The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

What did you all think about Edible Landscapes? Personally, I think this book is going to be an invaluable addition to my collection. The index of plants was spectacular, didn’t you think? And the accompanying photos were breathtaking. I got a ton of ideas about stuff to plant after reading this!

I also really liked how in depth she went into design principals. Design is the one area I haven’t studied at all in my program, so the pointers definitely are helpful for me. Call me frivolous, but I want my homestead not just to be practical, but also to be beautiful. That’s what keeps your neighbors off your ass in neighborhoods with HOAs, right? I especially liked the chapter about designing for small spaces, since I’m working with less than 1/8th an acre.

Fully half of this book is an amazing encyclopedia of edible plants, with detailed info on how to use the plants in the kitchen and landscape, how to care for the plant, options for purchasing, and varieties that might be of interest. It’s a ton of info! There are also lots of beautiful pictures so you can get ideas for how you will use them in your garden. There’s also an effort scale, which is really nice for those of us who don’t want to spend a lot of time working on our gardens. This book is amazing just for the encyclopedia. The appendixes are also awesome sources of information to find the right plant for your area quickly, or info on care and maintenance of your landscape. There are more than 10 pages filled with resources for places to purchase too!

One thing that sucked about this book was that it was definitely written from the perspective of warm climate dwellers. It must be nice to live in the Mediterranean climate of California and do all this beautiful edible landscaping with your fig and citrusy trees. Psh. Some of us are desperately searching for less that 100 day corn out here in zone 4/5! Ha ha. But seriously, this book gave me a nasty case of the jealousies. Can you imagine growing your own avocados? That would be heaven.

So let’s break it down and see what you all thought!

Did you read about any new plants in this book that you think you want to try out?

I was interested in several of the greens and herbs that were discussed in this book, such as sisho, lovage, and borage. They sounded like they would have good flavor, but even if I don’t like them, they would provide nice color and  texture to my flower beds in the front yard.

Did anything in this book convince you to try out a plant you didn’t think you were into?

This book totally convinced me to try growing mustard greens. I have never tried a mustard green that I liked, but there were so many pretty, colorful, lacy leaved varieties discussed in this book, I thought I’d look at them even just as ornamental annuals. Turns out that Johnny’s seeds sells some pretty mustards with a fairly mild flavor, so I may try eating them again too!

It also got me thinking about how I might try growing plants that require highly acidic soil, like blueberries or lingonberries. Lingonberries in particular would be a lovely addition to our yard because they are low growing and evergreen, and everything about our climate in Colorado is right for them except our super alkaline soil. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t bother trying to plant acid loving plants in pots full of peat sunk in the soil, and just plant native kinnikinnick. Decisions, decisions ….

Were there any techniques discussed in the book that really stood out to you?

I really loved the discussion of espaliered trees. I found the resource of trees that do well in espalier form and the rundown of how to train trees into that position to be awesome. I definitely am interested in incorporating espaliered trees into our yard, because it’s a way I can fit them into small areas without shading important growing space.

Did you decide not to try growing something that you thought you wanted after reading this book?

I personally can’t say there was anything I really wanted before but decided against, but there were a number of plants I was wanting to learn if they could work for me, and from this book I learned they probably wouldn’t, either due to the particular gardening conditions in Denver, because of our needs in our yard, or because of my personal gardening preferences. Cardoon, persimmon, and paw paw were big ones. This book also made me realize that maybe the best use of my limited space is to grow things (fruit especially) that I cannot easily buy at the store. Apples are everywhere. Fresh currants are not.

Were there any plants that you didn’t think of as food plants until you read this book?

Oregon Grape Holly! Who knew that was edible? Not I! But now I might plant some on my side yard when I start working on my proposed hedge (probably next year). And sweet potato leaves? Blew my mind! And I only knew about a few of the edible flowers mentioned in the book (though I appreciated her take on which ones are the best tasting).

What were your favorite takeaways from this book? What was most useful? What wasn’t? Share your thoughts on our February book selection in the comments!

To learn more about Rosalind Creasy and her awesome work in edible landscaping, visit her website at!

March’s book: The Soil Will Save Us

March’s book will be a little different, focusing on soil more than plants. Carbon sequestration in the soil is my current obsession, so I’ve chosen the book The Soil Will Save Us, by Kristin Ohlson will be our next selection. It also helps that this book is available on Audible, since audio book is my preferred way to read these days.


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