Ornamental landscaping is all about maximizing beauty and aesthetics. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a vegetable garden or fruit-producing plants.
In fact, a well-designed edible garden can make your outdoor spaces more beautiful, while also producing healthy foods you can enjoy. Plus, Oregon’s mild climate makes it the perfect place to grow your own fruits and veggies!
Edible gardens require some extra time and effort, but you don’t have to be an expert! In this article, we’ll go over the basics of planting, growing, and harvesting fruits and vegetables. We’ll highlight the important factors to consider and also offer some suggestions for hardy edible plants in the Northwest!
Benefits of Using Hardy Edibles
There are virtually endless advantages to incorporating hardy edibles into your landscape. These include:
- Nutrition: You can add more healthy fruits, vegetables, and natural herbs into your diet.
- Affordability: You’ll save money on groceries.
- Beauty: Edible landscapes add color and diversity to your ornamental garden.
- Knowledge: You’ll learn a lot about edible wild plants in Oregon.
- Relaxation: Gardening has been shown to reduce stress.
- Sustainability: You’ll help create a more environmentally friendly world and contribute to natural ecosystems.
Selecting Hardy Edibles for Your Landscape
Choosing the right edibles for your garden depends on where you live, maintenance needs, and your nutritional and aesthetic preferences. Luckily, when it comes to growing edible wild plants, Oregon is one of the best places to live due to our mild climate and environmental diversity.
How to Find the Right Plants
The sun/shade, moisture, and soil conditions in your garden should help guide your decisions when it comes time to pick plants. Here are some of the best categories of NW edible plants to consider for your garden.
- Berries: Oregon offers a great climate for growing delicious blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, and more!
- Nuts: If you have the space on your property, consider planting nut trees! Some of Oregon’s most popular nut varieties include hazelnuts, walnuts, butternuts, and chestnuts.
- Vegetables: Who doesn’t love the idea of growing delicious, healthy vegetables to use in your favorite recipes? Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and many varieties of peppers and greens are among the vegetables that do well in Oregon gardens with the right care!
- Fruit trees: Apple, cherry, fig, apricot, pear, and plum trees are all great options for growing fruit trees in the PNW.
- Herbs: Culinary enthusiasts can grow tasty and fragrant herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, cilantro, basil, and more; these are just a few of the many herbs that grow well in Oregon.
- Wine grapes: Oregon offers ideal conditions for growing grapes to make Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and more.
Incorporating Edibles into Your Landscape Design
There are many ways to incorporate NW edible plants into your outdoor space. Whatever your goals and preferences, Blessing Landscapes can help you design a landscape that works for you and your garden.
Using Edibles as Borders or Hedges
It’s often been said that good hedges make good neighbors. So why not kill two birds with one stone? There are a variety of hardy edible hedges that can offer you the benefits of growing your own food as well as the privacy of traditional hedges. Examples include pomegranate, blueberry, hazelnut, pear, and more.
Mixing Edibles with Ornamentals
When you think of growing an edible garden, you may picture a separate, squared-off area away from your ornamental plants. However, this isn’t the only way to design a mixed garden.
In fact, mixing edibles with ornamentals in the same space can be more visually dynamic and help you save space if you have a smaller landscape.
Growing Edibles in Containers
Using containers such as pots or raised beds is a wonderful option, especially for beginner gardeners.
Containers can help simplify maintenance and provide you more control over your garden. They also add a unique visual element to your outdoor space and make it easier to move your plants around without transplanting your plants.
Caring for Your Edibles
Most people love the idea of having a beautiful garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. But taking care of your edibles can be intimidating and confusing, especially if you’re a beginner gardener.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to do plenty of research before you jump in. For example, different plants thrive at different points in the year. Check out this helpful veggie calendar to learn more about caring for edible plants in the Northwest!
Watering and Fertilizing
Every plant has unique watering needs, and edibles are no exception. Most edible plants need regular watering, especially in the dry summer months. But certain plants, like tomatoes and herbs, need water less frequently in order to thrive.
It’s a good idea to set up a watering schedule for your edibles, with specific instructions for each area of your garden!
Pruning and Training
The pruning and training requirements of your edible garden depend on the particular varieties you’re growing, as well as your goals! Regularly pruning and training fruit trees can improve their structure, make them easier to harvest, and increase their production.
Using trellises for certain vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers can help simplify the pruning and training process and allow you to grow more veggies in a smaller space.
Pest and Disease Control
Some creatures and critters can actually benefit your edible garden, such as pollinators and predatory insects. But it’s always important to keep common pests and diseases away from your landscape, especially if you plan to eat from it!
Here are some tips and tricks for managing diseases and pests in your edible home garden:
- Choose resistant varieties when possible.
- Pay close attention to the spacing and trellising guidelines for each type of plant.
- Be consistent about watering and fertilizing.
- Trim and prune any plant material that looks potentially diseased.
- Keep weeds under control.
- Use fungicides and pesticides as needed.
- Work with the professionals at Blessing Landscapes to plan, plant, and maintain your edible garden!
Harvesting and Enjoying Your Edibles
Harvesting your edible plants is when you get to really enjoy the fruits of your labor. But it’s important to know when and how to harvest your fruits and vegetables in order to maintain the health of your plants and get the best flavor possible. Once they’ve been picked, be sure to store them in a cool, hygienic environment to increase their shelf life.
With homegrown hardy edibles, you have so many opportunities to try out healthy and delicious recipes. From berry jams, to vegetable broths, to sauces, and more, there are endless ways to enjoy the edible plants in your garden.
Let Blessing Landscapes Help You Incorporate Hardy Edibles Into Your Ornamental Garden
At Blessing Landscapes, we’ll take a look at your space and discuss your goals and needs with you to create a diverse, beautiful, and personalized landscape.