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The Fruits of Your Labors: Edible Gardens

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

When I was a kid, sometime in July my dad started whipping up special concoctions. Garden dinners, he called them. And the one rule was that everything had to come straight from the patch of dirt beside our driveway. Beets, onions, potatoes, peppers, zucchini, summer squash -- throw slices of those tasty veggies in a pan and sauté them up and you'll see that my dad was on to something. For most of us, gardening is about creating something beautiful, but why not create something delicious too?

You don't have to have acres of land to make growing fruits and vegetables reasonable. Here are some gardening tips to help you get started living off the fat of the land.
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Integrate Away

A vegetable patch can be satisfying, but if your yard doesn't have space for it, plant fruits and vegetables in among your ordinary flowerbeds. A little border of strawberries gets you cute little white flowers and sweet summer fruit. A zucchini plant gets you some rustically charming orange blooms, some serious green leaves, and tasty squash. No giant vegetable garden required.

Consider the Great Indoors

Not all your efforts toward an edible garden have to send you out into the yard. Herbs, in particular, make fabulous window box plants. And better yet, you'll have fresh cooking ingredients at the ready, no outdoor effort required.

Don't Forget the Bees

Some vegetable plants do just fine solo, but for some, major cross pollination is a must, take corn for instance, it really needs those rows to flourish. If you want to make sure your gardening efforts reward you with dinner in the end, make sure to check on your plants' needs for fellow plants.

Gardening with the harvest in mind means reaping the rewards of your labors in a whole new way.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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