Landscaping with vegetables

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In case you missed it, May 28 was World Hunger Day when world hunger was again recognized as the huge problem that it is today. The good news is that more and more organizations as well as individuals are making an attempt to do what they can to alleviate this problem.

One of the most beautiful examples of what is being done is the return to personal gardens in order to take responsibility for at least some portion of the food that is personally consumed, making use of whatever land is available whether it be in your backyard or in your front yard.

Front yard gardens are nothing new. The Romans and Chinese practiced this and in medieval times vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and an assortment of plants used in health care were all grown together in the front yard.

Many years later this personal home garden returned to popularity as a necessity. When the Japanese attacked us on Dec. 7, 1941, this country was ill-prepared to furnish enough food for all the citizens plus support the troops overseas. The government called for victory gardens and the response was such that it was as common to see a front yard being maintained as a vegetable garden as it was to see it maintained simply as a lawn.

Landscaping with vegetables, landscaping with fruits, landscaping with flowers and landscaping with herbs are all popular themes and books with a lot of information are available on the Internet.

The humanitarian need for more food is obvious and the economical rewards will be substantial.  Imagine how great it will feel to walk out your back or front door and pick fresh food for your table without having to go past the cashier. Container gardening may be the best and easiest way to go

Often fruit is overlooked because of the size of fruit trees; however, it is now possible to find dwarf fruit trees that grow no taller than four feet or so making them suitable for a small space. Consider nut bearing trees. Blueberry bushes make excellent hedges and a grape vine draped over a fence or trellis or around an arbor is a delight.

Landscaping with herbs offers the cook an excellent opportunity where he is able to have fresh herbs to incorporate in his cooking. As with almost every other food, herb prices are increasing.

If landscaping with flowers is your choice, it may be hard to tell that the flowers are chosen only because some portion of it is edible. You would probably have roses, chrysanthemums, calendula, tulips and many, many more flowers that are partially edible (usually the blossom) but be sure you know what you are dealing with and exactly what part is edible. Some flowers have a part that is edible while other parts of it may be deadly. Do not eat flowers from a florist or flowers that have been grown by a roadside.

If planting only a few vegetables, you can add to the beauty by underplanting. For example, plant Swiss kale in a small row or other design and underplant with strawberry plants. The strawberries will give you small white blossoms in the spring and turn an attractive deep reddish brown in the fall in addition to the fresh strawberries.

If landscape artists are not available to you, it is easy to plan a few plantings to start. Most flowers have a part that is edible. Nature gives a wide selection of colors and shapes from which to choose. Feeding the hungry while you beautify your surroundings and saving lots of money on your own grocery bill is really a win-win-win deal.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net 

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