Edible stuff in the front yard

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Being from a country where people considered their land plots as source of food rather than entertainment, I have hard times reconciling myself with gardening decorative plants. I personally plant only what I can eat. Although I would not mind my spouse devoting herself to planting flowers and whatnot, this is not something that I see myself doing.
My question, rather, is, what varieties of plants that produce FOOD can be planted in the FRONT yard.
Some things come to mind.
1. Sunflowers -- beautiful flowers that make nice seeds 2. Corn -- tall grass with some view blocking properties that looks nice and is also obviously edible. Adds a rustic look to the area 3. Fruit trees -- great flowering in the spring and great looking crops in the fall.
I am thinking of setting up a nicely decorated compost pile in the front yard next year, and growing squash in it.
Any other ideas for food plants that look nice int he front yard?
i
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I like rhubarb and strawberry plants in the front. Strawberry is a nice groundcover, and rhubarb has pretty foilage. I've seen people grow tomatoes as a border plant. Most herbs are very pretty. I've grown chives & garlic in my front "flower" bed. Sage is a pretty shrub. Peas growing on a fence or wire are also very pretty in bloom.
Maybe you should ask what you shouldn't grow in a front yard ;-)
I, personally don't know of any unsightly food plants. If you are creative, you can make a very fun and pretty display. You could plant spinach in clumps btween bush beans, and have an alternating display, or something similar. Along the house, put taller plants in back, gradually getting shorter as you plant forward. There are so many possibilities!
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Yes, I will have strawberry in my front yard.
What can you do with rhubarb, food wise?

how about potatoes

makes sense, thanks.
i
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Wow! I almost think you're joking! Rhubarb is one of my favorite foods :-) My favorite is rhubarb crumble. Anyway, mixed with sugar & cooked, it absolutely divine. Many people also make pie from it. There are many recipes that mix it with strawberries. Use the stalks. Throw the leaves in the compost pile (they are poisonous). Google for "rhubarb pie", "rhubarb crumble", or "rhubarb crisp."

Potatoes are pretty plants, similar to tomatoes (same family). I guess it depends on how you plant them. You'd want it to be in a place that can easily be dug up. (and probably not too many plants together) Or, you could plant them in some sort of raised box, which I think would look very nice..
Come to think of it, you could even make cabbage look good, surrounding by some different, smaller plants. (and there ARE ornamental cabbages, though I don't know if they are edible)
Kohlrabi is also a very interesting plant. Some may think it is ugly, but planted in a designed, complimentary setting, can be quite the unusual addition.
Oh, and don't forget that some flowers are also edible, such as pansies.
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What can you do with rhubarb, food wise?
I cannot believe you mean it!!
Tens of acres of rhubarb are grown in dark sheds to produce the blanched stalks and are as deliceous as any fruit. The plants are only used once and replanted each year. Others have provided recipes of which there are no end. The actual leaf is known to be poisonous and as students we could detect no difference bettween the chemistry of stalks and leaves. Technically both are equally poisonous but our guts have yet to find out!! Best Wishes
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I simply never tasted rhubarb. Are its stalks sweet?
i

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No, they are sour, that's why so much sugar is added.
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This begs the old gardening clich~~ "Do you put horse manure on your rhubarb?" "No~~only sugar!" Best Wishes
Brian wrote:

blanched
and
detect
out!!
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<< Being from a country where people considered their land plots as source of food rather than entertainment, I have hard times reconciling myself with gardening decorative plants. >><BR><BR>
Do I hear a sniff of disdain here? Flowering varieties of peas and squash. Opium poppies--usually not illegal unless you harvest them. Dandelions--make wine of the flower heads. Morning Glories if you enjoy hallucinogenics (read up on them first.) Flax, for the oil (and the flowers). zemedelec
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Okay, can you enlighten me about poppies. I would like to grow poppies that I can use for pies and such, tyhat you make with poppy seeds. Is that legal?
i
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Dandelions produce excellent 'chards' if planted thickly in pots and kept in total darkness. Just dig up the roots and pot them up, having removed all green tops. Days rather than weeks!! A first class addition to green salads. Best Wishes.

illegal
Morning
the oil

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Assuming you're in a part of the country that experiences winter, I would recommend against annual crops in the front yard. Your front yard will look like bare soil (or weeds) for more than half the year and your neighbors may be upset (depending on your neighbors).
You might consider perennial crops. Fruit trees are common and can be used as screens in the summer. Berries, particularly those that grow on shrub-like bushes, can be attractive.
If appearances are a problem, you could plant a hedge at the front of your yard to block the view of your crops. In that case the area used by the hedge serves a function of a fence. It can reduce road noise. If the hedge produces berries it can also feed wildlife.
When we first started farming, I had a similar bias toward food crops over decorative crops. Then one year we grew winter squash and gourds. Very similar crops. The winter squash brought in $.25/lb. The gourds brought in $.99/lb. People are willing to pay for decorative items, but food in this country is supposed to be cheap.
We now grow both food and pick-your-own flowers. The flowers are very popular, and bring in more than the veggies in dollars/acre.
Ignoramus31046 wrote:

