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Upper Midwest Gardening: Lip-Smacking Landscapes

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Think out of the box advises gardener Rebecca Kolls. You can grow food, vegetables and herbs right in your front-yard landscape.

Lettuce makes a beautiful edging plant.

Why not mix your garden up a bit? You don’t need a designated space to grow vegetables. You can use veggies to create a beautiful landscape. (This is especially good news for those with limited gardening space.)

Tuck In Vegetables
Have you seen a walkway edged in parsley or leafy lettuce, or a courtyard garden filled with sturdy heads of cabbage or radicchio ‘Indigo’? It’s eye candy, edible and easy to grow. Cabbages can be planted from transplants, but for leafy lettuce I like sowing seeds directly into the soil. Simply press these tiny seeds into moist soil. Once lettuce reaches 3 inches tall, harvest the top 2 inches and eat up. What’s left behind will grow—and can be harvested two or three more times.

Once the weather is hot, the lettuce withers and bolts (sets seed). Give the soil a break; replant again at the end of July for fall harvest.

Need a tall, fancy ornamental? Try tucking in a few Brussels sprouts. (They’re unusual plants that may make the neighbors gawk.)

Add Herbs
In the ground, cascading from a hanging basket or spilling over the sides of a container, herbs can spice up the garden and landscape. Thyme is one of my favorites. Its soft, dainty leaves are a great filler for window boxes or containers—and a snappy addition to soups and salads.

Savor the Flavor of Flowers

Edible flowers are easy to grow in the landscape and hanging baskets and add delicious flavor to soups, salads and deserts. I love the hot “pop” of color that nasturtiums add in the front border or dripping from hanging baskets—as well as the peppery “pop” of spice they add to salads and sandwiches. Both the flowers and leaves are edible.

As with any plants, success comes when you plant them in the right spots. Give them what they need: sun, soil and water. And be sure to feed vegetables and flowers on a regular basis. Then be ready to eat up the goodness! What vegetables will you try this spring? And where?

 

See more Midwest gardening articles.