Book Review: "The Edible Landscape"

"The Edible Landscape" by Emily Tepe (Voyageur Press, 160 pages, $24.99) 

Book review by Susan Mulvihill

Here's another new book on edible landscaping that I want to tell you about.

In Emily Tepe's book, "The Edible Landscape," I immediately felt connected to her while reading this quote:

"Food is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of our lives. And yet we let strangers, thousands of miles away, on land we will never see, decide what our food must look like and taste like, what our food is treated with to prevent disease, and what is put into the soil to make that food grow.... Why do we accept this?"

I couldn't agree more and know that a lot of folks feel the same away because of the increased interest in growing our own food.

Tepe stresses the need to have a diverse ecosystem which occurs when we grow ornamentals, veggies, fruits and herbs together. She is a proponent of edible landscaping because it allows us to grow edible crops in the most ideal spots in our yards.

She discusses the importance of meeting the sunlight requirements of plants and addresses companion planting to get the most out of one's garden space. And she talks about the importance of not overreacting to insect or disease problems. Instead, we need to be alert to problems as they arise and determine the most sustainable way to deal with them.

There are attractive photos and colorful illustrations throughout the book that are sure to inspire and intrigue the reader.

Tepe also devotes a lot of attention to design elements such as balance, flow and plants' growth habits. She even addresses the advantage of growing plants vertically.

The book has practical sections on topics like starting plants from seed, transplanting, watering, mulching and weeding. She gives advice on dealing with insects, critters and disease, and wraps up the discussion with information on soil preparation and putting the garden to bed for winter.

There is a chapter on the author's favorite plants for edible landscaping, along with their cultural requirements and inside tips on growing them to maximize your success. At the end of the book, there is a huge resource index that contains web addresses of the sources she consulted with for many of the topics she wrote about. She emphasizes the importance of going to educational web sites for the most accurate information, something that I as a Master Gardener really appreciates!

So if you think you don't have room for growing edibles, "The Edible Landscape" will show you how to incorporate them into your yard. They in turn will feed you well while injecting some pizzazz into your garden design.

Cover photo reprinted with permission.