Edible Landscaping

The hopscotch path hidden in the narrow side yard and shaded with 3 varieties of grapes

My favorite kind of gardening is edible landscaping.  Our little urban lot is jam packed with a variety of dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard sized fruit trees, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, lots of veggies, a variety of grapes, and kiwi.  Over the years, I have intermingled the edible plants throughout the yard due to the limited space.  Since we are on a small lot, there was no way to fit everything I want to grow to eat into the vegetable garden in the back corner of the property.  I have experimented with a variety of methods for growing fruit trees and grapes in more confined space.  Although I do have some of my stone fruit trees planted in clusters of three, like described in some backyard orchard publications, I have found over the last decade, I prefer a single trunk tree with multiple grafts, or I just pick my favorite variety and plant that one.  The groupings with two or more trees that I have are less vigorous fruit producers and one variety always seems to dominate and shade out the others.

I am very slowing encroaching on the front yard with my fruits and vegetables.  Right now the front yard still resembles an English cottage style garden, but with less thirsty plants since we are in Southern California.  My main concerns transitioning to more edibles out front are doing it an appealing manner because it is technically a publicly viewed space, only planting the things out there that folks would not think were food,  and still leaving enough room for some grass for the children and dog to play on.  Every year I take out a little more grass and expand the beds, and eventually, I plan to have no lawn out front by the time the children are grown.  Currently out front the edibles include a wide variety of herbs, a couple of blueberry plants, strawberries, grapes over the block wall, and edible flowers.  I have also grown cherry tomatoes out front, but so far, not this year.  The front yards I have seen, with the most attractive front yards landscaped with fruits and vegetables are the ones where there are perennials (like asparagus and herbs), shrubs (like blueberries), and other permanent plantings (like a fruit tree or two) with some annual vegetables and decorative edible flowers mixed in. I also feel a few decorative structures or other architectural elements carry a garden through all four seasons.

Front yard Edible landscape

The different fruit trees and berries around our property include:

Dorset Golden semi dwarf Apple

Anna semi dwarf Apple

Black Mission fig

Snow Queen semi dwarf nectarine

3 Stone fruit trees planted in one hole close together - two peaches and a nectarine

Red Baron semi dwarf peach – very pretty flowers and yummy fruit.

Desert Gold semi-dwarf peach – I don’t care for the texture or flavor of this variety, but it produces before all the others.

Babcock ultra dwarf peach (ultra dwarf is not an extra dwarfing rootstock.  It is a semi dwarf size tree from Pacific Groves, a supplier to places like OSH and Lowes.)

Panamint nectarine – a standard sized tree I got  on clearance at Target of all places.  It has been my best stone fruit to date.

Panamint Nectarine just starting to flower in Late February 2010

Giant Fuyu persimmon

Bearss dwarf Lime

Improved Meyer dwarf lemon

Owari x satsuma dwarf mandrine orange – This is my favorite out of all my trees.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon, Dwarf Bearss Lime, Dwarf Mandrine Orange

Big Jim loquat

Cara Cara Orange

Vincent Kiwi female and a second unknown variety, a male Kiwi that came with vincent

Chester Thornless Blackberry

Triple Crown Thornless Blackberry

Boysenberry Thornless

Hanbury Blackberry

Baba Red Raspberry or sometimes called a Bababerry

Indian Summer Red Raspberry

Indian Summer Red Raspberry

Black Monukka Grape (purple, table, seedless)

Flame Grape (red, table, seedless)

Perlette Grape (green, table, seedless)

Perlette Grapes are almost ripe and ready to pick - summer 2008

Concord Grape (purple, table, seeds)

Canadice Grape

Venus Grape

Multi grafted semi dwarf European Plum with the four following grafts:

Young Fruit developing on a branch of the Beauty Plum

Beauty Plum

Burgundy Plum

Santa Rosa Plum

Methley Plum

Big Jim Loquat

Big Jim Loquat fruit developing -January 2010

Sweet Pomegrante (needs less heat and does better here than wonderful)

Sunshine Blue Southern Highbush Blueberries

Sequoia Strawberries

Goji berry or wolf berries

*Psidium cattleianum,  a Strawberry Guava, but it is in a pot and I still need to find room for it.

