Eat Your Yard: Edible Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Herbs, and Flowers For Your Landscape

Eat Your Yard: Edible Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Herbs, and Flowers For Your Landscape

by Nan Chase

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Edible plants provide spring blossoms, colorful fruit and flowers, lush greenery, fall foliage, and beautiful structure, but they also offer fruits, nuts, and seeds that you can eat, cook with, and preserve. Eat Your Yard! includes ideas for creating the landscape as well as an overview and tips on canning, pickling, dehydrating, freezing, juicing, and fermenting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781423616733
Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
Publication date: 03/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Nan K. Chase writes about architecture and landscape design. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian, Fine Gardening, Architectural Record, and Southern Living. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is a contributing editor of WNC Magazine.

Read an Excerpt

Mountain Farm Citrus Lavender Marinade

3/4 cup white wine (or lavender) vinegar

1/4 cup lemon zest (1 to 11.2 large lemons)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup lavender honey

1 tablespoon culinary lavender (dried organic lavender blossoms)

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 tablespoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well before adding meat or tofu.

Refrigerate meat or tofu in marinade for at least four hours for best flavor.

Recipe courtesy of Mountain Farm, Burnsville, North Carolina.

Lavender thrives with full sun and good drainage, even in colder parts of North America. The plant dislikes rich soil, preferring gravel or stones.
Photo by Robin Siktberg of the Herb Society of America.


Crush lavender blossoms in your hand, inhale deeply, and you'll understand the age-old allure of this beautiful aromatic herb.

Lavender, dried or fresh, has a long history of calming nerves, banishing insects, freshening linens, cleansing wounds,stopping toothaches, and performing a host of other valuable functions. The root of its Roman name, Lavandula, means "to wash," and in addition to a body wash, lavender has proved an essential ingredient in many perfumes and colognes.

Even more than a culinary herb—although in moderation it adds piquancy to all sorts of food and drink—lavender has a place in the home medicine chest. When grown organically and then carefully cleaned and dried, lavender blossoms keep well and can retain their incomparable fragrance and their potency for years.

Bushy silver-grey foliage lightens the edible landscape in tone, and the profuse spikes of lavender flowers, which can range from white to deepest purple, cause a sensation when they bloom. Its moderate height, from about one to four feet tall, makes lavender a good companion in formal plantings.

Bees and butterflies love lavender, which enhances pollination in the edible landscape. One observer wrote that lavender makes the air "vibrate with wings." Although the blossoms are commonly cut and used in summer months, seed heads left through the winter provide a favorite food for birds.

In warm regions lavender grows almost as an evergreen,
and parts of the West Coast offer the perfect combination of intense sunshine and light, in addition to warm soil. There lavender flourishes in colorful swaths around countryside and city alike, and the Pacific states are home to many fine lavender farms. No wonder, for lavender has its roots in the Mediterranean region, where the soil and climate are much the same.

Surprisingly, then, lavender can also grow well and bloom in much cooler climates. The secret is to replicate a microclimate of similar characteristics.

Marilyn Cade has made a miracle happen in the cold, damp (but darkly beautiful) Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina,
where she raises lavender and dairy goats on twenty-four very steep acres.

Here are her rules for getting lavender to grow and produce anywhere:
the plants require at least six hours of direct sun daily and dry heat, and also need good air circulation and soil drainage; in fact, the soil should have no added organic mulches or even much nutrition.

She adds that lavender should be planted near rocks, gravel, or dry stone pathways and should be watered sparingly to avoid mildew.
If the soil is on the acid side, sweeten it with lime. The flowers should be harvested early, as the first few buds have opened, and the stems cut as long as possible (this is the time to "strip" flowers for use in potpourri and sachets or to prepare for culinary use). Prune lavender lightly in late winter.

Other gardeners over the centuries have put it more succinctly: lavender thrives on neglect.
It may take several years for lavender plants to mature, especially in a cooler climate, but the bushes get large individually rather than running.

As a culinary herb, lavender blossoms are used to flavor salt, sugar, vinegar, and syrups for family-friendly or adult beverages, to name just a few. The traditional "herbes de Provence" consist of lavender mixed with marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, and sometimes fennel seed, with thyme predominating.

Table of Contents

7 Introduction

11 Favorite Fruits Apple, Cherry, Crabapple, Peach, Pear, Plum, Quince

41 Nuts &Almond, Blueberry, Chestnut, Hazelnut/Filbert, Pecan, Walnut

67 Herbs &Bay Tree, Grape, Kiwi, Lavender, Mint, Nasturtium, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

97 Hot-Country Choices Fig, Kumquat, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Olive, Pomegranate

119 Wildflowers Pawpaw, Persimmon, Prickly Pear, Yucca, Rose, Sunflower

141 Preserving the Harvest

151 Resources

158 Index

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