Eat Your Yard! Edible Landscaping with Hatchet and Seed

Eating locally grown food allows consumers to be more connected to their food sources. And one of the best ways to ensure you are getting fresh, healthy, nutritious food is to grow it yourself.

An excellent way to incorporate vegetables, herbs, and fruits into an existing landscape is through edible landscaping, or “foodscaping”. You don’t have to have a green thumb or a ton of space to add a few of your favourite edibles in and amongst your ornamentals. With edible landscape designs, you can still have the pleasure of enjoying your roses and shrubs while reaping the benefits of your own homegrown food.

There are many positives to creating an edible landscape:

  • For starters, you’ll save money; food is expensive and by simply adding a few salad green, berries, and herbs, you will cut costs.
  • Growing our own food can help decrease greenhouse gas emissions by limiting our dependence on food shipping.
  • Edible landscapes create diversity and promote healthy ecosystems for birds and beneficial insects.
  • Visually, edible landscaping adds interesting splashes of colour and texture, while inter-planting edibles with ornamentals creates striking contrasts.
  • Create shade and wind protection with fruit trees, or fruit-bearing bushes.
  • Transform the front of a building, along the boulevard, or your front yard into a thriving, food-producing oasis.
  • Conserve water usage by planting drought resistant plants (instead of water consuming lawns) and have wood chip pathways.
  • Avoid the use of harsh chemicals by growing organically and having more control of what goes into your food.
  • Connect with your community—trade and share yields with neighbours.
  • Teach children about the importance of growing food and increase the awareness of local and sustainable food production.
Fernwood Kitchen Garden

Fernwood Kitchen Garden

Experts in the field of edible landscaping and applied permaculture, Tayler Krawczyk and Solara Goldwynn shed some light on the added benefits of creating homegrown food systems.

The North Saanich couple have been operating their business Hatchet and Seed since 2010. The company provides landscape consulting, design, and installation services with a strong focus on organic, ecological and permaculture principles.

The couple agrees that urban farming, while it has been gaining popularity, isn’t for everyone. “On a macro-scale, we are aware of food security as an issue,” says Krawczyk, “but there is a spectrum and most people fall somewhere in the middle.”

Often times, limited space and lack of time will deter someone from growing food. But you can just as easily plunk in a few herbs or tea plants beside your front door. Goldwynn says, “Start with things that can go underneath your rosebushes or lilacs and incorporate things you may already be eating.”

fresh tea basketHave you heard that expression roses love garlic? Well, apparently they do and planting members of the onion family can increase the rose’s aroma. “Some call it nook and cranny gardening,” says Krawczyk, “when you’re growing your own food right outside your front door. Besides, being born and raised in Saskatchewan, it’s a paradise to eat out of the garden year round [here on Vancouver Island].”

The whole idea with edible landscaping is to design with food in mind by interspersing edible plants with ornamentals. Try to think of edible plants the same way as any other in your landscape. “The easiest way to learn is to get help,” says Krawczyk. “Get somebody out a couple of times to help you prune. Find a garden coach and remember plants are resilient.”

“Consider combining perennials that look and smell lovely,” says Goldwynn. For example, “if you drink tea, plant a few tea plants like lemon balm, mint, verbena, and lavender.” A lot of herbs and perennials are drought resistant (cuts down the watering for you) as well as being beneficial insect attracters. “The essential oils in the herbs help to deter pests,” Goldwynn says.

Edibles and ornamentals

Edibles and ornamentals

Hatchet and Seed offer a variety of services for the homeowner, farmer, community groups, and for larger commercial projects. From site visits to holistic orchard spraying, pruning, fence building, and pond construction to workshop classes, their clients and project partners have included the Capital Regional District (CRD), Uvic Community Gardens, The Compost Education Centre, and The Fernwood NRG—installing their Kitchen Garden Project and many more.

One of the key components Hatchet and Seed focus on, when working with prospective clients, is to get a clear sense of what people expect. “We offer an initial design consultation that includes an online survey to provide site specific insight and suggestions for design,” says Krawcyzk. Their overall mandate is to “promote the regeneration of landscapes by establishing multi-functional, water-smart food systems that contribute to food security.”

Tips for success with edible landscaping:

  • Select edibles that require the same growing conditions as you ornamentals.
  • Consider growing plants that will support each other like corn, beans and squash [the three sisters method].
  • If space is an issue, use containers and pots.
  • Select smaller, dwarf varieties that don’t require a lot of room to produce a good quanity.
  • Remember: most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sun and shallow rooted plants require regular watering.
  • For shade tolerant crops like leafy greens and root vegetables, take advantage of shade provided by larger ornamentals and plant them underneath or near by.

More importantly, have fun and start small. Focus on working with the space outside your front door. “If you can go outside in your slippers to get it” says Goldwynn, “you’ve got the right idea.”

Hatchet and Seed

Phone: (250) 884-2279











Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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