Incredible Edibles in the Front Yard

By Linda Wiggen Kraft
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

This year it’s more edibles in my gardens. Yes I have a garden in back for vegetables only, but after looking at the hundreds of plants in my front gardens last fall, I decided I’m adding more edibles this year.

Edible plants go beyond beauty to bring nourishment to our bodies along with nourishment to our souls. Whether trees, shrubs, perennials or annuals; edibles deserve to be in both our front and back gardens. I’ve been guilty of not giving them their due prominence in the gardens the world sees as they walk and drive by.

Edibles work in mixed flowerbeds, in shrub borders and in garden beds devoted only to vegetables. Instead of choosing plants just for how they look, I’m choosing edibles for their beauty along with being foods to eat, medicinal plants to heal, garden soil enhancers and plants for pollinators.

My front gardens are large mixed flowerbeds. Some of the existing plants will be replaced or moved. The wooden trellis along the side that held a porcelain berry vine will support indeterminate long vining cherry tomato plants. The twig trellises by the street will hold Asian long beans with dark purple pods. I’m looking for a spot for a Rugosa rose or two, for their flowers and vitamin C filled rose hips for tea. At the front edges of some of the beds will be perennial lemon flavored French sorrel (Rumex scutatus). The bright green leaves can be cut back several times a year for salads and soups. Swiss Chard with red leaves also work along the front of the border, providing leaves throughout the entire growing season. Raspberries will go along the walkway to the back, replacing Annabelle hydrangeas that will move to another garden.

Some plants serve many purposes, comfrey is one. It is an herb used as medicine in tea and ointments. Its deep roots bring nutrients from the soil into its nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and mineral rich leaves. A mulch or garden tea made from the leaves is a strong fertilizer for other plants. Variegated comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’) has large green and yellow edged leaves that will bring beauty and bright light into a spot for show.

There is long list of other herbs and vegetables that will grow in my front gardens. A dwarf nectarine tree has been growing there for five years. The sweet fruit ripens in July. Although self pollinating, another nectarine or peach tree will increase the fruit harvest on both trees.

To make all of these edibles grow and produce, plants for pollinators are also needed. Luckily I am adding edibles to my flower garden. Already there are lots of blossoms that attract bees, other insects and birds. Native and non-native flowers bloom from early spring to late fall inviting those pollinators to help bring a bountiful and beautiful harvest to my front yard. I can’t wait for the new garden season to start and to hopefully inspire others to plant edibles in their front gardens too.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Contact her at 314 504-4266.