- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Timber Press; 1 edition (February 23, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1604691999
- ISBN-13: 978-1604691993
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 70 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden Paperback – February 23, 2011
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and Soler�s guide to combining vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit trees for front yard curb appeal proves it. This �germinatrix� demonstrates with numerous full-color, page-filling photos the literal and figurative beauty in transforming a �wasteful time-consuming, toxic monoculture . . . an anti-social space� into a �more evolved and exciting version of front yard beauty that prizes health, diversity, and pleasure over short-term convenience.� Soler�s suggestions for well-designed lawn alternatives emphasize color, form, and varietal texture found in such commonplace and utilitarian flora as apple trees, fragrant basil with its African Blue blooms, and the �burnished stems, elongated leaves, and purple lacquered fruit of eggplants.� An alphabetical listing of ornamental edibles from apples to wormwood (a genus of insect-repelling plants with silvery foliage as intoxicating�visually, that is�as its putatively hallucinogenic distillate, absinthe) combined with landscaping tips for various building styles and a resources list round out a useful and inspiring volume. --Whitney Scott
“A useful and inspiring volume.” —Booklist
“A lively new book. . . . Soler takes you through a wide selection of suggested varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are as beautiful as any rose bush.” —Martha Stewart Living
“An enticing introduction to growing food beautifully. . . . a timely, handsome guide.” —Publishers Weekly
“A good source of ideas for gardeners trying to imagine the edible front yard that might one day be theirs.” —Washington Gardener
“Proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive. Shows how to grow veggies in front so beautifully that neighbors won’t object.” —Sunset
“Don’t just plant flowers this gardening season; feed your family, too!” —AARP Magazine
“Lush and lovely.” —Apartment Therapy
“Heavily-laden with quality photography that is as inspiring as the text.” —Gardening By The Book
“Addresses the concerns that gardeners of all kinds have, when considering making the change from grass to groceries.” —Horticulture
“It’s inspiring to see photos of how much more interesting our front yards could be.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Empowers readers with the knowledge to successfully transform their yards.” —Portland Book Review
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Top customer reviews
The same succulents and herbs in the author's garden -- admittedly beautiful and inspiring -- are shown on pages 34, 94, 101, 110, 119, and 155. Each slightly different view of the same agave, escheveria, basil and sage illustrate different points: one emphasizes the use of red basil; one suggests using basil and sage in odd multiple numbers (3, 5, 7); one points out that color and contrast are important considerations in design; etc.
One picture on one page could have been used to illustrate all these points. Or photos of different plant combinations could have been used. Instead, we see essentially the same agave, escheveria, basil and sage repeatedly. (Oh, and for the record, agave and escheveria are not "edible" -- turns out that your edible front garden needs ornamental structure to be truly decorative!) The book features great gardens, graciously offered to public view. However, it suffers from paucity of number and variation in the gardens featured.
The text is likewise long on sex appeal; "There is something alluring about the burnished stems, elongated leaves, and purple, lacquered fruit of this slightly spooky member of the nightshade family." (Eggplant.)
Possibly this book would inspire the casual reader to consider agave and artichoke as reasonable alternatives to lawn. For people who are already gardening and/or considering edible planting, even the most novice among them, there is not enough practical information to justify purchasing the book.
I enjoyed using the book's photographs to dream about what my edible front yard might look like if I had buckets of money, plus more tillable land than my modest urban property provides. In my neighborhood, an edible front yard might consist of Swiss chard and an eggplant growing in place of the grass normally found in a 2-foot wide boulevard between the sidewalk and the street.
The landscaping photos are beautiful, showing me what I could have if only I lived on a larger lot (suburbs, maybe?) and had the wealth to hire a landscape architect and a good contractor. But heck, there's no harm in dreaming, is there? This book makes the dreaming even more beautiful.
The book shows you how to plant plants that are both appealing, and edible. It talks about organic methods to keep your garden looking nice and pest free. There is discussion about how to plan and maximize even the most restrictive neighborhood to include a few harvestables. I particularly enjoyed the creative use of brick and the discussion of each plant and their distinct properties.
Reading about this, made me wish to get started on my own front yard vegetable garden. Unfortunately for me, the slugs and snails would devour it alive and what they didn't get, the gophers and moles would finish off. I have raised beds lined with sand paper on the outer rim to prevent the slugs in the backyard... But I'm not sure how well this would go over in the front. Without raised beds, a front yard veg garden would be impossibility. I like the idea of planting fruit trees in the front yard.
What you get:
* Instructions on how to build maintain and grow your own edible garden
* Detailed discussion of herbs and plants you can add to your edible garden
* Nice pictures of pre-existing gardens in a variety of locations and styles
* Chock full of helpful tips
* May not be suitable for all climates
* Pest control methods a bit optimistic
Recommended. 5/5 stars