Saturday, July 6, 2013

Visit 11 Edible Gardens on the Edible Landscaping Tour

A lush front yard with squashes and watermelons among the flowers

The rampant abundance of delicious summer crops may have you daydreaming about how to add more vegetables and fruits to your home garden. Going on a local self-guided tour of unique and notable suburban edible landscapes is a fantastic way to get inspired with great ideas and a perfect opportunity to meet enthusiastic gardeners who love sharing their gardens. 

Here on the San Francisco Peninsula we are fortunate indeed to have Common Ground’s annual Edible Landscaping Tour coming up on July 20th, now in its 7th year. 

An apple espaliered on a fence is attractive and a good use of space

I've been on the organizing committee for several years now and I'm always delighted by the innovative ways that gardeners incorporate food plants, raising chickens, ducks, rabbits and bees on their suburban lots. Some take a decidedly urban farm approach, while others integrate fruit trees and vegetable gardens into their otherwise ornamental landscapes.

Keeping chickens and beehives is no longer rare in suburbia

Either way, each garden is beautiful, interesting and a reflection of the family's lifestyle and their quest to create a higher quality of life right at home.

Beans displayed on a teepee of bamboo poles

And it's a natural step to spread goodwill and delight by sharing extra fruit, eggs and beans with neighbors and friends. 

A young girl cuddling her chicken

From my perspective, gardening is not just a pleasant leisure-time activity, it’s critical for a healthy future. 

It's about:

  •  building a supportive community around growing food organically and sustainably in our suburban neighborhoods.  
  • understanding where our foods comes from and connecting with the Earth's processes that support this almost magical ability.

Grape vines on this pergola create an outdoor dining room

When I visit these gardens I see simple everyday acts that have deep meaning and far reaching consequences.

Vegetable beds decorated with children's tiles

When I reflect on all of the trouble in our world, these simple positive acts seem like a profound way to add much needed joy at a very basic level. 

That's why the Edible Landscape Tour is at the top of my "must do" list every summer!

Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke