How to Have an Edible Garden Under Black Walnut Trees

How to Have an Edible Garden Under Black Walnut Trees

I’ve been asked the same question twice recently, “What edible plants can I grow under my black walnut trees?”. Well, I’m glad there are other people with this question, because since we moved to Wisconsin, I’ve found myself pondering that exact same question. The back portion of our 1/2 acre yard has about 12 mature black walnut trees (I’m not joking!).

If you haven’t heard of the gardening dilemmas around black walnut trees, here’s a super quick explanation of why gardening can be tricky near them. Black walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone that is released into the soil via the roots and also onto the soil through the leaves, stems, and nut hulls. Juglone is typically found in the soil beneath the tree canopy but can extend out about 60’ from the base of the tree. Many plants can’t tolerate juglone, and therefore won’t grow under or near black walnut trees.

How to Stay Connected to Your Garden in the Fall (and Winter)

How to Stay Connected to Your Garden in the Fall (and Winter)

Fall and winter pose an interesting challenge for gardeners. On one hand, it’s really nice to have some forced time away from your garden to rest, relax, and recuperate. On the other hand, if you’re in a cold climate (like me, in Wisconsin), you might start to feel pretty disconnected from your garden over the long and bitterly cold winter months.

Why You Need a Design For a Successful Edible Landscape

Why You Need a Design For a Successful Edible Landscape

A professional quality landscape design will ensure that your edible landscape and outdoor space are super functional, customized for you and your unique space, low maintenance, cost effective, and visually pleasing.

When Is The Best Time To Design Your Edible Landscape?

When Is The Best Time To Design Your Edible Landscape?

Have you been thinking about making changes to your landscape but can’t decide when to actually sit down and create a design? Well, if you’ve been asking yourself, “When is the best time to design my edible landscape?”, I have a short and sweet answer for you…

How Edible Landscaping Will Improve Your Life and The World

How Edible Landscaping Will Improve Your Life and The World

If you’ve taken my free training series on edible landscape design, you’ll know that my passion for edible landscapes runs deep. In the first video, I talk about my journey into this work and how my desire to make a positive difference in the world led me from ornamental landscaping to edible, medicinal, and permaculture landscape design. But what I don’t talk about very often is HOW edible landscaping can improve your life (and even the world).

10 Examples of Edible Gardens That Will Inspire You

10 Examples of Edible Gardens That Will Inspire You

Fall and winter are great times to create garden designs and plans. Whether you’re just getting started and need a full landscape design or simply making some changes to your existing garden, the colder months offer plenty of time to get your best ideas on paper.

Today I have a fun blog post for you. I’ve gathered ten inspiring photos of edible gardens from around the internet. They are all great design examples and offer creative edible landscape ideas for a variety of garden spaces.

The Best 5 Books for the DIY Edible Gardener

The Best 5 Books for the DIY Edible Gardener

If you're a gardener or lover of gardening books, you likely know that the gardening book selection is vast.  It can even be overwhelming.  When I lived in Portland, OR, I would spend hours just browsing books in the gardening section of Powell's Books (the best bookstore I've ever been to, by the way).  Libraries are often well-stocked with gardening books, too.  

I've put together a list of five gardening books that I absolutely love.  If you're overwhelmed by all the choices at your favorite book store, online retailer, or library, take a look at these books to get started.  Then search around some more and decide which other books suit your gardening (and learning) style.

6 (More) Permaculture Principles For Your Edible Landscape

6 (More) Permaculture Principles For Your Edible Landscape

My first post about permaculture talked about six of the 12 permaculture design principles and how they can be applied to your garden. 

This post will discuss the next six principles: produce no waste, design from patterns to details, integrate rather than segregate, use and value diversity, use edges and value the marginal, and creatively use and respond to change. 



How to Design Your Super Useful Fruit Tree Guild

How to Design Your Super Useful Fruit Tree Guild

Fruit trees are an integral part of edible landscaping.  They offer shade, fruit, seasonal interest, structure to your garden design, and so much more.  One simple way we can support the fruit trees in your edible garden is through planting fruit tree guilds.  Fruit tree guilds are one of the countless permaculture design techniques that can be applied to your home garden.

What are fruit tree guilds?  They are human-made communities of plants that are located beneath and surrounding fruit trees.  These plants have specific qualities that will support your fruit tree: nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators, compost makers, and insect / pollinator attractors.  Some plants serve more than one purpose in the guild (and may also be food or medicine for you, too).

Surprise Your Friends With These 7 Unusual Garden Fruits

Surprise Your Friends With These 7 Unusual Garden Fruits

Here are 7 unusual fruiting plants for your home garden, so that you can opt for a unique and highly valuable landscape surrounding your home.

