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July 1, 2022



Even though the concept of foodscaping has been around for a long time, most gardeners still tend to keep their food garden hidden – tucked away where their neighbors and their HOA won’t see. But a better way could be hiding veggies, fruit, herbs, and even grains in amongst trees, shrubs, and perennials. There doesn’t need to be a distinction between a landscape and a food garden.

Fresh, tasty produce is the primary benefit of foodscaping. A diet with more veggies enhances health and reduces chemical exposure if organic growing methods are used.

Here are some of the benefits. 

Ensuring clean eating. You control the type of soil, fertilizer, and seeds that are used.

Saving money. Buying 100 seeds is sometimes less expensive than buying one transplant.

Experiencing joy. Taking your food from seed to table is fun.

Involving kids. Kids are more likely to eat food they’ve grown.

Reducing your plastic use. You’ll be purchasing less produce at the grocery store. You can also use Eco-Pots instead of plastic seed-starting trays (they also make transplanting easier!).

Start by growing vegetables from seeds. If growing from seed is a whole new world for you, here’s a helpful resource all about growing plants from seed.

Food Miles

A grocery store has an average of 1,500 food miles per product. Consider garlic Since 2012, 90 percent of the garlic distributed in grocery stores comes from China, so when you grow your own, that’s 6,500 less food miles. Fewer food miles mean significant reductions in ship and truck emissions that harm the environment. In effect, local foodscaping supports global sustainability. 

Source: Lewis Gintre Botanical Garden by Foodscaping Lynn Kirk:

Start with

Focus on the sunniest areas since most vegetables prefer sun.

Start by planting edibles, such as arugula, basil, garlic and lettuce, along the edges of landscape beds. Peanuts and potatoes make good edgers, too.

Plant garlic to deter ground mammals, such as moles.

Repurpose underutilized beds by sowing seeds directly in the soil.

Plant vegetables and herbs in the landscape to support bio-diversity of the ornamental plants.

Experiment with sun-loving flowering shrubs (hydrangea, viburnum, forsythia) as “live stakes” for tall tomato plants.

Garlic Growing


There are a variety of containers that can be adapted for growing plants. These include:

Old wheelbarrows – these are great because they can be moved about

Old bathtubs or laundry tubs with holes for drainage

Plastic and terracotta pots – if these are on castors they can be moved around easily

Large pots, barrels, large terracotta pipes, and recycled containers
raised garden beds, which can be purpose-built to suit your needs.


The ideal soil for growing edible crops is:

  • Free-draining, but still able to retain moisture and nutrients
  • Rich in organic matter
  • Neutral pH to slightly acidic (pH 6 to 7)
  • Rich in soil life, such as earthworms.

To determine if your soil is free draining, dig a few small holes about 60 cm deep in different positions around your garden. Fill them with water and let it drain away, then refill it and time how long it takes to drain. The result will tell you:

If the rate of drainage is less than 2.5 cm (one inch) per hour, then you have poorly draining soil. This is a common feature of clay soils and can be improved by adding and digging in gypsum and compost. Alternatively, you may wish to plant plants that are suited to a waterlogged environment.

A rate of 2.5 to 15 cm (one to six inches) per hour indicates good drainage. You should be able to grow most edible crops well.

A drainage rate of faster than 15 cm (six inches) per hour is excessive and is a common characteristic of sandy soils. Fast-draining soils can be improved by digging in plenty of organic matter such as compost and manure.

Alternatively, you may wish to plant drought-tolerant plants.

You can use a pH kit to determine the pH (acidity or alkalinity) of your soil. MVG stocks a variety of soil testers.

An ideal soil pH for your edible garden is neutral to slightly acidic (pH 6 to 7). Acid soil can be adjusted by digging in calcium in the form of dolomite or lime. Alkaline soils are harder to correct, but may improve over time with the addition of Sulphur and compost.

Vegetable Soil
Watering Can


Vegetables benefit from a consistent watering schedule. Too little water and you may not get vegetables at all. Too much, and you can drown the roots and spoil the fruit. To ensure consistent watering, use a watering nozzle at ground level to deliver even moisture to the plants at their roots. To make the job effortless, hook your hose up to a programmable timer. Set it and focus on some of the more labor-intensive vegetable gardening tips. 

Improve Taste

Store-bought vegetables often lack flavor simply because they’re grown in the wrong season. Vegetables generally fall within two categories: those that love cool weather and those that need warm weather. Planting spinach and kale in the summer may sound like a good idea, but the results often taste bitter, and tomatoes won’t turn red in time if you plant them too close to fall. Plant at the proper times to reap the best garden harvest.

Vertical Vegetable Garden

Go Vertical

Use a Vertical Trellis or Fence to Save Space. Grow more in less space by going up instead of out. Garden trellises support plants, such as tomatoes, cucumber, beans, and small melons. The right trellis can even double your garden yield by increasing sunlight, easing harvest, and allowing for easier pest management.

Berries & Nuts

Have you thought about adding berry plants, or nuts & fruit trees to your landscape? 

So many fruit-bearing shrubs and nut trees serve multiple purposes. Beautiful, colorful blooms, privacy hedges, pollinator habitats, gorgeous fall color, and fruit!

Zone 5 is great for blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, pear, apple, cherry, plums, walnuts, hickory, hazelnut, and chestnuts are perfect for Ohio’s cold winters and warm growing season.



Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Once established, they generally prefer to be left alone. The oils that make them so delicious to us tend to make them less desirable to many garden pests. Rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro, oregano, lavender, bay laurel, sage, chives, marjoram, mint, and dill can all be grown indoors or out and they make great additions to your culinary efforts, without costing a dime at the grocery store.

Note: Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow; however, its roots, which are called “runners,” are incredibly invasive: they quickly grow, sprouting new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful. Plant them in a container to avoid them taking over your garden.


Perennial Plants

Depending on your local climate, there are many perennial food plants that can add shape and structure to the garden and put food in the pantry. Rhubarb, asparagus, lovage, ginger, artichokes, horseradish, mint, Saffron crocus, and strawberries are just a few edible plants that will come back each year, providing your family with fresh food.



Many edible plants are not technically perennial but can be regrown from uneaten parts. These plants include garlic, onions, leeks, potatoes, dill, fennel, peas, and sweet potatoes. When harvesting fennel, simply cut off the portion to be eaten at ground level, leaving the roots intact. New plants will continue to emerge from the same root system.

Annuals are the mainstay of most gardens, but they don’t have to be limited to traditional garden beds. Lettuces and spinach can be used as colorful accent plants around trees, among roses (pictured), or in containers. Sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, celery, and radishes make lovely additions to the landscape, transforming what was simply visual into something delicious and useful. 

A note on radishes and Napa cabbage: If allowed to go to seed, these plants can provide hundreds of delicious seed pods that work well in salads and stir-fry. The seed pods that fall to the ground can be allowed to grow, giving you an even bigger harvest next year.

Source: The Daily Garden:

You can transform your entire landscape into a foodscape, or you can slowly phase out ornamentals and replace them with food-producing plants.