Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Edible Gardens…Delicious!

Square Foot gardeningWhile  there are a lot of followers of my blog and in some cases in other parts of the country, unless you have gone through a Texas Summer, you cannot imagine the challenges of a Texas garden.

Edible gardens are exquisite and they are surprisingly easy to care for.

This past year has been no exception.  With record heat, drought and the threat of another difficult year to come we are scrambling to make new landscape changes that make better use of the limited water supply we now have, not just here but all over the country.  Sprawling lawns are the first thing that need to go.  They serve little purpose, they require lots of maintenance, tons of water and fertilizer to be successful and obviously provide no food :-/  If you are spending that kind of time, water and materials on a lawn, why not grow something you could eat?

Obviously not all neighborhoods allow veggie beds in the front yard, but your back yard is an opportunity to use all the same resources to provide something your family can really use.  One of favorite memories  with my children was growing our first veggie bed with my eldest son (now 20).  He was about 3 years old, we leased a home at that time and got permission to build a small 8×10 raised bed.  My only regret is that I do not have a picture to show because you would be impressed by the volume of food we grew in there.  Huge cantaloupes, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, herbs and strawberries.  Nothing is ever as delicious as it is out of your garden and nothing is more delightful than the expression on your childs face when they have their little hands in the soil, watering each little seedling, then finally picking the food and proudly tasting the fruits of their labor…Delightful!

Dill that have gone to seed show off a spectacular flower display.

You could create a garden entirely filled with edible plants.  They are beautiful, flowering, deciduous and evergreen and are a feast for the senses.  A quick and easy way to reduce your lawn on a relatively flat surface and turn it into an edible garden is to lay a 4-6 mm Painters plastic on top of your sodded area and anchor it with landscape pins.  Border the bed with random rocks you have, metal edge or pavers and fill in the bed with at least 6 inches of compost and mulch.   Some local nurseries will mix this combo for you and deliver it in bulk.  You can prepare this bed late in the season and plant later,  but the objective is to allow all of that water hogging sod to die beneath the plastic turning into organic matter instead of going into a landfill.  Once the bed is prepared and the lawn beneath has died, you can poke holes in the plastic with a pitch fork or garden weasel and begin planting.  To plant you can either move large chunks of plastic as you go, or dig a large hole removing the plastic in only the areas you plan to plant on and leaving the rest covered in plastic to serve as a weed barrier.  This is something the whole family can do together no matter their age and be sure to make it a family decision which edibles will be planted.  Too much time is spent indoor these days and what a great way to get the family together on a fun and delectable project.

Do some homework on what edibles do well in your area, for Central Texas and North Austin in particular, I have complied a list of my personal favorite’s you can find them on my facebook page at Lisa’s Landscape & Design 

On the same topic, check out Square Foot Gardening

Then go get your edible garden on!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design                                                                                                                                                                     

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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  1. I can definitely agree with that one…nothing more satisfying than watching your kids grow and harvest their own food:) Its the best lesson ever….

  2. Ashu

    Can we lay the Painter’s plastic on top of area full of weeds to smother them and turn to organic matter? Will that work for starting the vegetable patch or should we first remove the weeds? There are too many to remove in that patch.

    • Painters plastic is an excellent solution for this. Cover the entire area with painters plastic and anchor with landscape pins. This is a great solution for a weeded area or a lawn patch you would like to convert to a bed. Leave the plastic on for several weeks until all of the green and seed are dead, then cover heavily with mulch, then plant.

    • Ashu, that is a great way to create a new garden space. Be sure the plastic is at least 4mm so it will not tear easily, then allow it to kill the grass beneath. Once the ground below is completely free of green, remove the plastic and cover deeply with mulch 😉 Happy Gardening!

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