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Gardening with Tim: Tasty treats from the yard

SEATTLE — A beautiful yard and garden is not only great to look at– it can also be tasty.

Blueberries can provide delicious healthy treats in the garden. Photo: Wikipedia

Blueberries can provide delicious healthy treats in the garden. Photo: Wikipedia

Accent plants can also be delicious– and that’s the premise of a great how-to-guide by Rosalind Creasy. “Edible Gardening” has been updated several times since it was first published 30 years ago, but it is still a great and inspirational resource.

For instance, she suggests adding a grape arbor that can provide shade, beauty and tasty snacks. Though watch out for the seeded grape varieties.

“Some of the herbs, obviously are very green,” says Lee Howard who manages the Garden Center at the Ballard Fred Meyer in Seattle.

Adding edibles to your yard is pretty easy and pretty, too.

“There are some colors too, so that’s pretty cool.”

Some of his first gardening successes in the yard with edibles were with sun-loving, drought-tolerant herbs.

Rosemary is a great example– it’s easy to add to any landscape and happy to grow in the Pacific Northwest.

From the color pops on the edges of the leaves of lemon thyme to the red hues of some basil varieties it’s proof there is color to be had from edible plants. Lots of texture too– from the spiky leaves of the artichoke to the fragile fern-like fennel. And mixing in edibles into the yard and garden remains a growing trend here in the Northwest.

“People are obviously more aware of where our food comes from,” says Howard.

Crops like chard and kale work well in our cool wet springs and falls. If you have the right spot– fruit trees can provide shade and dessert. Blueberries are a nice, self pollinating bushes that sprout pretty flowers in the spring and early summer.They are also pretty low maintenance, but the drawback is that the birds love them too. So, you’ll likely have to cover them with fine netting or be prepared to share some of your harvest with them.

Even something we revile like the common dandelion is something that actually has edible leaves if you get them when they’re young and from a pet-free area of your yard. The leaves do get more bitter as they age as a plant.

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