Edible Landscaping: Now You Can Have Your Gorgeous Garden And Eat It Too, by Rosalind Creasy
When the author first wrote about edible gardening, it was apparently a rare idea for people who were interested in gardening to think about eating what one grew. I must admit that while I am no master gardener myself, I grew up in a farming family and the thought of food was never far from our mind when it came to what we grew, even if we were feeding cows and other animals. It seems a bit surprising to me that growing food in one’s garden would be unusual, because my primary interest when it comes to growing plants is either to feed myself or something else, although preferably not nematodes or slugs or aphids or something of that nature. While I found much in this book to enjoy, I did not think that this book was really as daring or unusual as the author seemed to think, although maybe my own focus on gardening as as adjunct of one’s logistical planning is something that is unusual when compared to others. I have no way of knowing how common it is for people to think about their food supply when it comes to their gardening, but I suspect it is not uncommon.
This particular book is about 400 pages long or so and contains plenty of pictures, but more text than one might expect for a book of this kind. After acknowledgments and an introduction, the author discusses the change of landscaping over time (1) as well as how one lays the groundwork for a good garden (2). then the author talks about how one creates a landscape plan (3) and deals with design basics (4). There is also a discussion by the author of how to design garden with herbs (5), vegetables (6), fruits, berries, and nuts (7), and how to design for small spaces (8). The author then spends a great deal of time, more than 100 pages in fact, providing an encyclopedia of edibles from almond to wheat, including a wide variety of plants within that, herbs, fruits, as well as vegetables. After that the author has four appendices that include a big list of edible plants (A), edible plants for the small garden (B), planting and maintenance (C), and pests and diseases (D). This is followed by sources and resources for the reader as well as a bibliography, index, and some information about the author.
This is a very good book, and certainly a very informative one. The author even spends some time talking about ornamental plants that are not themselves edible, although most of the book is focused on plants that can be used in one’s kitchen. I must admit that I would not think of wheat as an obvious garden plant, but making one’s own bread from one’s own wheat sounds like a winning plan. In general, this book offers great deal of insight into the sort of plants that can be considered edible and how they can be grown depending on one’s garden and its size. And although not all of these foods are ones I would care to eat myself, this book did inspire at least some ideas as to the sorts of foods I would like to grow someday in a garden so that I could maximize my own eating from the garden. To be sure, I am not unfamiliar with edible gardens, as I once worked quite a few hours on some edible gardens that included rice and vegetables in Thailand. Obviously, though, my own would be a bit more modest than that, and hopefully it would do a better job at providing a consistent amount of food.