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advice request for suburban edible landscaping

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Good morning

I'm new to this site, I live in suburban Illinois, in a cookie cutter house, in a neighborhood where the primary landscaping resembles a golf course. I love the idea of edible landscaping. Last year my father helped me plant a vegetable garden with raised beds, he burried branches and shrubbery burred in them. We bought an organic mix from the local landscape supply of topsoil compost and composted manure. It was very productive, in my first year we had enough tomatoes to can after supplying my family and mother in law with all we could eat. We also planted blueberries, currents and gooseberries along the front of the house, and row of fruit trees to replace a hedge row along the side. The back yard has several large trees and is mostly shade, I ordered some hazelnut trees, and pawpaws to plant this year.

I would love suggestions as to what I could add to the mix. I'm in zone 5. I have the veggie garden in the prime location on the south side of the house. What I need mostly are pretty, productive shrubs for the front of the house (facing west) and productive understory plants. I would love to turn the entire lot into a productive garden, but we are planning to move in 5-10 years. I'm not sure I could leave if I put all my heart into it.

Thank you.
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Hey Sunshine,

You might want to reach out to my wife the edible landscaper for some ideas: http://www.ediblelandscaper.com/

This website is full of good resources too: http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-landscaping-basics/

Also here's an excerpt from an online video course http://organiclifeguru.com/course/how-to-grow-a-medicinal-food-forest/ on how to grow your own food forest that you may get some ideas from:


Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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Seaberry and aronia make really attractive landscape shrubs. I had an aronia in front of my house and it was lovely - large spring blooms, attractive berries and colorful fall foliage. Seaberry is supposed to be nice, too. There's also a red form of hazelnuts that is very attractive. I had two but they were too far apart to pollinate each other well, so I never got nuts.

You can grow strawberries under the foundation planting shrubs, and daylilies are edible. Lemon grass makes an attractive fountain grass alternative, and grows quite large for what would be an annual in your area. It's great for cooking and making tea. I made additional beds by planting trees/shrubs along both sides of the driveway. If you keep it mulched and put in some flowers between it blends with suburbia quite well (consider nectary flowers and comfrey between the trees/bushes!). You can also grow, in your flower beds, garlic chives, regular chives, and really all kinds of herbs.

You can also make self-watering containers out of two 5 gallon buckets and grow smaller plants in them, put wherever you like for sun or shade. I found that hot peppers and eggplant did really well on the hot asphalt at the top of the driveway.
Posts: 562
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I want to add, put in some nitrogen fixing trees or shrubs if you can, such as siberian pea shrub (mine's only small, but very decorative) or laburnum with its beautiful yellow flowers; laburnum is toxic, but is a lovely tree and insects love it. There's also goumi, which I don't have personal experience with, but it's both edible and N-fixing.

And there's bamboo which I'm obsessed with at the moment; you can eat the shoots, and its timber is very useful all over the garden; the birds adore it, and it's just lovely to look at and listen to.

I would also add plenty of insectory plants and flowers to help you with your pollination and to also add beauty; I would suggest buddleia (not edible, but a butterfly magnet!), calendula (edible), nasturtium (edible), daffodils (not edible, but attracts early bees to your early-flowering fruit trees), lupin (not edible, but N-fixing), borage (edible).
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