12 tips for a vibrant spring garden

February 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on 12 tips for a vibrant spring garden

When the frost begins to thaw and the first signs of spring appear, it’s time to start thinking about your garden. While it’s true that many of your plants won’t fully come to life for another six months, the more you can knock off your list before spring, the better off your plants , lawn, and schedule will be. So even if you’re still enjoying cozy time in front of the fire, consider tackling, or even preparing for, some outdoor chores during breaks in the weather. Weeding If you live in a snow-covered area, this task will have to wait, but if the thaw is on it’s the perfect time to tackle the first round of seasonal weeds. Since the soil is soft before the heat of summer cements it in, pull weeds and invasive grass for a jump start to the  spring weeding. The earlier and more frequently you pull them, the easier they are to control throughout the season. Related: 11 unique edible plants for your garden Building  If the weather outside is still too severe to work the ground, there are still ways to prep your garden from within the cover of your workshop. Plan and build trellises, arbors and raised beds in preparation for the planting season. Fencing If the heavy frost is past, dig into that fence-building project. Your post hole digger will glide through the soil much easier early in the year than it will if you wait until August. Plus, your garden space will be protected from wildlife and domestic animals before you even get the seeds in the ground. Transplanting It’s important to get your plants established before the growing season begins so they are ready to accept nutrients and thrive. Deciduous trees and shrubs still in their dormant season can be moved as long as the ground isn’t too frozen or too wet. Evergreen flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons, myrtles, azaleas and camellias can be moved once the threat of frost has passed. Organizing Even if you can’t check weeding or planting off your list, late winter is the ideal time to care for your lawn and garden supplies. Choose a reasonably agreeable weather day and empty the garden shed or supplies from the garage. Wash planting pots and allow them to dry. Clean and add protectants to tools. Also, sharpen blades and take an inventory of trimmer string and similar supplies that need replacing. Reorganize tools and supplies and donate unneeded or duplicate items to your local Habitat for Humanity reStore. Also, create a planting calendar so you have an idea of the workload in the upcoming months. Organize your seeds in a box in order of when they need planting — whether you’re using indoor starts, a greenhouse, or direct planting. This is also the perfect time to order seeds or plants. Make sure to check out your local extension office for garden plant sales nearby. While you’re in planning mode, make a list of desired projects for the year and create a workable timeline for each, complete with a budget. Edging Lawn edging is another task that is much easier in soft soil so tidy up the edges around all lawns and add a border if it’s in your plans. It will make mowing and other maintenance much easier throughout the season. Deadheading As your plants begin to rise from their winter slumber, deadhead last year’s growth as appropriate for each plant. Trim off spent blooms you may have missed in the fall, including the foliage from  ornamental grasses . Also, remove the faded flowers from winter pansies and other current bloomers to extend their blooming season. Caring for fruit February and March (if this is winter in your area) are the time to get root plants in the ground. This includes blueberries and raspberries. For fruit trees, protect them from the birds by adding netting before the fruit begins to develop. It’s much easier to cover plants and trees before they fill out with a full bloom. If you already have established berries, go ahead and cut them back now as the growing season begins. Pruning trees While we’re discussing trees, late winter is still a dormant time where trees respond well to pruning. It’s also easier to see the growth pattern of the branches so you can select which of them needs to be trimmed back. Avoid pruning spring-blooming trees  until after they have completed their bloom season. Pruning shrubs and climbers Now is also the time to trim back ivy, wisteria and other climbers as well as hearty shrubs like boxwood. Creating a shape now drops care down to a maintenance level for the season , meaning you will just need to monitor its growth, feeding, and watering. Feed the birds Even though the temperatures may be starting to level out or rise, the birds are still foraging for food so give them a handout. Clean and fill bird feeders with quality food to keep them coming back for more. Dig a pond If you have set a goal of putting in a pond or other feature, dust off the design and get digging now. Again, you’ll find it much easier to create a hole in soft soil than rock hard tundra . If it will be a while before you finish the task, make sure the hole is properly covered to avoid accidents. Via Thompson and Morgan Images via Pexels and Pixabay

