My Edible Backyard

By Erin Huffstetler | 09/14/2012 | No Comments
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One of my favorite things to do in my backyard? Grocery shop.

When we decided to landscape our yard a few years ago, I knew I wanted lots of edibles in the backyard. We didn’t have a lot of space to work with – our lot is just .18 acres, and the house takes up a good chunk of that. But with enough research, I figured if could find some things that would work in our small space.

So what did we end up planting?

  • 3 apple trees
  • 6 blueberry bushes
  • 2 apricot bushes
  • 2 cherry bushes
  • 75 strawberries plants
  • Grapes

We later added a perennial herb garden and a prickly pear cactus (free from a curb pile).

So really, we managed to squeeze quite a few food-producing plants into our beyond-small backyard. And when you factor in all of the annuals that we grow (squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, swiss chard), that grocery list really starts to shrink down to size. I’ll take shopping in my backyard over shopping at the store any day.

Want to turn your small space into your very own mini-mart? Here’s what I recommend:

  • Choose dwarf, bush or compact varieties of the plants that you want to grow. I used dwarf apple trees, bush cherries, bush apricots and a type of high bush blueberry that grows tall and skinny
  • Choose plants with a high-yield and/or a long growing season. My scaled down plants produce just as much food as their much larger counterparts, but take up far less space
  • Plant in layers. Shade-tolerant plants like lettuce, radishes and strawberries will do just fine planted under something else
  • Grow vertically when you can. I trained my grapes to grow on arbors, so they don’t take up any space
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