Growing an Edible Landscape: How to Transform Your Outdoor Space into a Food Garden (Paperback)

Growing an Edible Landscape: How to Transform Your Outdoor Space into a Food Garden By Gary Pilarchik, Chiara D'Amore Cover Image
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Convert your unproductive lawn and landscape areas into fruitful edible gardens with this practical guide overflowing with ideas, plans, designs, and know-how.

Out with the lawn and in with the food! That’s the battle cry of millions of modern gardeners who are not only looking to reduce the amount of time and energy they have to spend tending a lawn, but they’re also looking to improve the lives of their family, friends, and neighbors by supplying them with fresh, homegrown food. In the United States alone, 46 million acres of land are covered in turfgrass (that’s more acreage than corn and soybeans combined!). Imagine all the good that would come if that land were dedicated to growing food instead! 

Converting unused areas of the landscape into food gardens helps mitigate the effects of climate change, reduces food miles, improves food security, and allows us to be a better steward of our little slice of the planet. But how do you get started? Which plants do you choose? Is there a series of best practices to follow to successfully convert your yard into an edible oasis so that it’s not just high-yielding, but it’s also attractive? Growing an Edible Landscape is here to help answer all of these questions and many more.

Setting up an edible landscape is much more than just placing a few tomato-filled raised beds in the middle of the lawn, though for some gardeners, this might be a logical place to start. The eventual goal, however, is to have a landscape filled with layers of fruitful plants combined together to produce edible harvests for as many months of the year as possible. To reach that end, there’s much to plan and do to ensure your success.

Authors Gary Pilarchik of @therustedgarden and Dr. Chiara D’Amore have devised the perfect guidebook to take you from “turfgrass overwhelm” to consistent harvests of a huge diversity of homegrown edible plants. And the best part is—you can create an edible paradise whether your yard is large or small, sunny or shaded, urban or rural, or level or sloped. 

A few highlights of the systems and techniques outlined in these pages include: 
  • The phases of the transformation process and how they are different for everyone
  • Real-world, sensible garden design options for edible yards 
  • Step-by-step projects to get growing today
  • How to choose the edible plants that are best for your conditions 
  • Practical plant-care tips for everything from seed starting to fertilizing and watering
  • Pick-and-choose menus to help you combine productive plants in an attractive way 
  • Ways in which your edible landscape can cultivate community 

Also included are 25 profiles of common and uncommon plants for an edible yard. From raspberries and asparagus to fruit trees and dandelions, these food plants are great additions to any edible landscape plan.

Start small or go big—it’s your choice! By saying goodbye to lawn and hello to an edible landscape, you’ll soon be starting on a deeply personal journey toward a more self-sufficient and flavorful life.

About the Author

Gary Pilarchik has been gardening for most of his life. His grandfather taught him about vegetable gardening in first grade, and it ignited a passion that has been with him ever since. Gary started his YouTube channel, The Rusted Garden, in 2011 as a way to enjoy himself and teach others about gardening. He has since grown his following of dedicated subscribers, and started a second channel, My First Vegetable Garden, a few years later to cater to first-time vegetable growers. His belief is that a garden wants to give, vegetables want to grow, and everyone can have a successful garden. Providing information and options in his videos, Gary’s goal is to educate viewers so they can make informed choices about their gardens. He enjoys meeting gardeners from around the world through his social media reach and responds to every question and comment people leave for him. Gary sees vegetable gardening as a global hobby that brings people together across cultures and geographical boundaries. 

Dr. Chiara D’Amore is the Executive Director of the Community Ecology Institute, a non-profit organization working to cultivate communities in which people and nature thrive together. She holds a PhD in Sustainability Education and MS in Environmental Science and Engineering and teaches courses related to climate change, civic ecology, experiential education, and research design. She worked as an environmental consultant for over 15 years serving clients such as the United Nations and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. D’Amore also holds Master Gardener and Permaculture Design certificates.

Praise For…

“Growing an Edible Landscape is a game-changing book for anyone who wants to transform their lawn into a thriving edible paradise. This powerful collaboration combines Gary's expertise in practical gardening techniques with Chiara's in-depth knowledge of ecological principles. Together, they provide invaluable insights, step-by-step guidance, and a tons of inspiration to help beginners as well as experienced gardeners create a beautiful, productive landscape that not only enhances the visual appeal of your outdoor space but also yields delicious, homegrown food. This book is a must-have resource that will help you re-think the traditional garden mindset and give you the practical tools to create an a beautiful, abundant, edible landscape.”—CaliKim, author of Organic Gardening for Everyone and The First-Time Gardener: Raised Bed Gardening

“As this vivid, panoramic, accessible book impressively details, nature is a storehouse of food, medicine, beauty, history, peace, community, and more. By making these essential connections tangible through the elevation of edible gardens, this work provides a solid grounding for realigning our trajectories with the world around us -- and enjoying the bounty in the process!”—Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D. Co-Director of Environmental Studies at Georgetown University

“What if we traded every unused lawn in America for a vegetable garden, food forest, and place of nourishment and connection for both people and wildlife? Change starts at home, and Growing an Edible Landscape shows us how to transform our own backyards and communities from the ground up. Filled with practical advice on everything from planting on a budget to working within restrictive covenants to foraging for native and naturalized edible species, authors Gary Pilarchik and Chiara D’Amore encourage readers to think big but act in small, manageable steps. ‘Without a happy gardener, you can’t have happy plants,’ they write, telling beginners what we all wish we had heard when we first started: Don’t worry about perfection. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at a time. Learn from the land and what it has to offer, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There is much to learn from this book and an endless bounty of culinary and spiritual rewards for those who take its lessons to heart.”—Nancy Lawson, author of The Humane Gardener and Wildscape

“If you have been hoping to get closer to nature, Chiara and Gary's guide to filling your life (and your yard!) with beautiful, delicious and sensory delights of nature will set you on your path. Urban, suburban, or rural, gardener or novice, there is a practical and clear plan to follow to make your edible landscape dreams come true!”—Bevin Clare, Professor, Herbalist, and Nutritionist, Maryland University of Integrative Health

"While the book focuses mainly on edible landscapes, it also has some fantastic garden design and planning information, making it a realistic option for front-yard edible gardening." Budget Earth

Product Details
ISBN: 9780760381489
ISBN-10: 0760381488
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Publication Date: November 28th, 2023
Pages: 192
Language: English