See original here: 
12 tips for a vibrant spring garden

Abandoned amusement park to gain new life as a nature park in Suzhou

February 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Abandoned amusement park to gain new life as a nature park in Suzhou

In Suzhou, China, an abandoned amusement park is being transformed into a 74-hectare nature park that will include a decommissioned roller coaster transformed into a habitat for birds. The innovative, adaptive reuse project is the work of international firm Tom Leader Studio Landscape Architecture , who won a design competition for the park and brought on California-based Kuth Ranieri Architects for help with the design. Named ‘Shishan Park’ after its location at the foot of Shishan (Chinese for ‘Lion Mountain’), the urban park will provide a variety of family-oriented recreational amenities to cater to a rapidly growing, high-tech hub. Located west of Suzhou’s historic center, the dated amusement park received renewed attention from the government as the growth of high-density neighborhoods began overtaking the outskirts of town. Tom Leader Studio Landscape Architecture’s winning competition entry emphasizes a connection with nature and takes cues from Chinese culture and the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Classical Gardens of Suzhou. Traditional Chinese ink paintings, also known as shan shui, inspired the architecture and landscape design for the project, which includes a variety of pavilions placed along a 1.5-mile-long promenade that encircles the mountain and the newly enlarged Shishan Lake.  Related: Perkins+Will unveil plans for green-roofed Suzhou Science & Technology Museum In addition to repurposing a roller coaster into a 160,000-square-foot aviary that will house around 20 species of indigenous birds, Kuth Ranieri Architects also led the design of the pavilions . This includes the Flower Pavilion, a 4,000-square-foot tea house; the 1,000-square-foot Lake Pavilion; a 13,400-square-foot Sports Pavilion; and the series of 2,000-square-foot Restroom Pavilions. The pavilions will be strategically placed along the path to frame select views. The architectural elements pay homage to traditional Chinese architecture and include cruciform steel columns, local blue brick screen walls, tapered wood eaves and exposed wooden joints.  “The pavilions are as open as possible, framing views and allowing pedestrians to pass through as they explore the park,” according to the Shishan Park Pavilions project statement. “Through a shared language of construction, geometries and forms, this cohesive series of structures provides amenities to visitors while seamlessly integrating into the landscape.” Shishan Park will also be embedded with a stormwater runoff system to responsibly capture and manage rainfall. + Tom Leader Studio Landscape Architecture Images via Kuth Ranieri Architects

Excerpt from: 
Abandoned amusement park to gain new life as a nature park in Suzhou

Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

January 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

Developed with the tagline “Grow whatever your heart desires, wherever you are,” Sherpa Light is a tunable artificial light source with the potential to replicate the exact sunlight conditions needed to grow any plant from around the world. Using tunable, full-spectrum LEDs , the device was created to emit different lighting intensities depending on the plant’s cellular structure to optimize growth. Korea-based design studio  Sherpa Space  developed the Sherpa Light and recently showcased their prototype product at CES 2020, where it was named an honoree of the event’s Innovation Award. Sherpa Space was founded to enhance plant growth through technology. The designers say that sunlight falls short of producing the optimal light settings that different plants need at different growth stages. They believe that their artificial lights, which use an adjustable combination of narrow-band LEDs, are best suited to generating the right light conditions — such as intensity, photoperiod, and quality — needed to optimize plant health, from growth and flowering to the enhancement of leaf quality and the concentration of desired chemicals in plants. “Much like how a baby first needs breastfeeding and later switches to solid foods, plants also need different lights and nutrition at different growth stages for maximum growth,” the designers said in a project statement. “For instance, flowering can be promoted in many crops by changing the wavelength given to a plant. Sherpa Space’s unique competitive advantage lies in our ability to convert light wavelengths with minimal energy loss. Using the quantum dot technology, we can provide lights of specific wavelengths optimized not only for each plant but also for each growth stage. As a result, we maximize crops’ nutrient compositions and productivity.” Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive The designers also say that Sherpa Light could be the key to recreating the desired flavor components of certain fruits and vegetables that are typically only enjoyed in the region where they’re grown. For instance, they claim that mangos grown with Sherpa Light in Canada could taste just as good as those in India. There is no word yet of when this product will be made available for sale or testing.  + Sherpa Space Images via Sherpa Space and Inhabitat

