The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan

by Ivette Soler

ImageThis delightful book is a great example of learning to color outside the lines and dispels the notion that an urban front yard should be a ceremonial expanse of useless grass. Vibrant fruits and vegetables with contrasting textures and colors, make a stunning and useful addition to the bland suburban landscape.

Many edibles are ornamental and with the right combinations, they can be as attractive as traditional landscaping. Even the urbanite with the fussiest HOA can manage to sneak a tasty treat or two under the radar. Strawberries tucked along a walkway or colorful lettuce edging a bed are subtle ways of using edibles that shouldn't raise eyebrows. Blueberry bushes instead of boxwood and fruit trees instead of sterile specimens make efficient use of the planting area, giving the gardener a tasty harvest where there was none before.

ImageFor the gardener who wants to embrace the edible front yard, this book offers garden plans and a whole glossary of various food plants attractive to many palates. Good design is stressed and the helpful images of actual front yard vegetable gardens inspire and encourage creativity. Directions for removing the existing lawn without caustic chemicals assure the new vegetable gardener that harmful poisons aren't absorbed into the ground and from there, to the plants. Instructions for building good soil, with a population of pollinators, predators and earthworms helps the novice understand how these all work together to produce attractive plants. In turn, the healthy plants produce better crops. Organic pest control advice is helpful and on-point. A frank discussion of realistic expectations concerning pesticide-free plants, makes sure the novice should expect a few bug-chewed leaves.

The lovely images serve to inspire and educate. A list of decorative companion plants assure the gardener (and their neighbors) of an attractive display, regardless of the season. Any gardener is capable of incorporating edibles into their landscape. From window box herb gardens to the radical transformation of an entire lawn, there is something for everyone.

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