Sustainable Saturday - Book Review: The Edible Front Yard

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden is a new book for 2011 by Ivette Soler.  This book and concepts outlined in this book follow along with previous reads this year; The Backyard Homestead The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! and Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work.  If you missed those book reviews, you can find them here:

Saving Family Green's Sustainable Saturday: Book Reviews of The Backyard Homestead & Square Foot Gardening

The Edible Front Yard I found so intriguing because as I have mentioned before most of our backyard is shaded most of the day, with the exception of the 5 garden beds that receive ample sunlight to grow most vegetables and fruits.  I have been thinking about the idea of incorporating edible landscaping into our blank slate, full sun all day Front Yard after reading The Backyard Homestead.

The Edible Front Yard has full-filled my desires to know more about what to plant in the Front Yard.  This book discusses plant types in detail in the front half of the book and lists "Superstars" of Front Yard Gardening such as artichokes which provide a leafy plant, the artichokes themselves, and if you allow the artichokes to fully open, a beautiful purple flower. 

The book discusses what types of plants will do well and look great in The Front Yard, what plants will not look great (carrots for example) and what plants to add to create structure for the garden, but are not edible.

“While hardcore food growers might argue that any plant that nourishes and sustains us inherently beautiful, some fruits, herbs, and vegetables are simply not the best choices for an edible garden with an ornamental focus.”

The Edible Front Yard Rules:

1. The entire plant must have a pleasing form.

2. It has to give at least two reasons to plant (color and form, or texture and seed heads).

3. Its leaves must hold up for the entire growing season.

4. Use hardscape (to provide structure).

Further into the book, there are design ideas for designing a Front Yard Garden including walking paths, sitting areas and plant material types.  

Before you dive right in and rip up your Front Yard, make sure you check with local zoning codes and City ordinances to make sure you are within your rights to convert your Front Yard into an Edible Garden.  For example read about what's happening in Oak Park, MI:

Woman Could Be Jailed For Vegetable Garden

Photo Credits:  Wikipedia

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