Here is the original:
Sherpa Light for indoor farming wins CES 2020 Innovation Award

A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam

December 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam

In Vietnam’s coastal region of Quang Ngai, a one-of-a-kind home with a roof topped with fresh vegetables has infused new life into a rural village. Designed by Ho Chi Minh City-based architecture firm TAA DESIGN , the recently completed home — dubbed The Red Roof after its red facade and eye-catching roof — is the residence of a married couple who grew up in the area and sought a unique home conducive to their traditional cultural lifestyle. Designed with an emphasis on connecting with nature, the home features a flourishing vegetable garden on its roof and multiple courtyards for seamless indoor-outdoor living. Located along the main road of the village, The Red Roof is a compact residence of 80 square meters that stretches east to west on a long and narrow plot. Accessed from the west end, the entrance leads past a gated front yard with a bicycle repair space to a covered porch that opens up to a double-height living room. Tucked behind is a kitchen and dining area next to a small interior courtyard and bathroom. A set of stairs to the mezzanine and the rice storage area separates the kitchen from the master bedroom in the rear; this space leads to the small backyard. Related: This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy and water A second bedroom with a bathroom and an alter room are located on the mezzanine level. The alter room has access to a courtyard and the terraced vegetable gardens on the roof. The vegetable garden not only gives the couple ample opportunities to indulge in their love of gardening and cooking, but it also helps tighten bonds with the community, who benefit from the harvest. “In Vietnamese traditional landscape, ‘the red roof’ house represented for a time of regional local architecture,” the architects said in a statement. “However, now new multi-story houses with steel roofs seem to have lost the identity of village landscape.” The architects used a stair-step method as to not overwhelm the urban landscape with another towering, steel structure. Instead, the stair-step design “establishes the communication between the space on the roof and the space under the road. ‘The red roof’ has the intent to keep, to store and remind the familiar rural lifestyle.” + TAA DESIGN Images via TAA DESIGN

Here is the original: 
A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam

Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

December 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

The formerly industrial borough of Harbugh in Hamburg, Germany will soon get a strikingly modern and eco-conscious facelift thanks to Neuländer Quarree, a new mixed-use community planned for the area. Cape Town-based architecture and design firm SAOTA won the architectural competition for the project with its design of a net-zero energy development powered by geothermal wells, wood pellet-fuelled cogeneration plants and photovoltaic panels. The project was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Residential Future Project category of the World Architecture Festival, a global architectural awards program and festival, earlier this month. Created in collaboration with Cologne-based BeL Architecture and Berlin-based ROBERTNEUN Architects, the new Neuländer Quarree design aims to revitalize the Harburg inland port with mixed programming and an attractive streetscape with contemporary architecture rooted in historic context. The development will span a site of approximately 44,000 square meters and include 400 apartments, a hotel, offices, retail trade and a technology park with space for businesses, manufacturing and crafts. Related: LAVA designs carbon-neutral LIFE Hamburg with an edible green roof “What sets this project apart is the introduction of communal roof gardens and a variety of social functions on the roof, including sports facilities with running and walking routes, outside dining areas, toddler and kids play areas, an outside cinema and a large area dedicated to urban agriculture,” said Phillippe Fouché, director of SAOTA, in a press release. “As a public gesture, the design introduces a raised public enclave which allows visual access to the canal, the steps leading to it also double as urban seating and meeting place, creating an inclusive urban interface.” Sustainability is also a key feature of the net-zero energy community and part of the overarching goal of promoting “long-term commitment to future residents and users.” In addition to the sculptural buildings, the waterfront development will be defined by attractive public spaces and retail to attract residents and visitors alike. Construction on Neuländer Quarree is scheduled for 2020 with planned completion in 2023. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

See the original post here: 
Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

How to grow your own pumpkins

October 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on How to grow your own pumpkins

