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.
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
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.
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.
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
Baba Red Raspberry or sometimes called a Bababerry
Indian Summer Red Raspberry
Black Monukka Grape (purple, table, seedless)
Flame Grape (red, table, seedless)
Perlette Grape (green, table, seedless)
Concord Grape (purple, table, seeds)
Multi grafted semi dwarf European Plum with the four following grafts:
Santa Rosa Plum
Big Jim Loquat
Sweet Pomegrante (needs less heat and does better here than wonderful)
Sunshine Blue Southern Highbush Blueberries
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
The vegetables I grow throughout the year, (but not all of them necessarily every year, separately as cool season and warm season crops):
Sugar Snap Peas
Many kinds of lettuce including red romaine, buttercrunch, red sails, and whatever sparks my fancy.
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.)
Yellow wax beans
Scarlet runner Beans
Herbs I currently grow include:
Lots and lots of Italian Parsley
3 kinds of rosemary
3 kinds of culinary sage
(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:
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.
I also like a yellow variety,” Anne.” However, I don’t currently grow them.