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The beginning of the year delivers garden catalogs to our door. So much to choose from; new hybrids that delights the eye with color and shape and form and maybe the unusual. All tempt us.

Edible landscaping is a concept and plan that gives us an opportunity to sculpt a landscape with food production in mind.Today I would like to propose 2 edible fruits that can easily be placed under and near shrubs and used as ground covers.

 

1. Alpine Strawberries: Fragaria vesca

These varieties do not send out runners and therefore you will find them more contained. They produce all summer till frost; This plant does well in rock gardens.

Height: 6″;

Need full sun, well drained soil;

Space 1′ apart and may need dividing in 3 to 4 years;

 

 

2. Lingonberries: Vaccinium species

These plants are native to Sweden and used in a variety of culinary recipes such as jams, jellies, sauces and syrups. They produce bright red berries and deep evergreen leaves that turn red in fall. They also form a dense mat and can choke out weeds. Lingonberries take two years to fruit and can yield 1/2 to 1 lb. fruit/plant. Like blueberries they require a soil pH of 5.8 or below.

Needs sun and likes good drainage and acid soil;

Height: 12-18″ tall;

space 1-2′ apart when planting and select two varieties for better pollination.

Lingonberry is related to blueberry and cranberry. The photo to the right shows a lovely patch that fits right into this landscape adding variety in texture and color. It is typically found in colder regions just like its cousin the cranberry. No pruning is needed and it can effectively block out weeds.

Adding berries such as the lingonberry provide food for wildlife as well. The berries of the lingonberry arrive at the end of summer when other fruits dwindle. Various birds, such as thrushes, bluebirds, cowbirds and even hummingbirds enjoy the flowers, shiny leaves that repel water and snow and of course the fruit.

These two plants  enhance the landscape from providing easy to maintain ground covers that help choke out weeds, to supplying food for humans and wildlife as well as visual interest.

What are the health benefits of both? Strawberries provide vitamin C and fiber. Lingonberry is considered one of the new super fruits by Dr. Oz.

He states: : Animal studies have shown how the lingonberry can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body. Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation. Proanthocyanidin extracts from lingonberries were also found to be effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause a wide variety of infections. “

If you do not have an organic seed catalog for Organic seed source, try this link.

Healthy for us, healthy for wildlife, supports diversity.

Enjoy your day. Judith

 

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