Fall is the time of year when we pull out the sweaters and boots, add a jacket to our attire and immerse ourselves in all things pumpkin. From creamer to donuts to home decor , pumpkins represent autumn from when the first leaf falls to long after the Thanksgiving dishes have been dried and put away. Of course, there is also the age-old practice of carving pumpkins for Halloween. While every supermarket has mounds of pumpkins ready for purchase, with a little planning you can grow and harvest your own pumpkins for everything from jack-o’-lanterns to pumpkin bread. Plan ahead By the time October hits, all you can really do is plan for next year’s garden (which is a great idea!). Seeds should go into the ground between the end of May and mid-July, depending on where you live. Be sure you don’t plant too early in the season. Although the plants will thrive and produce fruit happily throughout the late summer and early fall, you may find yourself with rotten fruit before the pumpkin-carving party if they ripen months beforehand. Provide space Pumpkin plants ramble. In fact, they will take over and may cause problems if confined, so give them a dedicated area to thrive. This is not a plant that will be successful on an apartment balcony. Allow them ample room to bush out without running into other garden crops, outbuildings or fencing. For planning purposes, set aside around 9-10 feet in each direction for each mound of plants (around 100 square feet). Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) Mound it up Rounded mounds of soil provide the drainage and depth pumpkins need to thrive. Pumpkin seeds and vines are finicky, so you don’t want to handle or transplant them once they are in soil . To avoid disturbing them, make sure your mounds are established before planting. Set them at least 5-6 feet apart from each other. Let it shine When choosing the location for your pumpkin mounds, select a space that receives a lot of sunlight . Pumpkin seeds don’t do well in cold soil or dirt that is too wet. They prefer a warm environment, so choose your selection with that in mind. Choose preferred varieties There are many varieties of pumpkins, some that look more like squash in shape and color. In fact, many people use the labels squash and pumpkin interchangeably. There are also a variety of sizes, from small decorative options to giant, 100-pound versions. Choose your seeds well to match the space you have available. Related: How to cook and enjoy 10 types of squash other than pumpkin Make them share Pumpkins grow well in clusters. To find the strongest plants, plant five or six seeds per mound. Seeds should be pressed into the soil about one inch deep and lightly covered. Once they are well-established, thin to the healthiest two to three plants per mound. Each plant will produce multiple pumpkins . You can see the potential when the plants bloom flowers. Soon, each of those flowers will have a pumpkin behind it beginning to form. Be mindful though — only female flowers produce fruit. The male flowers bloom briefly, giving bees an opportunity to find the flowering vines. Then, they drop off the plant. Female flowers, however, will show the bulb of the green emerging fruit behind them. Keep the weeds out Weeds can choke out the productivity of your pumpkin plants, so keep them at bay by frequently checking for new growth and removing them early on. A hoe works well for this task to avoid the back and knee strain from getting on the ground. Try not to dig too deep, which could interfere with the roots of the pumpkin plants. Avoid harmful weed killers anywhere near your plants (and preferably your entire yard). Applying mulch to pumpkin plants will help keep the weeds away and hold the moisture in. Stick to a watering schedule Pumpkins are fairly forgiving of a little neglect when it comes to water , as long as they have a chance to get established with reliable drinks. Give them a drink at least once each week, saturating the soil around the base of each plant while avoiding leaves and fruit wherever possible. In the beginning though, avoid flooding the seed and seedlings as they become established. Instead, give them shallow drinks. Schedule an extra watering if the weather is extreme during the early summer growing season. Growing care You won’t have to dote on your growing pumpkins too frequently. Given the right location, soil and temperature, they are pretty self-sufficient. If you are planning to use your pumpkins for carving, you may want to gently rotate them occasionally. This will help avoid pumpkins with a flat side and help them grow into a more uniform shape; however, the vines are persnickety, so use caution or the vine may be damaged. Tip: Set each pumpkin on a piece of cardboard and gently rotate it every few weeks for even heat and light. Harvest Your pumpkins will likely be ready to harvest during the last two weeks of September. They are ready when the stem is firm and the pumpkin turns from green to deep orange. Cut the stem carefully as most have sharp prickles. Use gloves and a sharp blade. Leave around 3-4 inches of stem attached to the pumpkin. You can leave the pumpkin attached to the vine, or cut it and leave it outside. However, if freezing weather is coming, cut your pumpkins and store them in a cool, dry location. Use as soon as possible for decor or your favorite recipe . Images via James Wheeler , Waldo Jaquith , Austin Kirk and K. Sayer

