Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eco-Friendly Lunch & Snack Options & What is Edible Landscaping?

Dear Folks,

I will get to the question of what is Edible Landscaping below, but first - options to plastic wrapped and bagged lunch and snacks for school or office.

Susan Decker is "Always A Little Behind" crafts and this gal is an amazing one-woman crafter. Pictured here is her newest eco product, reusable and washable snack bags to replace plastic wrap and ziplock bags.  These items are new additions to her lunch products.  

"Lunch Bags are 11”h x 8 ½” w x 3” d, made from 100% cotton fabric, lined with Nylon Ripstop fabric (waterproof and washable), and haveVelcro closures. Take your lunch to work, know which bag is yours and be environmentally friendly all at once!"  The snack bags pictured are small, medium and about half the size of the lunch "box" bag.  The lunch bag is $12 and the 3 smaller ones are $4, $5 and $6 or $13.50 for the set of 3.

Contact Susan at:
Or call: (480)895-8889

You can see the lunch bag at her etsy site

Greg Peterson of the "Urban Farm" in Phoenix writes about the need to find better eco ways to replace plastic wrap in the current issue of Edible Phoenix.  Greg contemplates the impact of the Gulf Oil spill and all of our tremendous use of petroleum-based products.  He also highlights a Tempe gardener who created a community garden in her back yard -- a superior idea.  A community garden does not have to be a public dedicated lot, it can be as simple or as complex as you and your friends, neighbors or group care to make it. I am currently mentoring a retirement community garden, and an elementary school community garden.  There is no better time in this current economy, and with our primary planting season getting under way, to find ways to garden in your backyard or with friends.

Read more of Greg's article "Jena's Tempe Garden" here:

If you are not familiar with the Edible Phoenix magazine it is available at your favorite farmers market, quarterly, or you can subscribe here:

. . .

WHAT IS Edible Landscaping?

When I say "edible landscaping" to a customer or passer-by at the farmers market I sometimes get a quizzical look - what IS edible landscaping, the look says. Many people take the word landscaping to infer LARGE as in trees and shrubs.

What I mean by edible landscaping is the use of edibles in place of ALL aspects of the garden — opening up the choices of what to use, and where, for texture, form, and fragrance.

In most cases there is an edible plant, which will do well in the desert, to replace strictly ornamental (and often poisonous) plants, making the gardens safer for family and pets, in the long term — and useful as in edible.

Do you like fountain grass?  How about replacing it with lemon grass.

Need to get rid of the oleander, or would like large privacy plantings?  Replace it with bamboo or sugar cane.  The sugar cane grows handsomely like bamboo but is not as invasive and comes in a gorgeous stem color of burgundy called "Pele's Smoke" (an heirloom sugar cane).*   Bamboo shoots (the young sprouts at the base of stalks) ARE the bamboo shoots you buy canned in the Asian section of your grocery store.

If you are worried about the watering requirements of sugar cane or bamboo, once established they take standard vegetable watering — in our gardens now with temperatures still in the 100s the sugarcane is being watered every 4 days.

*Sugar cane has a history in the Valley of the Sun.  It was grown commercially in the late 1800s and early 1900s and again to a lesser degree in the 1950s-70s.  It grows easily and quickly to a nice height of 8 to 12 feet, can be cut back for harvest and re-sprouts.  Because the leaves can be ‘sharp,' sugar cane also makes a good perimeter/privacy hedge.

Need a formal hedge?  Try myrtle, lavender, rosemary, or any of the scented geraniums for your options of low to high hedges, which can be trimmed to form.

Themes and Landscaping ideas from: "Edible Landscaping In The Desert Southwest: Wheelbarrow to Plate"

Back Row:  Lavender (tolerant of lime leach from blocks and bricks)
Front Row:  Ornamental (and edible) Kales and cabbages

You can find more information on these themes by purchasing the book (the book is now also available for iPad users) or joining the "Edible landscaping subscription service" - see the link in the upper right corner here on the blog.

As mentioned above, now is the beginning of our primary planting time.  Optimal time for perennial plants, trees and shrubs is Oct through Feb.  Oh and cool weather annuals and Garlic!

Have a great time in the garden

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady