pumpkin seeds

5 Earth-friendly Ways to Use Halloween Pumpkin Guts

October 25, 2023

Edible Gardening

5 Earth-friendly Ways to Use Halloween Pumpkin Guts

It’s pumpkin carving time! But what happens after pumpkins are carved, displayed, and start to rot?

Just like all other food “waste,” when pumpkins end up in a landfill, they generate greenhouse gasses that don’t belong in our atmosphere in excess. Not only that, their capacity to regenerate healthy soil is halted, because they’ve been removed from nature’s powerful decomposition cycle.

There are plenty of ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

After Halloween is over and your Jack-o-lanterns get saggy, there are still ways to make sure that rich organic material doesn’t end up in a landfill. Read on to learn some clever ways of upcycling pumpkins of all varieties. 

1. Roast The Seeds

This one’s a classic and kids love it! As you scoop your pumpkin for carving prep, set the “guts” aside in a bowl. Separate seeds from the pumpkin strings and gooey flesh and place the clean seeds on a cookie sheet. Let dry while you carve your pumpkins.pumpkin seeds

When seeds are dry, toss them in olive oil and spread them out on the baking sheet, spaced as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with salt and any other spices 

Roast at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Here are a couple of our favorite roasted pumpkin seed recipes:

Roasted pumpkin seeds with just a little salt make a tasty treat, but you can also use the roasted seeds to make:

  • A seed, fruit, and nut mix — try spicy or salty-sweet flavors
  • Pumpkin seed pesto or hummus
  • A crunchy topper for salads and soups

2. Make Pumpkin Stock

pumpkin soupOf course, you should only cook and eat clean, not-too-old pumpkins! Don’t go eating a saggy Jack-o-lantern that’s been sitting on your porch for two weeks.

But if your pumpkins are totally rot-free, haven’t been exposed to extreme temperatures, and uncarved, there are plenty of delicious ways to turn most parts of a pumpkin into food.

For stock: After carving or when you’re done displaying pumpkins, chuck the insides in a big stock pot. Add any other veggies or veggie scraps you may have, including onion, celery, garlic, and carrots. Cover with water and a bay leaf or two, and perhaps a little salt.

Simmer on the stove for several hours. Strain out veggies, pouring into a jar. Seal and refrigerator (use within 4-5 days) or freeze it for up to 5-6 months. Or use the stock right away for soup or risotto!

Homemade pumpkin puree can be used in recipes for breads, cookies, or muffins that call for canned pumpkin. It can be frozen and thawed for future use, too.

What kind of pumpkins are edible?

Good news: most pumpkins are edible. Even pumpkin types bred as common Jack-o-lanterns can be eaten — but these have been bred for visual apparel rather than taste and nutrition, so stick to baked goods when you cook those. Plenty of pumpkin varieties are grown specifically for eating, so choose those if you’re interested in making soup or a roast. 

3. Save The Seeds for Plantinggreen pumpkins

Save your seeds to grow your own pumpkins in your garden next year. Follow the steps above to remove and separate the pumpkin insides and seeds. Lay clean seeds on a tray and cover with a paper towel or light cotton rag.

Let seeds dry very well, keep them out of direct sunlight and away from dramatically varying temperatures.

Once seeds are dry, seal them in a plastic bag, envelope, or other sealable container and keep them in a cool, dry location protected from direct sunlight.

4. Compost

Home gardeners know the best way to keep your pumpkin out of a landfill is to use it to enrich your garden. If you have a high-functioning home compost operation, pumpkins are awesome additions to the pile.

A few tips for composting your Halloween pumpkin:

  • Remove all candles, wax, or other non-organic materials
  • Never compost painted pumpkins
  • If you garden organically (and we hope you do!), be sure your pumpkin was grown on an organic farm
  • Remove the seeds before composting — unless you want your compost pile to become your pumpkin patch next spring
  • Chop the pumpkin(s) into chunks before you tossing in the compost heap so it will break down quicker
  • Balance the big dose of organic material (or “green” material) with a carbon-rich (brown material) addition, like leaves, newspaper, or wood ash
  • If you don’t have a home compost, there may be a local organization that will happily take it for compost or food for livestock.

