As long as I’ve had a home I’ve had a vegetable garden. It has been one of the greatest joys, but sometimes a real pain. But I’m not just about veggies when it comes to edible landscaping. We have fruit trees and bushes, perennial herbs, roots like horseradish, and even wild edibles like purslane. The most important thing to me is to find something outside to flesh out a meal at any time of the year.
Growing My Own Food
I’m Scottish and cheap by nature, so it makes sense to grow as much of my own food as possible. Since our property is new, the fruit and nut trees are not yet producing, but in a couple of years I will be enjoying apples, plums, nectarines, apricots, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. All that food will really keep the grocery budget down, which is a winner in my book.
The vegetable garden provides us with food during the season but also dried, frozen, and canned selections for the winter. That bumper crop of zucchini gets grated and frozen for fried cakes, or fritters, and of course, zucchini bread. Even herbs like chives are chopped and dried in the sun for winter use. My perennial edibles stand the test of time and are somewhat available in fall or winter. I can find enough sage for Thanksgiving dinner, and the horseradish is always ready to provide its zest, provided the ground isn’t too frozen to dig up a root.
I deliberately set out to create edible landscaping. Not only is this cheaper and healthier than grocery offerings, but we live in the middle of nowhere and must travel almost an hour for our monthly grocery trip. If I suddenly need a pepper for something I am making, the only option is to have it in the garden or processed at the home. The canning kit is a must, as is the food dehydrator. I even have my eye on a freeze dryer, but they are rather expensive. Having my own homemade tomato sauce for pasta or pizza is better than take-away, as is pesto, salsa, and any other sauce I decide to make.
Edible landscaping is even more important during the pandemic. We try to limit our store visits and keep on hand what we need for at least a month. That once a month trip does some serious damage to the grocery budget, but is mitigated by my perennial edibles and vegetable garden. Plus I know what goes into my food. Nothing but organic amendments, and natural pest and fungal sprays. That means my food is safe and healthy, with no toxins.
Could I live without growing my own food? Probably. But the alternative comes with many costs, and the joy of growing my own food outweighs the labor. Few things make me happier than the first snow peas of the season and the first tomato salad. It also extends into winter when I can soak sun dried tomatoes to add to pizza, or open a can of homemade apple sauce. Gardening isn’t for everyone, but it sure is right for me.