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Create An Edible Landscape with CULBAC Plant Solution

posted on July 11, 2016

Traditionally, homeowners, gardeners and landscapers have cultivated fruits and vegetables in areas completely separate from their ornamentals. This arrangement was sensible since many crops, particularly favorites like tomatoes and vining cucumbers, would quickly overwhelm any neighboring flowering plants. However, the development of crop cultivars with more manageable growth habits and new colors has enabled growers to easily mix crops with ornamental plants to create an edible landscape.

Edible landscaping can have many benefits: aesthetically, bright cherry tomatoes or leafy kales can become eye-catching points of interest in a bed or container. Economically, harvesting produce from a semi-dwarf apple tree or a bush cucumber can save you money at the grocery store. Nutritionally, consuming fresh-picked fruits and vegetables is great for your health. Moreover, there is nothing more “local” than harvesting food from your front yard!

Edible landscapes can come in all sizes. On the large end, fruit trees can be substituted for flowering trees; providing color not only in spring but also into late summer and fall as their pomes ripen to shades of red and yellow amid the green leaves. Blueberries, raspberries, chokeberries and grapes can be delicious alternatives to medium-sized shrubs and flowering vines. For gardeners seeking edibles to plant among their annuals, the options have never been more varied. Cherry tomatoes can be grown from miniature plants that are smaller than most geraniums. Tidy bush cucumbers can thrive in a container placed on a small patio. Ornamental peppers can provide a striking—and edible—display that rivals the showiest blooms. Mix any of these with your favorite flowers and the possibilities are almost endless.

Below are some examples of small-scale edible landscaping:

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At left: Arranged like clusters of shiny marbles, the fruits of this cherry tomato (cultivar “Red Robin”) provide an interesting contrast to the gaudy blooms of a neighboring wave petunia.

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At right: Though it was only June when this photo was taken, this ornamental pepper (cultivar “NuMex Easter”) was already bearing loads of bright fruits on its branches. As they ripen, the peppers will turn pastel shades of yellow, orange and red, providing a multicolored show on just one plant!

Regardless of what you plant in your edible landscape, you will need to provide proper growing conditions for your plants. Most fruit and vegetable plants perform best in full sun, so make certain to plant them in a location with adequate daylight. They also need access to proper soil nutrients and moisture, which can be provided through regular applications of fertilizer and water. Covering the ground around the plant with mulch will aid moisture-retention in the soil. Finally, an early-season foliar application of Culbac® Plant Solution will help your vegetables and ornamentals produce a bountiful yield of fruits and blooms. With these tips, you will have vigorous plants that not only look spectacular but also taste great!

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