Do a quick internet search for “donate old pumpkins near me” and you’ll probably be surprised. Plenty of farms, animal shelters, and non-profit orgs around the country collect used Halloween pumpkins.

5. Feed The Wildlife…Or Your Chickens!

Local wildlife would love to snack on your pumpkins! Even if your pumpkins are a little soggy, everyone from bluejays to deer will be happy for the nutritious late-fall meal. 

We recommend only feeding organic pumpkins to wildlife, since harsh chemical fertilizers can be harmful to animals. Also, don’t feed painted pumpkins to animals.

Make a cute pumpkin bird feeder by cutting off the top half of the carved pumpkin, filling the bowl with bird seed, and hanging it from a tree or placing it on a fence. Get ready to admire migrating flocks as they take a break in your wildlife paradise. 

For foraging four-legged animals like squirrels, rabbits, and deer who are preparing for a long winter, cut your pumpkins into chunks and scatter them at the edges of your yard. Avoid this if you have a rat problem!

If you’ve got chickens in the backyard, we don’t need to tell you how much your flock will love pumpkin remains.

Happy Halloween!

pumpkins


tomatoes on table

8 Tips for Growing Perfect Organic Tomatoes at Home

May 21, 2023

Edible Gardening

8 Tips for Growing Perfect Organic Tomatoes at Home

handful of tomatoesNothing says summer like vine-ripened tomatoes right from the garden. Even if you’re a beginner home gardener, you’ve probably tried growing tomatoes before. And while they’re one of the most popular home garden crops, tomatoes are susceptible to a whole swath of diseases, pests, and other “oopsies” that can ruin a whole growing season.

Let’s take a look at the basics of growing organic tomatoes at home to get you set up for success.

man pruning tomato plant#1: Sun, sun, sun! 

What you’ve heard is true: tomatoes need lots of sun! At least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight daily is ideal. Any less and your plants won’t produce the harvest you want.

#2: Choose your variety: Determinate or Indeterminate?

Determinate tomato varieties are more short-living plants, will stop growing at a certain size or height, and tend to ripen all their fruit around the same time — making them perfect for canning, freezing, big-batch cooking, and giving away.

Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing into the Fall in many Zones (even until the first frost) and their fruits need longer to ripen. Mostly heirloom varieties, indeterminate tomatoes are the kind that can reach towering heights and will provide you with juicy tomatoes for months. Since they grow so much, it’s a good idea to prune these types of tomato plants for size, yield, and to be sure they don’t take over the garden (unless you have room for that!).

There are also a few varieties in the middle: semi-determinate or dwarf tomato plants aren’t quite one or the other — they are usually on the smaller size, making them great for container gardens, but grow like indeterminate varieties, so it’s a good idea to stake and prune them.

Choose a variety (or a few!) of tomatoes that works best for your planting site and harvest desires.

#3: To prevent common diseases, think before you plant.

Tomatoes can thrive in-ground, in large containers, or in raised beds. What’s best for your specific tomato garden will depend not only on your variety of choice (see above) but also the soil makeup in your garden or yard, your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone, having access to a watering source (since tomatoes need regular watering), and well-draining soil.

Curious about container gardening? Check out our Container Gardening 101 blog to get started on your own small-space garden.3 cherry tomatoes

Here are a few essentials pointers for choosing a good site for growing healthy tomatoes:

  • Remember that an all-around healthy plant is less likely to be the victim of any disease, so start with attentive nurturance for your tomatoes.
  • Ensure good soil drainage. Without properly draining soil, tomatoes are very susceptible to fungal diseases and pests that can wreck your whole crop. 
  • Depending on your soil content and structure, 
  • Choose a site with good air circulation. This is a very important factor to help prevent catastrophic tomato disease like blight and fatal fungal diseases
  • Always plant, dig, and prune with cleaned tools to prevent the spread of disease.

 

#4: Give your tomatoes an organic nutrient boost.true organic tomato & vegetable food in greenhouse

We formulated True Organic Tomatoes & Vegetable Food to give tomatoes and other heavy-feeding plants exactly what they need.

Add organic fertilizer to your soil before planting, according to package instructions, to support new plants. Throughout the season, you can fertilize with our granular formula monthly, depending on your planting site (container tomatoes need less frequent feeding), plant size, and other factors that are impacting your plants.   