View post: 
How to grow your own pumpkins

Doctors are prescribing gardening to improve patients’ health

October 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Doctors are prescribing gardening to improve patients’ health

During their prime, Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir had waxed eloquent about nature’s ability to soothe and rejuvenate the soul, championing nature’s spiritual and restorative benefits. Today, modern science is taking heed of their message as ecotherapy enters the mainstream medical realm, with gardening, or horticultural ecotherapy, being prescribed to some patients at a medical practice in Manchester, England. Doctors at the Cornbrook Medical Practice in Manchester, England have been prescribing some patients, who have anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation, with a unique form of medicine — ecotherapy in the form of gardening . Each patient is given a dosage of plants, which should be cared for and then returned to the medical center after a set amount of time. Upon return, the patient will carefully transplant their plants into the center’s community garden. Related: Doctor’s orders — 2 hours in nature boosts mental health, study says The medical practice’s garden is now blooming with herbs, flowers and produce , including broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Many of the patients live in the city and have little to no access to green spaces, especially gardens, so the community garden offers them a place to nourish their assigned plants and mingle with others. Things are looking good at Cornbrook, our courgettes are huge and we finally got our beautiful murals up! #communitygarden #growyourown #hulme pic.twitter.com/KL2dzNhjv3 — Cornbrook Wellbeing Garden (@CornbrookGarden) August 30, 2019 “Having something to care for brings so many benefits to people — especially for those who may not have a garden or be able to have pets,” said Augusta Ward , a medical secretary at Cornbrook Medical Practice. “The plant is then a reason to come back to the surgery and get involved in all the other activities in our garden and make new friends.” Ecotherapy is not a modern concept. For one, poets like Romantic William Wordsworth and Transcendentalist Walt Whitman have recounted the harmony and inner joy that comes from contemplating nature’s majesty. While ecotherapy is an emerging Western healing art, it has long been in practice in Native American and Asian cultures. Research has also shown that contact with nature heals, because it transforms us, helps us to unwind and boosts the body’s natural endorphins to relieve stress. Scientific evidence has revealed that reconnecting with nature elevates rates of health , immunity, fitness, stamina, self-esteem, social connection, happiness and well-being. It is no wonder, then, that there are healthcare providers who are now giving “ nature ” and “garden” prescriptions to their patients. An added bonus is that horticultural ecotherapy offers a simple, cost-effective means of improving well-being. “I’ve seen how our patients relax in the garden, and how they then get involved in wider events like picking litter, which all adds to pride in our area,” said Dr. Phillipa James, a general practitioner at the medical practice. “There’s a lot of evidence now about how two hours a week in a green space can lift mood — and then that, too, has physical, mental and emotional benefits. That’s something we need to harness.” + Cornbrook Wellbeing Garden Via The Guardian and Manchester Evening News Image via Lukas

Read the original post:
Doctors are prescribing gardening to improve patients’ health

Best US cities for vegans and vegetarians for World Vegetarian Day

October 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Best US cities for vegans and vegetarians for World Vegetarian Day

