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Northwest Gardening: Plant Edibles in the Front Yard

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Become a farmer in your own front yard, says Marianne Binetti. How? By planting beautiful, incredible edibles as part of your landscape.

 Flowers rubbing shoulders with herbs? It's a gorgeous and delicious sight!

Last summer we even invited dinner guests to step out onto the porch to harvest berries and fresh herbs for that evening’s meal.

No Room in Your Beds?
Plant a wheelbarrow of edibles and you’ll really make harvesting convenient—just roll the movable feast right on over to the chef or your guests and let the harvest begin.

Need Heat? Plant Near Concrete
Driveways, walkways, retaining walls and even dark-colored garage doors are parts of the front-yard landscape—and they all attract and hold heat. Use these thermal banks as areas to grow heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Taking advantage of these hot spots is especially important if you struggle to grow heat-loving crops in the cool summer areas of the Northwest.

Berry Good Borders Make Very Good Neighbors
Consider the property line or border between you and the neighbors. Now imagine that as the perfect spot for a tidy hedge of blueberries or a tasty row of raspberries. It would be quite neighborly to explain the berry border project to the neighbors in advance—and then invite them to harvest any fruit on their side of the edible boundary.

Beautiful, Brilliant Swiss Chard
Beautiful, brilliant ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard is the perfect edible for front-yard landscapes. Use this long-lived and ultra-nutritious foliage plant in the center of container gardens or to border a walkway or patio. The upright growth form and brightly colored stems make Swiss chard my favorite companion plant for lower-growing white alyssum, or in front of a climbing display of edible nasturtiums.

Dirt-cheap tip: You’ll appreciate the fact that Swiss chard can overwinter and provide food for up to two years in our climate. Just leave the plants in the ground over the winter and you’ll get a continuous harvest. Every yard needs Swiss chard.

Grow Up and Grow Over
Tired of pruning that climbing rose or overly ambitious clematis? If you want something edible that won’t require replanting each spring, use a grapevine to train along a fence or over an arbor. Cucumbers, squash and peas are other veggies that share a tidy, more formal look for the front yard when trained to grow up and over an arbor.

So what crops will turn you into a front-yard farmer?