Have you been wanting to add edibles to your garden but feel you simply don’t have the space? Are you tired of having a cookie cutter garden, but don't know what to add to bring excitement and a unique design esthetic to your landscape?
Over the years, I’ve naturally gravitated to adding edibles in my own landscape - first with herbs, then with cold crops, and finally with our favorite vegetables. Additionally, I have many dear friends who love to harvest from my garden but also are quick to dismiss having a garden of their own due to “not having the perfect space”.
But, what if having "the perfect space" is just an excuse? What if the best way to add edibles into the landscape means leveraging what is right in front of your eyes?
All you need is a new perspective to see that a cutting EDGE garden is available to virtually everyone. That fresh perspective on the limitless potential found in the common suburban landscape is the topic of my conversation with Brie Arthur. She’s the writer behind a book I think every gardener should get a copy of this year - The Foodscape Revolution. It's also a glimpse into Brie’s vision for modern gardeners - turning landscapes into something more robust and sustainable; Foodscapes… and I believe it’s the future.
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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.
Brie, let’s do a quick meet and greet and then we’ll dive into the book.
Time Stamp: 24:35
What are some examples of the better way to make space for food and beauty in the garden, Brie?
Time Stamp 26:20
And the introduction of your book you give a definition of foodsscaping that I think is very helpful. Could you read that allowed for us and then let's talk about it on the other side.
Time Stamp 27:45
How did you make up for a lack of formal education and edibles? I'm still working on that myself.
Time Stamp 30:10
What's on the cover of your book and how do you help folks decide where to tuck edibles?
Time Stamp 35:45
If landscapers incorporate more foodscaping, I could imagine a scenario where the landscape professional returns bimonthly or monthly to help manage the food scape through succession sowing or harvesting etc. do you see it that way as well?
Time Stamp 40:35
There’s a surprising amount of biodiversity from a deficit perspective if you only garden with edibles. You gave some examples of plants that seem to offer biodiversity, but really don’t when you plant them all together. Can you explain further?
Time Stamp 46:35
Now, you say that rice is a great gateway plant into foods scaping, why is that?
Time Stamp 52:10
You outlined some of the benefits for homeowners incorporating foods into their landscape. Among them you said, “Unexpected beauty.” I wanted to spend a little bit of time with the unexpected beauty piece because there are so many edibles that are absolutely gorgeous to grow. What are some of your favorites?
Time Stamp 1:03:20
Can you walk us through the food scape zones and how those zones dictate where edibles get planted?
Time Stamp 1:10:35
In chapter 2, you talk about how in order to have a foodscape you have to have an ornamental plant framework. How can we help people put an ornamental framework in place and in quick fashion?
Time Stamp 1:14:25
Another great feature of your book, it's the very first part of the appendix and it's on page 175, is the resource called ornamentals for every region. You asked some of the best horticulturalists from 15 different regions across the United States to weigh in with their top ornamental plants. These are some pretty excellent recommendations.
Time Stamp 1:18:35
What are some of your bigger edible crops that you plant based on what you like to eat, Brie?
Time Stamp 1:22:30
One of my absolute pages in your book is page 49 because you're giving gardeners edible exchanges. In this case, you're focusing on a group of plants you called Beauty queens because these plants are garden stand outs.
Time Stamp 1:26:45
I think one of the more fascinating chapters in your book for edible growers would be chapter 5, which is the chapter where your focus on fruits, nuts, berries and grains. Let's chat about some of these because for many gardeners incorporating these are still a little bit of a novelty.
Time Stamp 1:31:55
On page 107 you spend a little bit of time talking about controlling pest and disease and you offer some advice based on your own personal experience. Two things came to my mind about this. First, pests aren't the big problem that chemical companies would have you believe and second, BT is perfectly safe.
Time Stamp 1:37:25
Anyone who's read your book has to smile at something you devised and it's called the foodie fire pit. I loved this happy accident of design and I want to come up with one for my fire pit. Tell this story.
Time Stamp 1:44:35
Another lovely feature that's very attainable for folks would be the property screen meadow that you share on page 123. You had your own experience coming up with this because you'd attempted this look with ornamentals. It was expensive and it's all died during a very wet winter. However, you found an alternative that was cheaper and worked much better.
Time Stamp 1:49:35
Do you and your husband work together on your landscape?
Time Stamp 1:54:55
You mentioned that your passion for growing plants with truly realized in the summer of 1999 when you worked as an intern for Jeff Mast - the manager of Heartland Growers. Early experiences in horticulture can really leave a favorable impression. What was it about this experience that ignited your passion for horticulture?
Time Stamp 1:56:45
On the back of your book is this lovely sentiment that starts out “once upon a time veggie gardens lived in the backyard, isolated from the rest of the landscape.”
What's the fairytale ending for the foodscape in story?
Time Stamp 2:04:15
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I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.
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Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.
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