also give a ton of color variety since peppers go through a color change as they grow.
2. Beans. Bean plants are vining in nature and can grow quite large. They are great for covering a trellis, and bean plant flowers are very attractive.
3. Herbs. Herbs are a real win-win. Not only do they save you money (dried and fresh herbs are expensive), but many varieties like mint are super hardy and make a good ground cover.
4. Berry bushes. Berries are delicious, and the shrubs they grow in can be used as a hedge for privacy or in place of a fence. Actually, thorned shrubs can be quite a deterrent for keeping stray animals (and people) away.