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I’ve been helping out at my county’s extension office help desk this fall.  As a Master Gardener we have to put in so many volunteer hours in order to maintain our membership.

I’ve enjoyed playing detective. Folks bring in withered, yellowed and troubled plants and we set out to discover what’s ailing them. Our microscope gives us a chance to catch bugs in the act or see fungi. We have many reference books to help us gather data. The internet and Google images provide great tools to assist in this process.

Part of my message today is to remind you to utilize this wonderful service supported by state university’s extension services. They have a wealth of resources for your garden needs or questions. I will however remind you to go organic, shop local, rethink lawn spaces which brings me to this week’s topic: edible ground covers .

One day after I finished researching a plant’s problem for a resident in our community, I stumbled across a pamphlet on edible ground covers. I was curious to find out that several berry producing plants could be used to fill in landscape areas even fill in spaces under trees and shrubs. Blueberries, strawberries, even cranberries can be utilized in our landscapes. Imagine taking lawn and replanting with  juicy berry bushes that require little fussing and are often drought resistant.

Robert Fulford states in his article, The Lawn: North America’s Magnificent Obsession: “North American’s devote 40,000 square mile to lawn, more than what we use for wheat, corn, or even tobacco. “ Sustainable and edible landscaping offers us alternative ways to reclaim lawn that enhances the aesthetic appearance of our yards as well as offers food and nourishment in relatively easy ways.

Autumn does her dance, while harvesting finishes and garden chore cleanup continues. As we look around our landscapes I would like to suggest we give thought and attention to including edible ground covers.

Four Benefits of Edible Ground  Covers in Our Landscape:

1. they are a good alternative to turf grass;

2. they can be more drought resistant;

3. provide food that can be incorporated in ornamental landscaped areas, potentially increasing our food production areas;

4. fill in spaces under trees and shrubs

These plants also support various species who are sorely in need of habitat and food. In my next posts we’ll look at each species and review planting needs and their health benefits.

Enjoy your day. Judith





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