Why are landscaping and gardening treated like two different things?
Both work with mother nature, putting the right plant in the right place, monitoring sunlight and water, and helping the plants along as they grow…
so, they have more similarities than differences, so why do we treat them with difference approaches?
Traditionally, gardens are planted in rows, tucked away in a far corner of the landscape.
Landscape plants are set closer to the house and organized aesthetically.
Foodscaping combines both aesthetics, and practically, rather than a specific location in the yard.
Is Foodscaping a Revolution?
Brie Arthur is an award winning author and horticulturalist sharing her knowledge of The Foodscape Revolution.
Inspired by Rosalind Creasy’s Edible Landscaping book, even as a teenager, she pondered “why we should be growing our food with our ornamental plants using the same resources in the same space.”
After purchasing her first home, she discovered the ubiquitous HOA – homeowners association.
Her particular HOA frowned upon vegetables being grown in the front yard.
Going back to Creasy’s book, she applied those foodscaping principles to her own landscape, basically hiding her vegetables among her trees, shrubs, and perennials approved by her HOA, eventually winning neighborhood “yard of the year.”
She grows peanuts right in the middle of her landscape!
In her words, when she took the ‘farm-like’ approach out of her vegetable production, it automatically looked more ornamental.
I love this idea, but my traditional horticulturist husband has yet to buy into this concept.
No, you can’t plant roasted peanuts, they will not germinate. Only raw peanuts, “ready for planting,” will work, but you can find them online.
Foodscaping utilizes every inch of growing space for vegetables, herbs, flowers, perennials, and annuals, mixed together in a beautifying, strategic way.
Creativity in Foodscaping
When planting something like a blueberry shrub add soil conditioner. Brie recommends ground, aged pine bark. This will not rob much needed nitrogen from the ground.
Do not use fresh pine bark because when it breaks down, it will steal the nitrogen from the soil surrounding the blueberry plant.
Garlic, which most commercially sold garlic in the United States is imported from China, is another plant which will elevate a landscape and can grow almost anywhere.
Brie uses garlic as a pathway boarder plant because of its pest deterrent properties.
When planting garlic, basil, or sweet potatoes in your edible landscape, you probably will have to plant more frequently, but it allows your creativity to flow with new ideas and new plants.
Brie says foodscaping has grown her appreciation for cover crops and plants that naturally correct the soil.
Legumes will naturally stabilize the nitrogen levels in a area.
While the Daikon Radish can be a roundworm deterrent.
Sow the seeds directly in the soil in September and by December, they will grow into these large plants acting as natural tillers in the soil.
Commercial tomato farmers use the Daikon Radish as their winter cover crop.
When it is time to prepare the soil for their spring tomato crop, the till the radish foliage directly into the soil.
As the foliage breaks down, it releases a chemical that suppresses the nematodes, aka roundworms.
Another suggestion from Brie is rotating legumes and grains allows a foodscaper to take full advantage of what the roots of these cover crops can do for you.
Grains have very deep roots. Those roots act as a natural tiller for the soil.
Grains, such as wheat, barley, or sorghum actually pull nutrients from deep in the soil, to the surface of the soil, feeding surrounding plants in the garden.
Plant a grain in the winter and a legume in the summer. The legumes naturally fix the nitrogen levels, ultimately replacing nitrogen the grains pulled from the soil.
Bread from your front yard?
You can’t get much more organic than growing your own grains to make bread.
Brie grows wheat, rice, and barley in her own yard.
These resemble many ornamental foundation grass plants.
Grains can be direct seed, in a clump; allow them to germinate in place; and harvest the grains.
Ground the grains and make your own flour.
To get started, make a list of five vegetables and five herbs that you like.
Focus on growing those 10 things and grow with the intent to NOT buy them at the grocery store.
Walk around your landscape and evaluate what you have.
Research the 10 items from your list.
Learn how to strategically incorporate them into your existing landscape.
Consider where the sun shines the longest. That is where you want tomatoes, zucchini, and most vegetables.
Highest maintenance plants need to go where there is easy access to water.
Even if it means setting a pot in the middle of your azalea bed.
Keep a journal. Keep track of when you plant, where you plant and what you plant.
Have fun with it!
I assure you, there is nothing more gratifying than growing your own food and reaping the rewards.
Baked Chicken Zucchini Rigatoni
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for the pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 pound medium zucchini peeled and sliced into 1/8" slices
- 28 oz. whole fresh tomatoes, stem removed crushed in a bowl, using your hands
- 1 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 package of Perdue short cut chicken
- 1 lb. rigatoni
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ozs. shredded Fontina cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese the good stuff
- Preheat oven to 400º. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, 12" non-stick if you have it, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook just until it begins to soften (about 5 minutes).
- Add the slices of zucchini, spreading them out in the pan. Cook just until it begins to soften, another 5 minutes.
- While the onion and zucchini are cooking, use kitchen shears to crush the whole tomatoes inside the can.
- Make sure to take scissors all the way to the bottom of the can.
- Add salt to the zucchini in the skillet, add the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a boil.
- Toss in chicken that has already been cooked. I chopped the chicken into bite-size portions.
- Simmer just until it thickens, about 8-10 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup water, bring back to simmer. I did not add any additional water to my sauce.
- Don't let the zucchini begin to fall apart. Turn off heat. Toss in chopped basil.
- As for the pasta, only cook the rigatoni until al dente, a few minutes LESS than the package directions.
- Drain the pasta. Mix drained pasta with your sauce. I used the same pot I cooked the pasta in.
- Butter a 9 x 13, large baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss and mix up the two kinds of cheese.
- Spread half the pasta and sauce mixture into the baking dish.
- Top with half the cheese mixture.
- Layer remaining pasta and sauce, then remaining cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to stand and rest for 5-6 minutes before serving. Serve with bread or a simple salad.