Create an Edible Landscape in Your Yard

Gardening, foodscaping and edible landscaping is not only a recession-proof industry, it’s one that tends to thrive in harder times.

While the lawn and ornamental plant industry struggled from 2009 onward, the food gardening segment grew.

W. Atlee Burpee & Co., the largest seed and gardening supply store in the country, says it has seen a 25 to 30 percent spike in vegetable seed and plant sales this spring compared with last.

George Ball, Chairman and CEO of the W. Atlee Burpee & Company said, “I’ve been in the business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it—even remotely like it.”1)

Even as the economy showed signs of recovery, interest in gardening did not decline. Here’s the thing: that first year of establishing a garden is your most expensive year. After that, if you plan right and reuse seeds your additional expenditures are virtually nil.

Meredith Thomas' Yard Garden
Meredith Thomas’ Yard Garden

How Much Can You Save by Gardening?

Excerpt from

The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.

Roger Doiron, founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International, spent nine months weighing and recording each vegetable he pulled from his 1,600-square-foot (150-sq. meter) garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the final winter leaves of Belgian endive, he found he had saved about $2,150 by growing produce for his family of five instead of buying it.

Adriana Martinez, an accountant who reduced her grocery bill to $40 a week by gardening, said there’s peace of mind in knowing where her food comes from. And she said the effort has fostered a sense of community through a neighborhood veggie co-op.2)



Tired Of Mowing Your Lawn? Try Foodscaping It Instead

By Blake Farmer on WKNO.Drupal.PublicBroadcasting3)
When the economy began its steep decline in 2008, almost everything related to housing hit the skids, including the lawn and garden industry. But one sector escaped the pinch: food gardening.

In fact, food gardening sales nationwide have spiked 20 percent since then, and they’ve stayed there. While many households started growing food to be more budget-conscious, some are deciding vegetables and fruits can be beautiful, too.

In the extreme, edible landscaping or foodscaping can even mean replacing grass with something edible. For Jeremy Lekich of Nashville Foodscapes4), the world is already his salad bar.

“It’s called lambsquarter,” he says, chomping into what laymen would consider a garden-variety weed. “Most people know it. It grows everywhere in disturbed soils, and it’s actually the wild ancestor of quinoa.”

Lekich and his foodscaping company specialize in unconventional projects, like planting an entire yard in buckwheat, a nutrient-packed grain that’s experienced a renaissance. People make hearty, nutty-tasting pancakes and noodles with the flour.

That’s what Nashville yoga instructor James Alvarez wanted. His mother, however, is not a fan of her son’s knee-high lawn.

“She’s like, ‘You get that Bermuda grass and you blend in,'” he says, laughing.

Edible landscaping isn’t for everyone. But close to a third of American households now do some kind of food gardening, even if they’re not willing to sacrifice their entire lawn. And some folks are turning to professionals to plant their food.5)

“Those who can afford to hire a landscape contractor and have the truck and crew, they’re seeing it as being a cool thing to do,” says Bruce Butterfield, researcher for the National Gardening Association.

Even nursing homes and hotels have been asking their landscapers to mix in more edible greens. One of the nation’s largest landscaping companies, The Brickman Group, reports an uptick in request for herbs and vegetables.

For single-family homes, practical planting usually increases during a recession, Butterfield says. It’s significant, though, that the millions who’ve gotten into food gardening don’t appear to be getting out. That’s what historically happens when the economy begins to come back.

Millions who’ve gotten into food gardening don’t appear to be getting out.

“I think it’s fundamentally different this time,” Butterfield says. It’s gotten trendy to grow your own food, he says.

Amy Pierce is a busy mother who runs a public relations firm in Nashville. She’s convinced that if she’s going to pay for plants, they might as well make a meal.

“That whole notion that I could have a raspberry bush alongside blueberry bushes, and I could make a fruit salad out of my backyard was just very novel and very new to me,” she says. “It’s almost embarrassing to admit it.”

Read more at: NPR – The Salt6) – Photo via Flickr Darach Seaton7)

Meredith Thomas' Yard Garden
Meredith Thomas’ Yard Garden

On page 2 is an really cool video featuring a beautiful rustic zen vegetable garden by Meredith Thomas. Meredith’s garden is clearly a labor of love and a work of art. This yard garden is made from used, reclaimed and discarded items, and it’s a beauty! Meredith shared something we’d never thought to try: eat okra raw in salads! But of course! We are so trying that! ?

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