 

The Veggie Garden

Looking through the picket gate to the vegetable garden: December 2009

The veggie garden entrance from the outside: April 2010

The vegetables I grow throughout the year, (but not all of them necessarily every year, separately as cool season and warm season crops):

Artichokes

brocoli

Brussel sprouts

Bush beans

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Chard

Cucumbers

Sugar Snap Peas

Snow peas

Pumpkins

Many kinds of lettuce including red romaine, buttercrunch, red sails, and whatever sparks my fancy.

Red Romaine, Red Sails, and Bibb Lettuce with alstromerias spilling over on the left. One of the chickens followed me in. She was kicked out after the photo before eating and scratching it all apart.

Purple cabbage

Tomatoes varieties I have  grown include: Sun sugar, sun gold, sugar snack, goliath, tom thumb, patio, celebrity, bush celebrity, champion, stupice, Super marzano, Lemon Boy, Better Boy, Early Girl, Health kick, Dona, jetsetter, Sweet 100, Sweet Milliion, and a few more I have forgotten.  This year I am trying: Gardener’s Delight, Bella Rosa, Big Beef, Sun Sugar, and Stupice.  ( My favorite tomatoes are Celebrity, Champion, Stupice, and Sun Sugar.)

Zucchini

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Yellow wax beans

Scarlet runner Beans

Pole Beans

Kohlrabi

Radish

Beets

My veggie seeds just starting to spout for summer.

Herbs I currently grow include:

Lots and lots of Italian Parsley

Basil

Oregano

Lemon Thyme

English Thyme

Tarragon

3 kinds of rosemary

3 kinds of culinary sage

Marjoram

Garlic Chives

chives

green onions.

(Many of the herbs are found in my front yard as part of the limited edible landscaping I have moved out there.)

Assorted Edible Pictures:

100_3989.jpg picture by GardenNerd

The Perlette Grape vine at the back side of the veggie garden last summer. The grape is about 5 years old in this photo.  These are usually ready to pick in July.

This is the outside view of the veggie garden, April 2009.  July 2009, I rebuilt the gate and fence taller and with more narrow spacing between the pickets to keep the hens out.  It is now classic white like most of the garden’s wooden structures.

100_3994.jpg picture by GardenNerd
Espaliered Anna Apple tree almost ready to harvest.  6 years old.  It has a heavy June to July crop and then a second small winter crop.
100_1007.jpg picture by GardenNerd
Owari x Satsuma Dwarf Mandrine.
10 years old and 4 feet tall.  It flowers in late March and usually is ready for picking after Thanksgiving.
100_1984.jpg picture by GardenNerd
Another view with the deciduous fruit trees and Japanese maples in the background.
Some are just coming into flower, late March 2009.
Also in the photo, the pullets are in the dog exercise pen.  It has bird netting, just in case a hawk decides to check them out.

Driveway gardening

100_0069.jpg picture by GardenNerd
The Baba red Raspberries are just starting to color up.  They are also called bababerries by some gardeners.  There is a late Spring/ early Summer crop and then a second early fall crop.
After trying many different varieties over the years, I have decided I like the consistency of this variety the best.
I also like a yellow variety,” Anne.” However, I don’t currently grow them.
Raspberries do well here, as long as they only have half day sun, are well mulched, and are consistently watered a couple of times a week in the warmer months, in addition to the winter rains.
The Vincent female Kiwi and male Kiwi

Vincent Kiwi with a male Kiwi on a trellis along the driveway

100_0072.jpg picture by GardenNerd
The Vincent Kiwi flowers in bloom.  This is a female variety of Kiwi, Chinese gooseberry.  It usually flowers here in late April though mid May.

Kiwi Friut developing in mid June 2010

100_0071.jpg picture by GardenNerd
Triple Crown Blackberries in flower in March and April.  We usually start picking after Mother’s Day and up until 4th of July.
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