6 Permaculture Principles for Your Edible Landscape

6 Permaculture Principles for Your Edible Landscape

When I first learned about permaculture, I was blown away by the profound accessibility to the design principles.  Reading over the 12 principles, I remember thinking, "This makes complete and total sense.”  Applied to our gardens, permaculture is basically a design system which is intended to mimic patterns and relationships in nature while also providing food and energy.  In a nutshell, it's very smart design that focuses on the relationships between things, rather than on separate objects or pieces of your landscape.  This interconnectedness reduces your work, increases your harvest, and returns energy back to our wonderful earth. 

How to Design Your Edible Landscape Like a Professional

How to Design Your Edible Landscape Like a Professional

The most common question I'm asked is where to plant something in someone's yard.  I love and dread this question because choosing a location for one plant is challenging.  What seems to be a simple question turns into a lengthy discussion with me asking way more questions in return.  I can usually come up with a good location based on the information I've gleaned from our conversation, but what I really want is to encourage people to look at their yard with a bigger vision. 

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Edible Garden

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Edible Garden

I absolutely love helping homeowners create the edible landscape of their dreams.  As a landscape designer, I've had the pleasure of visiting tons of gardens.  Over the years I have seen common mistakes that leave homeowners feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and simply at a loss on how to move forward.  Here are five challenges I see most often, with tips on how you can can avoid making the same mistakes.

5 Sensational Resources For a Delightful Garden

5 Sensational Resources For a Delightful Garden

The rain has returned to Portland and the leaves are beginning to change colors. The daylight is getting shorter. Fall is here and our bodies naturally want to focus inward. During this time of year, I bring my love for gardening indoors through books. I've been reading some amazing books lately on plant medicine (which I'll write about this winter) but today I have five gardening books that I want to tell you about. 

What's so special about these books? They are fantastic resource for any climate and they are the books I turn to often and/or frequently recommend to my friends and clients. 

How to Grow Enough Garlic For a Year

How to Grow Enough Garlic For a Year

I get so excited when September arrives and I can plant our annual garlic crop. Why? I'll be completely honest with you. Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow, plus it fills the empty garden spaces left by my summer veggies. Here are a few suggestions for growing enough garlic for your household.

Introducing the Most Useful Expert Landscape Design Tips

Introducing the Most Useful Expert Landscape Design Tips

As a landscape designer, I'm always looking at landscapes and gardens. I've seen plenty of DIY gardens, landscape projects, and even online information that unfortunately weren't the best ideas. I've gathered four links to the best landscape design tips I could find online so that you have easy access to quality information, without feeling overwhelmed.

How to Make My Favorite Dandelion Flower Cookies

How to Make My Favorite Dandelion Flower Cookies

I wish I had captured my friend's face when she took her first bite. Before I stepped away to grab more tea, my friend said, "This plate might be empty by the time you get back." She wasn't kidding. She ate several cookies during our visit and took the recipe and four more cookies home for her family. 

How to Eat Well From Your Garden in Early Spring

How to Eat Well From Your Garden in Early Spring

I've found myself grazing in my garden already this year.  I am thrilled to see some of my greens returning after being eaten to the ground by slugs as seedings last fall and surprise returns from my arugula, spinach, and collard greens.

Yesterday I snapped a few pictures as I grazed in the afternoon sun, hungry for fresh food, despite the lunch I ate a couple hours earlier.  Perhaps it's the change of seasons or my body's desire for more greens, but I made my way around my backyard (mostly in a squat) snacking on anything edible. It was one of the most delightful snacking experiences this year.  

What's snack-worthy this time of year, you ask?  A surprising amount of greens.  Here's what I have growing right now:

How to Grow and Use Lavender For Your Family

How to Grow and Use Lavender For Your Family

Lavender looks great with nearly everything.  It's silvery foliage and beautiful purple flowers add unique colors and textures to any garden.  Try growing it near your vegetable garden, in your herb garden, in a perennial border, or paired with roses for a cottage garden feel.

Encourage rebloom by removing the first flush of flowers. Avoid pruning after late summer to prevent new growth from emerging. Pruning for shape and to remove seed heads is best done in mid- to late spring.

5 Words You Need to Know Before Designing Your Landscape

5 Words You Need to Know Before Designing Your Landscape

For any landscape to be great, the very first aspect to consider is function. Is the space easy to use? Are the elements of the landscape arranged in a way that makes sense for daily use and with your specific microclimates within that space? How can the space be arranged to achieve multiple goals at the same time?