Edible Gardens

I came to terms with my inability to nurture a vegetable patch years ago. I simply lack the dedication that sees a true gardener soldier on through rain, drought, pests (I understand why people eat snails–it’s revenge!), competing interests (I could always spend gardening time reading 😉 ) weeds…oh my goodness, weeds. They grow so fast. Basically I get halfway through a growing season and give up. *sigh*

But as the Zen master said, know thyself. Instead of getting cranky or giving up completely, I found the secret was to sneak edible plants into the ordinary garden.

It is such a joy to wander around the garden snacking on things. Maybe I was a goat in a previous life? The important point, though, if you’re going to plant an edible garden, is to yank all the poisonous plants out first. You never know what kids or pets might decide to taste test if they get the idea that raiding the garden is fun.

Photo snapped in my garden. A clear space was hijacked to grow kale (front corner) much beloved for its cut-and-come-again approach to life. Fabulous winter vegetable and when it’s young, the tender leaves can be eaten raw — then again, I’ve eaten brussel sprouts raw, just to taste test! Behind the kale are a couple of carrots. They’re for Toby who adores carrots. The question is, will he be able to sniff them out or will he continue to believe carrots come from supermarket bags. And in the very back corner is fennel. Fennel is such an understanding plant. It grows itself. Plus its newest shoots are always sweet and aniseedy and fresh. Perfect to eat while walking the garden food.

I did cave in though this winter and dig a special patch for peas. I love peas. Fresh peas are addictive.

Edible flowers really freak me out. There’s something about eating bright orange or red that just seems wrong. (No, I don’t eat chillies, either). Still, a peppery nasturtium is a nice zingy addition to the garden.

You can find a great list of edible flowers here. Which reminds me — pay attention to their warning. You really don’t know what you or your friends/family might be allergic to. Be careful!

All of that said, I thoroughly recommend adding some edible plants to your garden. Tell me, what are your must haves that you’ve slipped in among the roses — which are edible themselves!

8 Replies to “Edible Gardens”

  1. I love your idea of hiding edibles here and there. One of my goals for my homestead is to eventually plant interesting little plants everywhere I stop and pause. Edible is best.

    I've started by tucking blackberry bushes here and there. Next will come onions and garlic–excellent for planting by the roses as they'll deter aphids.

    1. Is it safe to plant blackberries in Texas? Here in Australia they've become such a troublesome weed … so hard to eradicate … I cringe each time I read about them. Yummy in jam, death to our gardens — unless we can track down the non-invasive kind.

      But I think your goal for the homestead sounds heavenly. I love that sort of pleasant-surprises garden.

      1. Blackberries root easily here, but so far it hasn't become invasive. And I do love blackberry cobbler!

        Should it ever get out of hand, the goats we plan on will happily remedy the situation. They love blackberry brambles as much as they love poison ivy.

        1. Goats *wistful sigh* I envy you goats.

          I remember going to an agricultural show years ago and patting goats, chatting to their owners who were showing them and generally thinking "one day, but probably never". I think "probably never" will come true, but I do like goats.

  2. I'm jealous! I love edible gardens but my herb and veggie patch is looking so sad and brown right now. 🙁

    I have to try kale again… my previous attempt resulted in pathetic little leaves that wouldn't grow. The only thing growing well right now are my nasturtiums – I love edible flowers for garnishes. Holly loves violas and nibbles the flowers off as they bloom. I have to constantly cross-check the 'edible for humans' list with the 'edible for pets' list as it's guaranteed that either Henry or Holly will sample everything that I plant!