By Lindsey Mann
Are you planting a garden this spring? Consider including edible plants. Put your resources into plants that are not just beautiful, but healthy and delicious!
Berries like strawberry, blueberry, blackberry or fig and pear trees are well- known favorites that grow well in our climate. Lesser known plants such as paw-paw, maypop, wineberries or bush cherries deserve consideration as well.
Planting edibles is certainly a way to go green.  Not only do we save fossil fuels by growing our food at home (its as local as you get!) but it leads us to be better stewards of the earth.
Traditional landscaping is responsible for half of household water use and a lot of synthetic chemicals that pollute our environment. We are more careful when we eat our landscape. But growing food doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Include shrubs, vines and trees in your design- like the ones mentioned above, and include just a small patch of full-sun for your annual veggies, which take more care. Also look into perennial vegetables, such as leeks or sorrels for salads.
To support your home ecosystem and a healthy garden, plant native flowering perennials like Aster, Echinacea (coneflower) or Ascelpias (Butterfly milkweed), which is beautiful and supports Monarchs that have been in decline.  These flowers attract beneficial insects that pollinate plants and prey on pests.
Major considerations in design are plants’ water, soil and sun preferences.  Don’t forget the sun changes location from winter to summer and throughout the day. The sun is hotter in the afternoon, so western exposure bakes while eastern is a bit milder.

Lindsey Mann is the founder of Sustenance Design, which provides assistance in growing ecologically-supportive landscapes, healthier for people and the earth. Sustenance Design works with homeowners and schools in all aspects of gardening, from master plans to seeding.
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