#5: Support your growing tomatoes. 

Staking, caging, and trellising tomato plants is important for all indeterminate tomatoes and even some determinate plants. Create a support structure for your tomatoes right away when you plant them — when they are young, healthy, and adaptable. 

As they grow, encourage them to use their support structure, and they’ll grow even more robustly!

#6: The secret to watering tomatoes.

It’s a subject of frequent conversation in the gardening world: How much water do tomatoes really need?

The secret is…well, there really is no secret. Sorry! But in general, tomato plants need about one inch of water per square foot per week. They require consistent watering and you should never let their soil dry out — that can lead to weakness, making them targets for pests and diseases.

It’s best to water in the morning and/or evening and to avoid getting water on the tomato leaves during hot sunny days. During the hottest days of summer, you may need to water two times a day. This is especially true for container-housed tomatoes, since the smaller volume of soil can’t hold as much moisture.

Companion planting can benefit tomatoes not only as a natural pest prevention method (read on for more on that) but also to prevent weeds, aerate soil, and in general support soil health and structure — all things that can make sure soil is well-draining. For companion planting with tomatoes, try: calendula, sage, marigolds, nasturtium, parsley and cilantro, sweet alyssum, and garlic.

#7: Organic pest prevention.

Hornworms, spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies are only a few of the pests that can destroy your tomato harvest. Unlike the ecosystem’s beneficial insects, these little bugs can transmit plant diseases, chew holes in your tomato leaves and fruits, and suck the life out of your precious garden. 

To encourage a healthy, biodiverse garden ecosystem, there are a few awesome ways to keep pests away organically.

  • Pinch-off: It’s tedious, but for the bigger, non-winged pests like hornworms, you can simply pick off the pests with your fingers.
  • Companion planting: Growing pollinator plants near your tomatoes can attract other insects (and birds) that eat those pesky insects. 
  • Non-toxic pest-blockers like diatomaceous earth can work well against crawling bugs.

#8: Preventing blossom-end rot

We’ve gone over how to protect tomatoes from fungus and pests, but what about the most dreaded harvest-spoiling ailment of them all: blossom-end rot?

Blossom-end rot (BER) starts as a dark, soggy area at the “blossom end” of the fruit and can cause the entire tomato to become a yucky brown lump. It can seemingly arise suddenly in otherwise healthy tomatoes and can be incredibly frustrating! 

Learn more about blossom-end rot in other vegetables.

As our R&D Team member Andrew Pedersen shares in this short video, blossom-end rot is a result of calcium deficiency when the fruit was young and can be prevented by making sure you’re watering your plants properly. It can show up when tomatoes are under-watered, over-watered or watered inconsistently, or when there’s an excess of nitrogen or other calcium-blocking minerals in your soil. 

Be sure to not over-fertilize as an attempt to cure blossom-end rot! Check out Andrew’s video for a few more tips about the nutrient makeup and plant structure that can help your tomatoes avoid succumbing to BER.

Happy growing!

8 tips for growing tomatoes


- True Organic - TrueOrganic.com

How to Grow Strawberries in Your Home Garden

April 14, 2023

Edible Gardening

How to Grow Strawberries in Your Home Garden

Who doesn’t want a basket full of juicy, sweet red berries to share? Strawberries are one of the most rewarding and delightful crops to grow in your home garden. The many varieties of strawberry plants make it possible to grow in almost every Plant Hardiness Zone and harvest strawberries from June to first frost.

If you’ve tried growing strawberries and haven’t had much success, you may just need a few pointers to help cultivate strawberries. They’re not complicated crops to care for, but can require a bit of specific care for the best results.

If you time it right and take good care of your plants, you’ll be feasting on strawberries from early summer to late fall — and maybe even freezing an abundant harvest to enjoy all year.  

The Basics of Growing Strawberries

Let’s get you started with a few basic tips and guideposts for growing strawberries in your home garden.

