Book Review – Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create an Edible Landscape, by Charlie Nardozzi
Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create an Edible Landscape
It was a pleasure to read Charlie Nardozzi’s Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create an Edible Landscape, which offers a unique view of a garden or gardening and landscaping in general. After I read his book, I could see my own garden as plants that could provide both beauty and food, instead of sub-categories of vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees. Viewing the garden this way opens up the possibilities of growing more plants for food within a typical suburban property.
Although foodscaping, also known as edible landscaping, is not a new concept, Charlie points out how to easily integrate edibles into the garden without sacrificing beauty by starting small, planting the right plant in the right place, and growing what one likes to eat. Instead of ripping out the current garden, learn where bee balm, which is grown for herbal tea, can be substituted for daisies and where blueberries can be grown instead of azaleas. By planting eggplant for purple fruit to contrast against orange colored marigolds, persimmon trees for fall color, and hardy kiwi vines up a wall, one can enjoy their beauty while harvesting their fruit.
This 176-page book is divided into four chapters with plenty of colored photographs, illustrating innovative ways to use edibles in the garden.
In the first chapter, Ways and Places to Grow Food, Charlie illustrates how edible plants can be used as foundation plants, hedgerows, barriers, and groundcovers, and used in small spaces, flower gardens, and containers.
The second chapter, Foodscaping 101, covers basic landscaping concepts, such as proportion, balance, focal point, and color, in order to maintain the beauty in an edible landscape.
The third chapter, My Favorite Foodscape Plants, list 40 of his favorites, all of which are edible, taste great, fit well into a modern landscape, and serve more than one purpose. A page is devoted to each of the 40 plants, describing how to use the plant in foodscaping, the attractive varieties, good companion plants, and how to grow and harvest the plant. For example, eggplant can offer colors other than purple (e.g., red, purple/white, or white) in the garden; rosemary can be grown as a shrub or a hedge; sweet potato can be grown as a groundcover; and parsley’s green foliage complements scaevola, calibrachoa, and petunias.
In his last chapter, Plant, Grow and Harvest, Charlie covers basics, such as light, soil, seeds, transplants, fertilizing, composting, pests, and harvesting.
The book is a great way to introduce the topic of planting edibles in a typical, modern garden, to see the intrinsic beauty in vegetables and herbs, and to encourage people by making small changes at a time. Charlie Nardozzi is a well-known garden writer, speaker, and television and radio personality living in Vermont. His 20 years of experience in gardening, as well as communications, shines through in this easy-to-read book. Definitely a 5-shovel read.
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