Ruth WalkerComment

An Edible Landscape: Porch Pots and Beyond

Ruth WalkerComment
An Edible Landscape: Porch Pots and Beyond

Trendy I’m not.  Although I like color – lots of color – on my walls, my furniture selections are an eclectic mix of traditional with a few 20th century looks; craftsmen-style furniture and mid-century modern classics like an Eames chair and a Noguchi table.

But when it comes to porch and patio pots I love trying something different.  And since gardening trends change quickly this is one subject where I depend on the internet to help me find ideas. One of the things that I’ve been noticing and like a lot is the inclusion of herbs and small food plants, like peppers, into porch and patio pots.  This sounds easy but it does require some research. 

First, start with a list of herbs and food plants you want to grow.   Think in terms of herbs where you snip a sprig or two or three to add flavor to tonight’s dinner or food plants where you’ll use one or two at a time.  (If you want to grow larger quantities of herbs for preserving, you may want to consider a small plot, not a porch pot.)

Then do your research to find out the sun, water and fertilization requirements of each herb.  For example; chives, chervil, coriander and many other herbs love water.  Others like rosemary, thyme and sage want well-drained soil.  In fact, too much water can kill these plants. 

If you’re mixing herbs with flowering plants be sure the mix of plants has similar water requirements. And since most herbs like a sunny spot be sure to pick flowers that like the sun as well.

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One option may be to plant herbs in mixed pots with edible flowers like nasturtium, borage, lavender, pansies, marigolds and more.  That way you can mix color and a bit of spicy flavor right on your porch and enjoy the fruits of your labors in your cooking as well.

The best thing about growing your own herbs and edible flowers is you know if any chemicals have been used on them.  If you do use any chemicals on your plants be sure you read the label instructions and follow them to the letter, including any waiting time between chemical use and harvesting of your herbs and flowers.

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One note of warning: herb growing, especially if you love food and love to cook, can become an obsession that far outstrips the space you’ve allowed for porch and patio pots.  If that happens then consider either an herb and food garden or creating an edible landscape by mixing herbs and food plants into your overall landscape.  Just be careful.   When we first brought our puppy home she developed a quick affinity for using my thyme patch as her pee spot.  Needless to say, I now grow thyme for our use in a patio pot and gave her exclusive use of the thyme patch.

Should you decide to create an edible landscape around your home, a classic book on this – a favorite of mine for the last quarter century – is Rosalind Creasy’s Edible Landscaping.  If you’re interested in Creasy’s book there are several ways you can purchase it. You can contact your local independent bookseller or find it on Amazon by following the Buy on Amazon button below the visual of the book’s cover. If you do buy this book by following the link in this article, I may receive a commission.

Edible Landscaping
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