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Beautiful Edible Garden
Photo Credit: David Fenton

Edible arrangements started to sound much more appealing after we spoke with Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner.

The cofounders of Star Apple Edible and Fine Gardening, an Oakland-based landscape-design firm, are devoted to cultivating gardens that are as productive as they are pretty. In their forthcoming book, The Beautiful Edible Garden, they offer step-by-step advice for planting fruit, herbs and vegetables so that they taste and look great all year long. The pair shared a few tips for flexing our green thumb during the winter:

Fruit Swap out ornamental plants like boxwood hedges for ones you can consume, such as bare-root fruit trees and shrubs (the evergreen blueberry is one of the ladies? favorites). They also suggest sowing a Fuyu persimmon in your front yard as a focal point.

Herbs and Edible Flowers Culinary herbs like variegated lemon thyme and La Crema sage are perfect ground covers that fill in your garden?s empty spots and finish off the edges of your planting border or container. Flowering plants like chamomile and Calamintha, also great fillers, can be used in tea.

Vegetables Now is the time to ready your beds for spring planting. Add organic compost or composted chicken manure, which you can get at Point Reyes Compost Co. Then order organic heirloom seeds for your favorite beans, salad greens and cherry tomatoes.

Photo reprinted with permission from The Beautiful Edible Garden by Leslie Bennett & Stefani Bittner (Ten Speed Press, 2013). 

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