Vegetarians and vegans frequently discuss the best cities to live in or visit, because it’s easier to enjoy a place when there are restaurants and activities that match your preferences. WalletHub’s new study , “Best Cities for Vegetarians and Vegans,” uses a variety of sources and statistics to rank the 100 biggest American cities for affordability, diversity, accessibility and quality, vegetarian lifestyle and overall rank. Just in time for World Vegetarian Day on October 1 and World Vegan Day on November 1, here’s what WalletHub found. The overall winners are: 1. Portland, Oregon 2. Los Angeles, California 3. Orlando, Florida 4. Seattle, Washington 5. Austin, Texas 6. Atlanta, Georgia 7. New York City, New York 8. San Francisco, California 9. San Diego, California 10. Tampa, Florida WalletHub used 17 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness, including grocery costs, proportion of high-ranking plant-based restaurants on online review sites, farmers’ markets and community gardens per capita and the presence of local vegetarian fests and veg cooking classes. The data came from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feeding America, Yelp, TripAdvisor, USDA Organic INTEGRITY Database, The Trust for Public Land, United States Department of Agriculture, GrubHub, Meetup and Vegan.com. Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Some of the more social factors, such as festivals and meetups, as well as GrubHub’s list of cities with customers that are most likely to order veg dishes, factored into the vegetarian lifestyle rank. The top five there included a couple of surprises: Anaheim, California and Durham, North Carolina, in addition to the more expected San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Affordability had a roughly inverse correlation to veg lifestyle rankings. The top two most affordable cities — Laredo and Corpus Christi, Texas — ranked 98 and 93 on the vegetarian lifestyle index. The best chance of combining affordability with overall rank was Austin , which ranked fifth overall, 11th in affordability but still only 34th in vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, vegetarians will want to know which cities were at the bottom of the list, so if they visit, they can stock up on vegan protein bars beforehand. Here are the least veg-friendly cities in the U.S.: 91. Memphis, Tennessee 92. Tulsa, Oklahoma 93. Stockton, California 94. Winston-Salem, North Carolina 95. Henderson, Nevada 96. Baton Rouge, Lousiana 97: North Las Vegas, Nevada 98. Greensboro, North Carolina 99. San Bernardino, California 100. El Paso, Texas + WalletHub Image via Tony Webster

See original here:
Best US cities for vegans and vegetarians for World Vegetarian Day

LEED Gold-seeking wildlife center emphasizes energy conservation in Quebec

October 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on LEED Gold-seeking wildlife center emphasizes energy conservation in Quebec

The Canadian city of Laval in southwestern Quebec has recently gained a new wildlife interpretation center with an impressive, energy-efficient design. It’s the first of its kind in the city and is targeting LEED NC v3 Gold certification . Designed by Montreal-based architecture firm Cardin Julien , the $11.5 million project provides a new community and educational resource for visitors to Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, an urban wildlife sanctuary that spans 26 hectares rich with recreational opportunities including kayaking, canoeing and island hiking. Completed October 2018, the Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles exploration center features a main building with three floors. The ground floor houses a large multipurpose hall with a cafe and reception area framing views of the river through full-height glazing as well as museum programming and a monitoring room for conferences and events. The equipment rental space, locker room, ecology laboratory, researchers’ offices and day camp facilities are placed on the lower “river” level. The uppermost floor comprises an employee relaxation area and a flexible multipurpose room that can be partitioned into three sections. Related: Minimalist TRIPTYCH house pulls the Quebec outdoors in “In order for the project to integrate seamlessly into its environment, the use of wood was recommended for the building’s exterior,” reads the press release. “This material, which can also be found inside the building, fosters a warm environment and allows a connection between visitors and the nature around them. In addition, the structure was built in such a way that it preserves the mature trees growing onsite.” The project also includes a new parking pad, bike path, pedestrian walkways and landscaping as well as a new workshop and equipment distribution kiosk housed in a renovated stable. The main building is topped with a green roof as part of the project’s water conservation strategy that includes rainwater recycling. A high-performance building envelope and strategically placed windows and roof overhangs help contribute to energy savings and visitor comfort. + Cardin Julien Photography by David Boyer via Cardin Julien

See the original post here: 
LEED Gold-seeking wildlife center emphasizes energy conservation in Quebec

11 unique edible plants for your garden

June 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on 11 unique edible plants for your garden