  • The scrumptious red treats that you harvest from strawberry plants are, in fact, not berries at all! The fruits produced by strawberry plants are called “aggregate” fruits — a group of tiny fruits embedded in one, juicy flesh receptacle!
  • Strawberries can be grown in almost every Zone — but there are many varieties and you want to make sure you choose the right kind for your Zone.
  • Whatever Zone and variety, strawberries need full sun (at least 6 hours a day) to produce lots of yummy, ripe fruit.
  • Strawberry plants each need at least 12 inches of space (ideally up to 18 inches), so choose an area or containers that allow for decent spacing.
  • Yes, you can grow strawberries in containers! Just be sure they have enough space to spread out. Strawberries have comparatively shallow root systems, so they need more space horizontally than vertically.
  • Strawberries need bees for pollination. Therefore, it’s a great idea to have strawberries alongside a pollinator garden.
  • Strawberries do take some specific maintenance, including trimming runners (or else, like many berries, strawberries can have a tendency to take over your yard or garden bed).

strawberry vine

Types of Strawberry Plants 

There are three general types of strawberries to choose from, and you can mix and match them, depending on your Zone.

  • June-bearing strawberries: These are the most commonly grown strawberries in the U.S. They produce a big crop in mid-June to early July. Though they only fruit once per season, these tend to give the highest yields.
  • Ever-bearing strawberries: This type will give you two crops, one in early summer and another in early fall.
  • Day-neutral strawberries: These cold-tolerant strawberry types produce fruit throughout the growing season and do better in shady spots, but the berries are less flavorful.

When to Plant Strawberries

Strawberries can be grown as perennials in most Zones, with attentive care. These plants go dormant in winter — you’ll see them drop their leaves and stop growing, but they aren’t dead! 

In Zones 4 and 5, be sure to mulch or otherwise cover strawberries properly through those cold winters.

Bareroot strawberry plants can be put in the ground or outdoor containers anytime after the last frost in spring. As soon as the soil is soft enough to pierce with a trowel, you can plant strawberries! 

They can also be planted in winter, then covered in preparation for spring. Since strawberries go dormant in winter and are perennial plants, they’re naturally inclined to over-winter.

After four or five seasons, strawberry plants may stop producing lots of fruit — while the plant can still keep growing, you may want to compost those “old” plants and start with new ones if you want big harvests. 

How to Plant Strawberries

Strawberry plants have a stemmy crown that needs to be above the soil, so many people accidentally plant them too deep. 

  • Plant the roots, not the crown.
  • But make sure roots are covered! If the roots are exposed, the plant will lose water and be at risk of damage.
  • Choose a sunny spot. Strawberries need 6 hours of sunlight at minimum — ideally, they will be getting 8 hours of good sunlight every day.
  • Because of their shallow roots, it’s exceptionally important to make sure strawberries are planted in well-draining soil. 
  • Space plants 12–18 inches apart to provide room for runners.
  • Plant rows at least 3 feet apart.
  • If you’re not planting in rows, just make sure strawberries are spaced apart from other plants that may compete for water.
  • Give your strawberries a boost with organic granular fertilizer upon planting and repotting, like our True Organic Berry Food or All-purpose Plant Food.
  • Replant/repot established strawberries in the fall with a measured dose of organic plant food. 

Caring for Strawberry Plants 

After your strawberries are established, follow these basic guidelines to keep healthy plants and cultivate satisfying harvests:

  • Encourage roots and shoot growth by pruning the first flowers on your strawberries. (For June-bearing strawberries, you can remove the blossoms for the entire first year of the plant’s life — that will help it establish strong roots and stems for years to come.)
  • Weed your strawberries regularly, as these plants are not the best at competing with weeds. Consider mulching your strawberry patch for more weed protection.
  • Pay attention to runners. The vine-like shoots that strawberry plants grow are runners that produce new plants, and like the new stems and leaves on your houseplants, they can be propagated! But they can also take over the garden if unattended, so eliminate the excess runners and trim the strong ones by placing them into new soil (in-ground or in a container).
  • Water your strawberries daily with about 1 or 1.5 inches of water. In very hot summer months, they may need to be watered twice a day.
  • If you are cultivating your strawberries as perennials, take the time to place straw or fabric covers plants in winter to protect them. Once spring comes, remove covering as the plants start to grow again and give them a new dose of plant food.

Happy growing!

strawberry hands

 

how to grow strawberries


blog headers

8 Best Fruit Trees for Your Home Garden

Jan 31, 2023

Edible Gardening

8 Best Fruit Trees for Your Home Garden 

Do you dream of relaxing in a dreamy orchard buzzing with bees and birds? Enjoying ripe fruit and relaxing under blossom-filled trees? 

