Time to Go Out and Eat the Lawn?

Primary tabs

Time to Go Out and Eat the Lawn?

Edible Estates instructions on how to make your own edible landscape
tweet me:
Time to Go Out and Eat the Lawn? http://3bl.me/gcpt5a
Friday, February 5, 2010 - 1:00pm


I remember a Bill Cosby skit where early humans are figuring out what to eat. All they’ve come up with is bushes—and they’re getting pretty sick of eating bushes. They want some meat. So they decide to sneak up on a couple of saber–toothed tigers. Predictably, the tigers roar and scare the, uh… scat, out of the cave folk. One tiger remarks to the other “What are they doing now? The other replies, “They’re eating bushes!”

Well, eating the landscape is now haute cuisine and a great conservationist move. As our friends Deb and Rick at Seeds of Solidarity Farm say, “Grow food everywhere!” Where better than right out the front door?

Our friends at Inhabitat brought to our attention a program in LA that is turning lawns and landscaping into edible gardens of Eden. For millennia we lived where the food was—why not grow the food right where we live? It’s not like the world is crying out for another chemical drenched lawn or anything. And instead of raiding the refrigerator for a midnight snack, you can go out to the yard.

The brainchild of Fritz Haeg, Edible Estates is prototyping edible landscapes at homes in locales as diverse as Kansas, Manhattan, London, LA, New Jersey, Austin and Baltimore.

Rather than breaking your back and spewing fumes mowing, spreading chemical fertilizers and noxious herbicides on the land you live on to prop up an unnatural golf course in your yard, why not “grow your own” food and any other crop that wont’ get you arrested. Imagine fresh organic kale, tomatoes, leeks, peppers, sweet corn, even grapes, fruit and nut trees growing right off the front porch.

You can move from the boring Baltimore yard above, to the stunning veggie patch below.

From the Edible Estates site, here’s a basic “how-to” to get you started:

Basic instructions to make your own edible landscape:

What you will need:

  • a rented sod-cutter (about $80/day)

  • a rented roto-tiller (about $50/day)

  • a truck load of compost, calculated to cover the size of your estate

  • shovels, hand trowels and rakes

  • friends and neighbors to help

  • irrigation system, such as soaker hoses

  • stakes and string

  • fencing material to deter animals

  • selected vegetables, herbs and fruits as seeds, starts, or trees for your region

Some questions to think about when planning your edible estate:

  • where is south? Where are the shady and sunny areas

  • where should tall trees or lower groundcover go? Are there views to frame or obscure

  • what do you want to eat from your estate? What can’t you get from the grocery store

  • a lot of fruits and vegetables grow on vines, do you have something for them to grow on

  • how do you want to move through the edible estate? Where should paths go

  • what kind of mulch to use? Straw, bark, compost, leaves will retain moisture, block weeds and decompose into the soil? - is there an area in your estate for people? A place to relax and enjoy the plants and food growing

Basic instructions to create your own edible estate:

  1. Use sod-cutter to remove existing grass, roll it up, give it away, or find a new use for it

  2. Use roto-tiller to loosen compacted soil

  3. Spread around about 2-5 inches of compost

  4. till the soil again to mix in the new compost

  5. Mark out a plan for your edible estate with stakes and string

  6. Plant your seedlings, starts, trees and seeds according to the planting calendar

  7. Water them in thoroughly with a garden hose

  8. Install an 18″ – 24″ fence to deter small local animals, like rabbits if you have problems

So there you have it. Quit mowing the grass and grow some greens instead. You’ll save time, chemicals, CO2 and gasoline, and bucks on your food bill.

Greenopolis.com is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.


Keywords: edible estates | garden | gardens | landscape | landscape architecture | lawn