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Your salad and all your herbs could be within 50 ft of your table as they are at this restaurant in California

Terraced polyculture makes efficient use of land, water and light on steep slopes

Click to view pix of our handmade 10,000 gallon ferrocement rainwater tank project,
Bloomington, IN.

Edible / Residential Landscapes

An edible landscape mimics natural systems and replaces plants that are strictly ornamental with plants that produce food or are useful in various ways. An edible landscape is an attractive, multidimensional, species-rich, polyculture weave of fruits, vegetables, nuts, animals. A well-designed residential landscape will have colorful fruits and foliage, make efficient use of water, fuel, money and time and be easier to maintain.


* Improved Taste and Nutrition of Food: Nutrient content and flavor in most plants is highest immediately after harvest. The edible landscape provides fresh foods which can be eaten minutes. In addition, many exceptional and flavorful varieties not found at food markets are available to growers of edible landscapes.

* Increased Food Security: An edible landscape reduces your dependence on foreign food sources.

* Reduced Food Costs: Some edibles are highly productive and are more economical to grow at home than to purchase.

* Convenience: Having fruits and vegetables right outside your home may help you add fresher, healthier foods to your diet and makes meal preparation easier.

* Fun and Exercise: Growing your own crops can be rewarding and fun; the exercise you get in the process can help you stay fit.

* Sustainability: Consuming locally grown produce can be an important part of reducing energy inputs and protecting our environment.

Designing and Managing the Edible Landscape


Most food-producing plants need sunny locations and well-drained soils. Certain fruit trees easily integrate into a landscape and function in multiple ways - as shade and/or flowering trees as well as edibles. Smaller fruiting plants can substitute as shrubbery and some perennial herbs make nice ground covers. Both can be inter-planted with existing ornamental shrubs and ground covers. However, edibles, like vegetables or seasonal herbs that are planted and harvested frequently, should probably be planted in a garden solely devoted to their production. This allows you to amend and cultivate the soil without disturbing the permanent plantings.


Edible plants, like ornamental plants, require maintenance. Maintenance can be reduced by planting the "right plant in the right place," matching a plant's growing requirements with the site conditions. When growing vegetables, consider the season as well, since they only grow at specific times of the year. All plants require some pruning, fertilizer, and water, as well as monitoring for pest problems. Take special care to select pesticides and fertilizers that are appropriate and safe on plants to be consumed.


Harvesting the "fruits of your labor" is rewarding, but sometimes challenging. Keeping up with ripening fruits and vegetables may require weekly, or even daily, monitoring during the harvest period. Highly perishable crops will require either quick processing, such as canning, freezing, or drying, or friends and neighbors to accept the abundance.

Click here to get a Site Evaluation Questionnaire (html format) which you can print out and mail to:
Patterns for Abundance
PO Box 182, Montague, MI 49437 USA 812-335-0383
For a MS Word version click here.    For a PDF version click here.
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