We created our Fruit & Nut Tree Food, the latest addition to the True Organic plant food family, to make your backyard orchard dreams come true!

Even if you only have room for one or two fruit trees, you can definitely grow delicious fruit in your home garden (or even indoors). With some forethought and research, even a small outdoor space can accommodate fruit trees.

How to choose?

Here’s what to consider before you commit to a fruit tree for your home garden:

Size & Space

How much space do you have for your tree(s)? Fruit trees range greatly in size and some can even be cultivated successfully in containers. Some dwarf fruit trees might grow to just 6-8 feet tall and 2 feet wide!

Choose types that will be easy to find room for as they grow and bear fruit.

Plant Hardiness Zone

Choose a type of fruit tree that thrives in your climate. Thankfully, there are fruit trees that love almost every Zone, even in cold and dry climates.

Soil Type

Is the earth in your yard sandy, acidic, loamy? Different varieties of fruit trees thrive in specific types of soil, so find out what kind of soil you’re working with before you buy any trees. Check out our blog with Agronomist Dr. Margaret McCoy, PhD for all the details on soil testing.tree planting

Pollination Requirements

Some trees are self-pollinating (like most of your garden crops) but some require cross-pollination. Non-self-pollinating trees won’t produce a good harvest without a “partner tree” to pollinate them.

If you choose a tree that needs to be cross-pollinated, you’ll either need to make sure there is another tree of the same species nearby (within 100 feet is ideal for bees) or you’ll need to hand-pollinate (which is much simpler than you might think, but still requires a bit of expertise and time). The pollination partner needn’t be the same variety of fruit, just the same species.

Learn more about pollination requirements for various crops with these helpful resources from Penn State University’s College of Agriculture Extension.

Your Favorite Fruits

As with any garden crop, grow what you love! While it can be fun to experiment with new crops and varieties, the most rewarding part of growing fruit trees is eating delicious, nutritious, sweet treats. So go with your favorites.

New to growing fruit trees? Try one of these:

Pear

pearAlong with apples, pear trees are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow and they’re great for beginners. They can grow in many different climates, are simple to care for, are disease- and pest-resistant, and usually yield lots of fruit.

Like many fruit trees, pears need to grow for a few years before fruiting. Pear trees typically start bearing fruit after 3 years, but some take at least 7 years before they’ll give you fruit.

Because of their natural disease resistance, pear trees are ideal for growing organically. Like most fruit and nut trees, they’ll do well when fertilized twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Use an organic fertilizer like our Fruit & Nut Tree Food, which is rich in nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and nitrogen.

Many varieties of pear tree are self-pollinating, too! 

Apple

The classic apple tree is a home gardening favorite for good reason! Apple trees are generally easy to grow, high-producing, and hardy in lots of climates. One of the best trees for beginners, apples do require several years before they start bearing fruit — for some varieties, up to 8 years.

But like some other types of fruit trees, some apple varieties are “dwarf” trees that grow around 10-15 feet tall and can start fruiting after only 2-3 years.

Apples are non-self-pollinating (also known as “self-unfruitful”), so one lonely apple tree in the backyard might not yield fruit on its own. Plant another apple tree nearby or scope out your neighborhood to see if any neighbors are growing apples. 

Fig

Figs are such a fun, underrated fruit and they’re shockingly simple to grow! 

Fig trees thrive in many climates and can be kept in small spaces. Like pear trees, fig trees are very resistant to disease, are typically self-pollinating, and grow quickly — you don’t need to wait years for a fig tree to bear fruit.

Cherry

cherryBing cherries are one of the most beginner-friendly varieties to grow: the fruit is sweet and plump, and these trees produce big, yummy harvests.

Most cherry trees start yielding fruit on their fourth year, so be ready to commit before you start putting cherry pie on the menu.

Birds love cherries, so be prepared to cover your trees after the flowering stage.

Plum 

There are a surprising number of varieties of plum, so there’s sure to be one that fits your needs and your tastes. Depending on the variety, plum trees may be self-fertile or cross-pollinating, so be sure to commit to a type of plum tree you can care for properly. 