Part of the joy of gardening is falling in love with the plants you choose to nurture, especially those with a tasty reward. While the traditional carrots and raspberries certainly have their place, you can create a yard full of unique, yummy and eye-catching produce when you select plants that are a little less traditional. The produce department at your local supermarket might have a few dozen choices, there are actually hundreds of fruits and vegetables that you may have never even heard of, let alone considered growing. While some require special adaptations, such as tropical weather, most are just as easy to grow than the mainstream selections. Here are some examples to get you started. Jujube If you’re in USDA zone 5-9, check out the jujube. This is not the beloved candy by the same name, but the candy was inspired by this small, apple-like gem. Jujubes offer a sweet and sour flavor and can be eaten raw, although the sugars intensify when dried. Jujubes like hot, dry environments and tolerate drought quite well. Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food Pawpaw Another heat lover is the pawpaw, similar to tropical fruits like the related cherimoya and custard apple. Happy in zones 5-9, the pawpaw doesn’t do well on a commercial scale, but is a great addition to a backyard garden . The plants itself is a small, uniform tree that produces pleasant foliage. Quince You may have heard of quince jam or seen it on a menu at a restaurant, but few people actually grow quince themselves. At one time, quince trees were as ubiquitous as pear and apples and rightfully so since it is related to both. Quince must be cooked for eating, but the reward is equivalent to apple pie in a single fruit with flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, and a hint of citrus. Quince grows well in zones 4-9. Cattail Did you know cattail is edible? If you have a pond area be sure to include this plant in your design. Young stems can be eaten raw and young flowers can be roasted. In midsummer, the pollen from the cattail can be used as a type of flour in pancakes and breads. It also works as a thickener for soups and sauces. Young shoots on the plant can be cooked like asparagus by roasting or grilling. They can also be added to stir-fry for a distinct flavor. Chocolate Vine Less tropical than other options, the chocolate vine can even tolerate substantial amounts of shade. Best in zones 4-9, it produces sweet-smelling flowers in the spring and long pods later in the summer . The pods can be cooked like a vegetable but should be avoided raw. Before you toss them in the oven though, pop open the pod and scrape out the pulp, which resembles a banana/passionfruit custard that can be eaten directly or mixed with other fruits. Edible Flowers In addition to those traditional and non-traditional fruits and vegetables , remember than many flowers are edible too. This makes for many exciting options for your yard, even outside the designated garden gate. Include nasturtiums, violas, pansies, borage, and calendula in your landscape and you will have a cornucopia of salad greens at your fingertips. Maypop If you love passion fruit, but don’t live in the tropics , try this American cousin instead. Happy in zones 6-10, this vine not only offers a delectable fruit, but also produces large colorful blooms in the form of purple and white blossoms. Haksap More commonly known by a variety of names in the honeysuckle family, haksap produces a delicious sweet-tart berry that tastes like a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry. Almost as great as the tasty treat it produces is the gift it provides with its delicate downward trumpet-shaped blooms. Make sure to plant at least two of the same type of haksap together for effective pollination . Medlar Medlar is an ancient fruit, even though you may have never heard of it. For thousands of years, dating back to at least the Roman era, this small deciduous tree has produced small edible fruits. Related to roses, the one to two-inch fruit resembles large rosehips. The color is a rosy brown. For a commercial product, the medlar is a bit finicky since they have a very small window of the perfect ripeness for consumption. For the backyard gardener, though, your challenge might be picking them at the right time before the animals pluck them for you. Medlars adapt well in climates with hot summers and wintry winters. Red Meat Watermelon Radish While the flavor is similar to the traditional radish, the look is anything but. It’s a bit of a mind game when picking the small radishes off the plant, which look nearly identical to a spotted watermelon at 1/1000 the size. Red meat radishes are a cool weather crop and will bolt if planted when it is too warm. Serviceberry Placed right up next to your garden, trees, or perennials, serviceberries add a lively texture to your landscape and produce a yummy, yet non-commercial, fruit for your backyard enjoyment. Serviceberry grows well in a variety of zones because there are different varietals of trees and shrubs. It is a versatile and durable plant, growing wild in many areas. Plant it right up next to the house or in soggy areas of the yard where other plants are unhappy. Watch for the berries to ripen, which resemble blueberries in size and shape. Images via Shutterstock

Here is the original post: 
11 unique edible plants for your garden

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1631 access attempts in the last 7 days.