Homegrown edible gardens have been making a comeback as people spend more time at home.
Relish the joy of harvesting your own delicious peppers, squash or tomatoes. Cut sprigs of fresh herbs just outside your kitchen door. Edible gardens can be relaxing, provide great family time and give you delicious fruits and vegetables. And did you know that many California native plants are edible, too?
Getting started is easy, and with drip irrigation edible gardens can be a smart way to use your water. The secret to success is knowing the crops you’re hoping to harvest. Various plants grow best at different times of year.
June is a great time for root vegetables such as radishes, carrots, beets and potatoes. Beans, corn, squash and cucumbers will also do well this time of year.
In terms of edible native plants, there are many you can use to enhance your garden and your culinary skills:
Big saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis) – produces salty leaves great for potato tacos or baked lasagna.
Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii) – perfect for everyday sea- soning, but also for pesto, ice cream, or even to flavor your own beer.
Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) – easier to grow in our climate than its famous relative, the blueberry, and just as delicious.
Oreganillo (Aloysia wrightii) – sometimes called Wright’s bee- brush, it is a desert oregano with a hint of citrus, perfect for seasoning frijoles, potatoes and other dishes.
As with anything you eat, use caution when selecting native plants for food.
For more information, visit the California Native Plant Society website at CNPS.org or OC Master Gardener at mgorange.ucanr.edu.