Thursday, December 31, 2009

Edible Gardens in Los Angeles

So I’ve noticed as of late that we have been receiving many requests for vegetable and herb gardens. One of the great things about Los Angeles is that we can plant a lot of herbs and vegetables throughout the year, even in the winter.

We get our seeds from They have the best selection of heirloom varieties which I love. I like to seed about 40% of the garden while planting the remainder from “starts.” It’s great to see some foliage when the work is done, and I actually feel like the seeds are coaxed by the existence of life near them.

Some of the best edibles to plant for the fall and winter season in Los Angeles are:

Peas-Doesn’t everyone love peas, if not, then plant sweet peas for fragrance
Swiss Chard-One of the healthiest greens and very tasty with a bit of soy sauce
Spinach-So many uses
Onions-need I say more? The basis of all great cuisine, garlic and butter being the second runners up.
Mizuna- yummy Japanese green and great with ponzu dressing (and maybe a saketini)
Spring Mix greens-something you always need in your fridge
Parsley-Italian is my favorite and I use it almost every day
Oregano-just best when it’s fresh
Cilantro-Also a must in my kitchen
Johnny Jump ups and violas-are edible and pretty. I have candied them and used as decoration for cakes!
Companion planting through the use of calendula, garlic and rosemary inter-planted with the insect-prone plants is a wonderful preventative and also adds that “cottage garden” effect to the potager.

Always use organic soils, amendments, sprays and fertilizers in your edible garden, and your produce will taste it’s best. If there is one bit of horticultural advice I give to all of my clients in edible gardens as well as in the landscape, it is “always put the right plant in the right spot, and it will perform happily for you.”

So, whether you are an experienced gardener, or if you’re the type of person who wants to just leave a basket by the door to be filled with your home grown herbs and vegetables, your food can be grown in your own yard.

Environmental Concept provides earth-friendly landscape services to fine residences and commercial properties in Los Angeles, California. Tania Gybels brought her unique perspective to the world of Los Angeles horticulture in 1991. Her work has been featured on HGTV and Oprah. For more information, please visit