Planting it forward means adding plants to a landscape that can be gifted to others, shared at a holiday meal, or otherwise used at a specific time in the future. It also means designing a garden or landscape that provides year-round food and color.
As one season passes and another arrives, a whole new set of conditions take the stage. Sunlight hours, temperatures, and rainfall make it easier for some plants and harder for others. Planning a garden design for year-round food and flowers can increase biodiversity and pollination, while reducing weeds, pests, and erosion. It also makes a landscape look lovely every month of the year.
Planting it forward - for food
California weather makes it possible to grow edible plants outdoors year-round. Gardeners in other regions must plan differently. Cool season greens and cruciferous vegetables prefer our winter and spring. Potato plants offer greenery in the landscape from spring to summer, and harvestable potatoes in the fall. Perennial edibles, such as asparagus, fruit trees, bramble fruits, grapes, kiwifruit, and rhubarb are excellent anchor points in a landscape. Planting it forward for food allows you to share fresh produce at holiday dinners and other special events.
Planting it forward - for color
Edible and ornamental plants can provide many different colors. These different shapes and colors attract pollinators and other beneficial birds and insects. As the seasons change, so do those colors. When designing your garden or landscape, note what colors and blooms will be present each month. I use a spreadsheet of flower color by month to help ensure that my honey bees have access to food all year. [You can email me if you would like a copy.]
Planting it forward - for others
Life is rarely restrained. Most plants generate far more seeds than are ever expected to survive. You can harvest those seeds and plant them. Cosmos and marigolds go to seed easily. Those and other seeds can be collected and planted as gifts to family and neighbors. They also make welcome gifts to individuals in hospitals and retirement homes. Melon and squash seeds can be started in small pots and gifted to neighbors and local food charities. Being large seeds, they are also easy for children to plant. Succulents are durable in drought-prone areas and they nearly propagate themselves. This is an excellent children's activity for several different reasons and it costs practically nothing.
So, make the most of your landscape and share the wealth!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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