Delicious & Decorative Edible Gardens

April 15, 2013

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News Recipes

There’s no better way to celebrate National Garden Month than planting your very own edible garden. But just because it’s edible doesn’t mean it can’t be aesthetically appealing or must be monochromatic green. This spring, become the caretaker of your personal garden for a spiritually stimulating way to reconnect with nature.

Mulching

For your edible garden to bring you visual and gustatory delight, you’ll need to care for it properly. One of the best ways to sustain life in your garden is to use the proper mulch. If you have a lawn, you already own all the mulch you’ll ever need. Gardeners can use lawn mowers to create the ideal mulch to enhance soil and inhibit weeds. Freshly cut and dry grass clippings can be applied in thin layers over the your garden, according to GrowVeg.com. Clippings are rich with nitrogen and potassium for sufficient fertilization.

Edible & Ornamental Plants

Basil – Basil is an annual herb, best grown in well-drained soil and under full sun, according to Better Homes and Gardens. If you desire an edible plant of a different color, certain basil cultivars such as “Purple Ruffles” and “Round Midnight” grow purple leaves. Use basil leaves to create your very own pesto sauce for Italian dishes.
Strawberries – Sunset.com asserts that strawberries are the ideal fruit to grow, rather than buying pesticide-

packed commercial varieties. They recommend “Quinault,” “Seascape” and “Sequoia” cultivars. Find out your location’s hardiness zone to grow the best strawberries.
Artichoke – Globe artichokes are decorative, delicious and a must-have edible plant for any garden. Their spiny violet-green hearts and blooming purple filaments add visual appeal. These bulbous vegetables are best used in salads or the always delicious spinach-artichoke dip.
Cilantro – Grow this annual tap-rooted plant in low, wide pots. Cilantro grows and flowers rapidly—once it reaches a height of about eight inches, cut off the outer leaves, according to Sunset.com. Sprinkle cilantro in your favorite Mexican cuisines, from gazpacho to guacamole.
Snow Peas – This podded pea is a cool-season plant that can be grown in all hardiness zones. The cultivar “Oregon Giant” grows not on a vine but a bush, and produces extra large pods. Ensure that you pick the sweet, crunchy pods when they reach harvest size — otherwise the seeds will ripen and the plant will halt production, according to Sunset.
Peppers – To add warm colors to your edible garden, plant red, orange and yellow Mariachi peppers. The plant produces elongated peppers that are mildly spicy. Mariachi peppers can thrive in all hardiness zones and grow best when bathing in the sun.
Mint – Mint is a warm season herb that’s best grown in a bowl to isolate the herb from overtaking your garden. Spearmint produces vivid green leaves ideal for adding to jellies, mojitos or a glass of cold lemonade.

Written by, Bridgette Smith

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