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I disagree. Many people plant annual flowers, and flowers such as daffodils and tulips don't keep they're foliage year-round (or even all summer). When vegetables stop producing, or are ready to be pulled (radishes, etc), you can readily plant more. The ground doesn't have to be bare for long. Vegetables can be very complimentary with flowers or other perenials. And with things like lettuce and herbs don't have to all be cut at once. It's good for show to leave the bulk of such plants. Even if he did cut them all at once, they'd readily grow back. There is no reason food plants can't be planted as display plants or even in the same bed as non-food plants (as long as you can tell them apart, you wouldn't want to eat non-food plants) I think it's kind of funny how strict some people are with 'flowers in front, vegetables in back'.
For the record, I don't have food plants in my front yard only because I can't find any small plants that grow in full shade-- I'd love any suggestions. My backyard is mixed-- strawberries, roses, peas, cotoneaster, lilac, raspberries-- soon to plant my annual veggiesand maybe some geraniums.
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daffodils
When
all
I
front,
cotoneaster,
The recommendation of most landscape architects and designers is to plant things in a front entry garden that will have year round appeal - that means predominately evergreens or at the very least, deciduous material that offers a permanent woody framework and preferrably, some sort of winter interest. An entry garden comprised primarily of herbaceous plants - either perennial or annual - offers very little in the way of curb appeal. This may not be a huge concern now (unless you live in a nieghborhood with restrictive covenants), but can definitely play a big factor in resale value.
This does not mean you should refrain entirely from these types of plants, including edibles. Just combine them with other, more permanent additions.Fruit trees have been mentioned, as have a number of herbs which are perennial and/or evergreen. You could also consider a number of berries which form attractive small shrubs - blueberries, huckleberries, currants - even viburnum berries are edible, but you need to pick your variety if taste is what you are after.Lots of edible crops make very attractive garden additions. Look for books describing 'potagers' or decorative kitchen gardens - the Europeans have made an art form of these, although not often are they presented as front yards. But a well-designed mixture of edibles plus more ornamental plants should satisfy all requirements.
pam - gardengal
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means
either
may
berries
currants -

taste
You misunderstood me, Pam. I didn't mean to imply that I only grow perrenials and annual flowers in the front, only that I would like to grow some food plants, too. I have limited space, front and back, and would like some creative ways to have both flowers & veggies. My front yard is small, but I have the aforementioned honey locust, a very large evergreen shrub (no idea what it is), a lilac that the previous owners cut to the ground (and since has been slowly growing back in the two years we've been here), and two medium sized barberry. There is a large triangular flower bed 20 feet by 5 ft next to the house. The lilac and barberries are located there. I recently made a smaller bed about 2 feet quarter round next to the driveway and the public sidewalk. I planted a peony in the middle, surrounded by tulips and crocuses (the idea being that when the tulips and crocuses died down, the peony would be up). My house faces north, so it is very shady in front. I planted tulips, daffodils, hyaciths, and a few other things (mostly bulbs) in the large bed. I know these are full sun plants, they do all right, simply blooming later than those across the street. I also planted irises there, so I could have some color later in the year. I plan to plant a bleeding heart also in the large bed. So, my concern is to fill between the shrubbery with annuals/perrenials and maybe some food plants, which seem more finicky for sun than the flowers.
I can easily plant veggies between permanant plantings in the backyard, because the sun is there. So, any ideas for food plants which are less sun craving which I can plant in my shady front yard?
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tmtresh wrote:

I will have to retract my "more than half the year" statement. In my area the ground would be bare only from December through April. (unless I put in something like winter rye)

There are only a few plants that you really don't want to eat (i.e. are toxic). The other non-food plants probably just aren't culinarialy appealing. However, I agree that there's no real reason to separate food and decorative crops.
As far as not harvesting a crop all at once, that certainly works with some crops. I do not advise it with something like lettuce. You can peel off the outer leaves of lettuce and make a salad. Eventually the plant will get tired of that treatment and will bolt, at which time the leaves get bitter. Much better to cut the head (or even better, pull it up by the roots, wash them off, and place in a plastic bag with a little water in the fridge, where it will last for a couple of weeks if you don't finish it off sooner) and plant a replacement immediately. If you plan ahead, you can have several lettuce plants waiting to go into the garden as soon as you pull the ones that're ready.
Most people think that they should plant in the spring and enjoy the harvest all summer. However, some crops need to be planted almost continuously to enjoy a continuous harvest. My last lettuce planting is generally in mid to late August. Lettuce will take temperatures down to 25F, although some varieties will show some tipburn at those temperatures. I have picked lettuce at Christmas (MA, zone 5, but certainly not every year).
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wrote:

I had volunteer grand rapids lettuce plants freeze overnight and in the morning.. but be thawed out in the afternoon and looking as if they'd never been frozen at all.
Janice
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I agree - Blueberries make great hedge plants - with white flowers in the spring and red/gold leaves in the Fall. Strawberries make a great ground covers. Fruit trees are all covered with blooms in the spring. Brambles might not be so good, as they need a support trellis, but they can cover a fence.
And if you are looking for some ideas - visit a pick your own farm - Check out http://www.pickyourown.org/ . There are complete listings for pick your own (u-pick, PYO, etc.) farms and orchards there for the United States, Canadfa, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The site is free and easy to use. You can also find a pick your own farm or orchard for fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, etc.) and vegetables, pumpkins, Christmas trees, etc. near your location. The typical harvest dates and other information for each area and farm, are also present.
And there are also illustrated directions to make jam, applesauce, apple butter, etc. They even have local weather (current and forecast) linked in.Have fun!
Blake

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Friend read this book years ago, said it was pretty decent.. found an url for it on amazon. This particular listing lets you "look inside" and lets you look at the table of contents, some of the text and the index. That might be enough to let you know if you want to try your local library to see if it has it or can get it on interlibrary loan. Even just reading the index or table of content can at least give you plant names to look up.
The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Food-Bearing Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques by Rosalind Creasy
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Janice
On 22 Apr 2004 22:10:29 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@pickyourown.org (Blake) wrote:

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
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Huh? My gardens are bare during the winter, makes it easier to clear out the leaves, etc. And my yard is one of the best looking yard in the neighborhood, everyone comments on it. I have raised veggie beds and perennial borders.....looks just fine.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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