Edible plants are a good answer for the shouts and cries for change in front yard landscapes. Every day the shouts grow louder to grow food not grass in California. I have written articles on how to kill your grass or how to paint your lawn green if it has gone brown. This article focuses on five edible plants to grow in your front yard that will require less water than turf, provide aesthetic value to your home, provide a great outdoor activity for everyone in your family, save you money at the grocery store and supply you with some delicious food.
Swiss chard is a very colorful vegetable that is actually in the same family as beets. The leaves and stems provide a rainbow of colors for your garden. The leaves when eaten provide antioxidant benefits and serve as an anti-inflammatory. It grows best in well-drained soil. It can be grow from early spring until late into the fall (maturity date should be 2-3 weeks before first frost). A 10-foot row should produce around 8 pounds.
Creeping rosemary is a beautiful drought-tolerant perennial ground cover. You will love the midsummer light blue, violet/lavender blooms and so will the bees and butterflies. It will grow to a height of about a foot, needs little water and light fertilizer. You can use rosemary to flavor a variety of foods. You can also add a sprig to olive oil to make flavored olive oil. Add it to some softened butter and spread it on bread. It also works great on top of grilled fish or steaks.
I love the height artichokes bring to editable gardens. They have large silvery green leaves with pinecone-like flower buds and are unlike any other plant you have in your garden. They are perennial and should provide fruit for five years. Steamed artichokes are deliciously full of vitamin C and packed with antioxidants.
African Blue Basil
Unlike most basil, this basil plant is a perennial. You can propagate this plant by cuttings. It grows amazingly fast (up to 2 feet in height), and has a beautiful lavender flower and grows into a bush. The bees love this plant and you can get blooms for most of the year. A bonus is a great camphor aroma the plant gives off. This plant is easy to grow, uses little water and is generally disease-free. This plant should be part of everyone’s front yard garden.
Kale is an antioxidant superstar, looks great in your garden, and can be prepared a variety of ways. It is a winter crop and rounds out a 12-month green look to your garden. It is a hardy plant that is one of the earliest vegetables cultivated by man. The leaves will provide an additional interesting look to your garden and this plant grows well in the summer too. Kale is great for salads or you can sauté it with a little oil and garlic. You can drizzle it with olive oil, add some sea salt and bake it for a great tasting snack. As the new normal for landscapes and water emerges in the West I think there is a place for edibles in our front yard gardens. I hope this article provides good ideas for designs in your garden and you can better understand water reduction does not mean cactus and gravel. I am also sure you have some favorites of your own so please share those with us in the comments section, and as always if you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the blog and following me on twitter @H2oTrends.