Watch out for soil that doesn’t drain well when you’re growing plum trees, as they can be particularly sensitive to waterlogged soil.

Apricot

Juicy, sunset-colored apricots are a bit easier to grow than peaches and yield a whole lot of fruit. Best of all, they bloom early, so you’ll be eating apricots first thing in the springtime.

These delightful trees are self-pollinating and grow big branches full of luscious green leaves, perfect for lounging beneath.

Because of their early blooming nature, though, watch out for late frosts and cold snaps, which could damage flowering apricot trees. 

Lemon

While lemon and other citrus can’t grow in every climate, they do amazingly well in climates that they like! If you live somewhere like that, you probably never buy lemons — they’re abundant on every corner of the neighborhood and neighbors are begging you to take them away.

Lemon trees are great for container growing and can even be grown indoors with the right care. Indoor container lemon trees will stay under 4 feet tall. So cute!

They can grow happily in various kinds of soil (although they prefer slightly acidic soil) and are easy to care for. Most varieties will start bearing fruit in their third or fourth year.

Lemon trees are very cold-sensitive and cannot withstand frost, so be prepared to cover your lemon tree if you live in a place that gets frost. 

Crabapple

Okay, not many people want to grow crabapple, but hear us out! Crabapple trees may not produce the yummiest fruit, but they are stunning additions to any landscape with their sweet-smelling blossoms of white, pink, and pale red. 

Crabapple trees grow in a ton of different climates, and while they don’t like hot weather, some varieties can thrive in extreme cold, even in Zone 2a (Alaska!) 

So what about that fruit? Crabapples (which technically just means an apple that is tiny — under 2 inches in diameter, to be exact) are super-tart and hard in texture. They’re not good to eat raw (unless you’re a bird or a squirrel), but you can make delicious jams, jellies, fruit butters, even crumble and crisps. 

If you’re new to fruit trees or live in a cold climate, crabapples are a great place to start learning how to plant and care for these wonderful garden additions.

best fruit trees


- True Organic - TrueOrganic.com

Creating Your Edible Landscape

MAY 15, 2021

Edible Gardening

Some gardens are simply utilitarian, some are there to look lovely. How about an edible landscape that fills your senses and your table?

Beautiful and tasty!

Just because you’re increasing the functionality of your garden doesn’t mean you have to give up on aesthetics! In fact, some of these crops make a garden more colorful, textured, and lovely to look at.
Whether it’s your entire front yard, or just a corner of shared space, an edible landscape can transform any place into an outdoor oasis. Gardening for aesthetics and functionality can help us remember what’s most precious about nature: its ability to bring joy and sustenance into our lives.

What’s on the menu?

Now let’s check out what to plant in this oh-so-lovely garden of yours!

As always, be sure to research what kind of plants work for your climate zone and how much maintenance each kind of crop needs. Your personal selections will be unique and special to your location, your taste, and how much you’re willing to work in your edible landscape.

Herbs galore!

Herbs are quintessential edible landscape plants. Their textured leaves, easy maintenance, and attention-grabbing fragrances add so much life to your green oasis, and who doesn’t love having fresh herbs and flowers in your kitchen?

Choose hardier, perennial herbs for your edible landscape (be wary of basil and other delicate herbs in a landscaping situation—basil typically does better in a dedicated veggie garden and is a great companion plant). Bushy, shrubby herbs like rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano, and sage are perfect and easy to integrate in most zones.

Lavender is the ultimate easy-care landscaping herb. Its gorgeous purple flowers and lovely scent make any garden or yard a more enjoyable, oasis-like spot. You can use both the leaves and flowers in baked goods like scones and cookies, steep it in a tea (perhaps with some mint), or simmer it in water for a sweet-smelling house.

Because they can grow quite large and they’re easy to shape and maintain, shrubby herbs work well along the landscaping border, or to create shape for your garden.

Another bonus: bees love flowering herbs! Support your local pollinators and cook deliciously seasoned food.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

Add some flavor to your meals and your garden with this zesty plant family. These easy-to-grow plants have unique blooms and bright stalks that make an edible landscape pop with life.

Garlic is an edible landscape superhero: you can harvest it twice, once for the stems (or scapes) and once for the bulb! Garlic scapes—the plant’s adorable green stem and flower bud—can be trimmed off in early spring, as they start to curl in. Leave the bulb in the ground until later in the summer, when it’s ripe with flavor.

