We thought of closing the corridor with a straw bale wall to block the wind and have a useful vertical growing surface, but can't (local building regulations prohibit a wall of any kind to be so close to the neighboring property), so we need to revert to a hedge as wind break.
The hedge would need to be evergreen and thick enough to keep the cold air and wind out of the corridor and relatively fast growing (as in 2-3 years it is a hedge).
We first thought of Taxus as it is close enough to not provide shelter for the (by us very much disliked problem of) blackbirds. And while Taxus is not edible, the cuttings go to cancer research which has a high feel-doing-something-good thing going for it.
We then though of Laurel (Bay Leaf) since its leaves are a fantastic cooking ingredient. But we planted one in our garden 6 years ago, and it is now only about 1.6 meter at its highest point and about 50 cm at its widest. Super slow growing it seems.
What relatively quick growing edible evergreen hedges would you suggest to keep cold out of our garden corridor?
Good shrubs to grow as hedges: blueberry, bush plum, currant, gooseberry, hazelbert, natal plum, American cranberry bush, and the pineapple guava.
Some good edible shrubs to grow as a barrier: brambles (Blackberry and Raspberry), gooseberry, natal plum, and Rugosa rose.
here are the descriptions from the National Gardening Association
All shrubs below are deciduous and grow best in full sun and on well-drained soil unless otherwise stated.
• American Cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum) - This 6- to 10-foot- tall shrub is hardy in zones 3 to 8.
It produces white flowers in spring and bright red fruits in late summer.
The fruits are good in jams and they are an excellent wildlife food.
This sprawling shrub is best used as an informal hedge.
•Blueberry (Vaccinium) - Select varieties that are highbush (5 to 6 feet tall) or half-high (1 to 4 feet tall) depending on your location.
Southern and rabbiteye blueberries are highbush types adapted to the South.
Blueberries need a well-drained, acidic soil with the pH below 5. Add sulfur to lower the pH.
They can be planted near other acid-loving shrubs, such as holly. They are hardy in zones 3 to 9.
•Brambles (Rubus) - Hardy in zones 3 to 9, blackberries and raspberries make excellent barrier shrubs.
They can also be trained to grow along a fence in a narrow bed since their growth habit is so vertical.
Select spreading brambles, such as red raspberries and blackberries, as an informal barrier hedge.
Their suckers will quickly fill in the blank areas.
For a more contained barrier hedge, plant black raspberries that send up suckers from only around the crown of the plant and are less invasive.
For fruit production in summer and fall, grow everbearing red raspberries such as 'Heritage'.
•Bush Plums (Prunus) - Sometimes called cherry-plums, Nanking cherries,(sand cherries), small-fruited shrubs grow about 6 to 10 feet tall, have showy white flowers and 1/2-inch-diameter tart fruits they are hardy in zones 3 to 9 depending on the species.
The fruits are best used in jams and jellies. Sand cherries make good coastal plants because of their adaptation to salt spray and sandy soil.
•Currants and Gooseberries (Ribes) - White, red, and black currants make excellent foundation plants, and can be grouped to block an unsightly object, or grown into informal hedges.
Hardy in zones 3 to 8, most grow to 5 feet tall and have attractive and delicious fruits.
Red and white currants are best used as juices and for fresh eating, while black currants are best used in jams and preserves.
Black currants are the alternate host to a deadly disease of white pines (blister rust).
So if you have white pines growing near your property, grow disease-resistant black currant varieties such as 'Consort'.
Gooseberries grow to 3 to 4 feet tall and have thorny branches.
They produce tasty 1-inch-long fruits for fresh eating, pies and jams.
•Hazelbert (Corylus) - A cross between a filbert and a hazelnut, this 8- to 12-foot-tall shrub is hardy, has beautiful fall foliage, and produces edible nuts. It makes an excellent edible hedge.
•Natal Plum (Carissa grandiflora) - This tropical evergreen shrub is only hardy in zones 9 to 11.
It grows to 6 to 10 feet tall with fragrant, white flowers and edible red fruits.
The plum-shaped fruits taste like cranberries and can be used to make jam.
This is another good seaside plant. It makes an excellent foundation plant or hedge.
•Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana) - This large, evergreen, tropical, shrub grows to 15 feet tall and wide in zones 8 to 10. It produces edible, pear-shaped fruits with a pineapple- and strawberry-like flavor. These are best used as informal hedges.
•Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - This evergreen shrub is hardy in zones 9 to 11 and makes an excellent low hedge or border plant. The fragrant leaves are essential in many culinary dishes.
•Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa) - This species rose is hardy in zones 3 to 9, and can grow to 8 feet tall.
It produces edible, fragrant, white, pink, or red flowers in spring and red or orange rose hips in late summer.
The hips are high in vitamin C and best eaten raw, in teas or in jams.
The thorny branches make it an excellent barrier plant, especially since new shoots arise from root suckers. This is another good seaside plant.
For more ideas try the website of the National Gardening Association NGA
Where are you located?
Is said to fruit reliably and be evergreen. Is a nitrogen fixer with q strong history of being used as a hedge.
If you have the space, this is a great bush to have around. It does have some medicinal values in addition to being researched for treatment of cancer. (mostly used for colds, and as an immune system booster)
Steven Kovacs wrote:There's a similar discussion here: http://permies.com/t/58758/plants/privacy-hedge
I heartily second the evergreen huckleberry - Vaccinium ovatum. I purchased some very small bushes that fruited early (early as in young bushes, not necessarily early in the season) and heavily and the berries were delicious in addition to dense, glossy green leaves that reminded me of a boxwood hedge. Mine did not grow very quickly, though they were getting trampled rather frequently by a large, lumbering basset hound.
Another good evergreen shrub is Arbutus unedo, strawberry bush or tree. I didn't grow it myself, but it seemed to grow well and perhaps more quickly than some shrubs in parks and urban plantings near me. Technically an edible berry with high pectin, though not very tasty on its own (sour and rather mealy). I've heard birds like them, though the berries I saw seemed untouched even by birds. Though the large, round, red orbs are definitely very visually appealing, IMHO.
Another good evergreen shrub is Arbutus unedo, strawberry bush or tree. ... Technically an edible berry with high pectin, though not very tasty on its own (sour and rather mealy). I've heard birds like them, though the berries I saw seemed untouched even by birds. Though the large, round, red orbs are definitely very visually appealing.
What I'm hearing is that Strawberry tree fruit may not feed anyone directly but is a good, home-grown source of pectin for jam and jelly-making, in addition to being fast-growing and attractive. : )
While Bryan et al have certainly given you some viable options depending on climate and site conditions, you might achieve your goal more easily with, say, a stout evergreen bush to block the wind and an edible or medicinal vine climbing it, or a fast growing nurse tree with a slow growing high value tree.
It sounds like the site for this hedge is a tough spot, cold, windy and a little ways from the house (far enough it may not get regular attention). It would seem to me that a small polyculture would stand a better chance of flourishing under those circumstances.