Nan Chase recommends that you "Eat Your Yard"

Asheville NC journalist, Nan Chase's book, "Eat Your Yard" has been out since 2010 so I'm a little late to the party in writing about it.

Since she lives in zone 7 - same as northeast Oklahoma's zone - I was especially interested in seeing her recommendations.

"The edible yard combines beauty and practicality: beautiful form in the garden with bounteous crops to eat fresh or preserve for year-round enjoyment," says Chase in the introduction.

She does not recommend ripping out the lawn to plant zucchini but suggests that we add some productive and beautiful trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and wildflowers that provide edibles for our tables and kitchens. Plus, there are recipes for the suggested plants so we can enjoy them out of season.

The first chapter, Favorite Fruits, covers apples with a German Pancake recipe, landscape highlights, edible highlights, where it grows best, how to grow it and hardiness zones.

I've had trouble finding a good apple variety for our weather. Chase recommends that you buy a variety that is availble in your area and on sale and take your chances. Honestly, that's as good a way as mine, which included extensive research, expensive mail order trees followed by failure to thrive.

Each fruit is covered with the same thoroughness and recipes for other fruit trees, including cherries, crabapples, quince, etc.

Nuts and Berries includes hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and others. Each has the same info as for fruits - growing, ornamental value, edible benefits, recipes.

Ditto with Herbs and Vines (grapes, lavender, rosemary, etc.)

Hot Country is for those readers who live in zones above ours - kumquats, pomegranates - the stuff we grew in California. The one fruit in that chapter that we can grow in zone 7 is figs - LOVE figs hot off the shrubs!

Last is Wildflowers: Pawpaw, Yucca, Persimmon and their kind.

Then, at the back, Chase gives more help on preserving the harvest she just knows we will have.

In all, Chase presents growing suggestions and lots of recipes for 35-selections. Add one a year to see how each one thrives in your yard and garden. Whatever we grow in our gardens we will enjoy a thousand times more than anything we can buy. I know that from experience.


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