Bonus: Hungry outdoor critters don’t really like to chew on these stinky greens.

Berries

Strawberries are a perfect edible landscape resident, with their small size and bright berries and adorable white flowers. They can be grown in containers, if you want to give your edible landscape a little extra style.

For larger yards, blueberry bushes are a beautiful and delicious addition.

For really big landscapes, blackberries and raspberries are for the more adventurous. Brambles like these two berry plants can quickly grow out of control, though, so be sure you’re ready to commit to a regimen of thorny pruning before you go all-out on the berry front.

Edible Flowers

First order of business: not all flowers are edible. Be wise and aware of what you’re putting in your mouth. If you have pollen allergies, too, eating flowers can be a bit problematic. But the wonderful fact is that edible flowers still look beautiful in the garden, even if you don’t end up eating them.

Try begonia (can taste a bit bitter), calendula, nasturtium (beautiful on salads!), borage, and violet petals (really great for decorating baked goods). A little goes a long way with these edible beauties.

Just like in your vegetable garden, choosing organic fertilizer to nourish your landscape is essential. It’s especially important when it comes to any edible plant that will end up on your table, like those flower petals that could end up on your friend’s next birthday cake. We’ve got you covered with our TRUE Liquid Bloom Boost, a safe, effective flower food that nourishes both plant and soil.

As your flowers blossom, be sure to appreciate the fluttering pollinators that you’ve invited into your landscape. You’re doing great work supporting biodiversity, as well!

What about veggies?

Vegetables can be a bit trickier to incorporate into an edible yard or landscape. Reserve your prized veggies for a spot where you can nurture them with precision when it comes to spacing, soil maintenance, and specific tending.

But some hardy veggies can do well in an edible landscape, and look fantastic, too. Big-leafed greens like kale and chard are ideal for the job.

And leafy greens are sooo good for you!

Try curly kale, purple-tinted Redbor kale, Red Russian kale, and vibrant rainbow chard for spots of color and texture in the garden.

‍Design tips

Let your dreams blossom! Get creative when you design your edible landscape. Needs some inspiration? Take a stroll through our Edible Landscape Ideas Pinterest board and see what strikes your fancy. Spark your full range of gardening creativity with our entire Pinterest board collection!

Unlike a veggie garden or raised bed garden your edible landscape can be any shape or style you like. Maybe you have a patch of side-yard that gets perfect light, or a front lawn that you’re ready to turn into something more sustainable. You don’t even need to plant in rows! Time to garden outside the box.

Pathways

Designing a central path made of rocks, brick, or packed dirt gives your garden space structure and flow. That can be as simple as leaving space between plant groupings or as fancy as laying down stepping stones to create a clear path.

Remember, you’ll want to get in there and harvest your edible landscape! Make sure to leave space for walking, kneeling, gathering, and pruning.

Stone borders

Placing larger-sized stones at the edge of plant groupings helps your landscape feel neat and tidy, and can help prevent weeds from taking the place over.

Map it out

Planning before planting: it’s the responsibility of any gardener. It’s especially important if your mission is to create an attractive, edible yard!

Measure your space, then get crafty with paper and pencil. Think about which plants will look nice next to each other, who needs more space, and who needs to be in the spotlight (aka full sun!). Where can you use rocks, pottery, maybe even a cute little bench?

Having a plan will help you get the most out of your edible landscape.

Mix it up

Texture, color, scent, size. Create a diverse cornucopia of all these characteristics and your landscaping creation will be a treat for the eyes…and nose.

Choose a few plants with flowers, some with spiny leaves, some fluffy ones. Short ones, tall ones, twirly, swirly, and everything in between!

Beauty in sustainability

Even the simplest additions to a yard, lawn, or landscape can create magic: a curly kale or two. Some fresh-scented herbs to sprinkle on your summer salads. Flowers that are just as scrumptious as they are beautiful. Even if you aren’t creating a fully designed edible garden space, sprinkling in edibles in any landscape can spark delight!

When you admire the pollinators fluttering around your yard, inhale the fragrance of a diverse landscape, and watch buds bloom, you’ll really feel how connected you are to the land we live on—and the land that feeds us.