Get Structured! Woody Plants in the Food Garden
Written by: Sumati Shah
Trees, shrubs and perennials aren’t the first plants that come to mind when I say “Food Garden”, yet they’re invaluable to mine. I only wish I’d planted a few of them sooner.
If I had to choose just one for you to try, it’s the Serviceberry. It comes in a lot of species and cultivated varieties at this point, but it’s the hardiness of the genus that made this plant a favourite in early Canadian homesteads and gardens.
The name comes from the usefulness of the fruit as well of the plant – they’re of service, no matter how you might want them!
The berries are delicious. Flowering in spring and fruiting by early summer the ripening berries bring the Bohemian Waxwings in for their annual visit. They’ll come to some agreement with the resident Robins about berry resource division. Somehow they manage to leave plenty of berries for me to harvest, even though they eat them from before they ripen right up to when I’m picking them. The run-ins at harvest time are always friendly (and who doesn’t want to make friends with the birds??)
Although my own garden isn’t the paragon of advance planning. If it were, my service berry would be better located, but yours can be!
Where in your garden is there some blazing hot sun, that’s just too much for your tender garden seedlings?
That’s the spot that will benefit from some shade cast by a woody shrub or tree – depending on how much space you can afford.
Serviceberries though can fit the bill no matter the size. They can be kept as manicured shrubs, loose and natural shrubs, larger clumps, or even varying sizes of single stemmed trees. There are species and varieties to suit your wants and they’re hardy in all but the hottest of North American climates.
Juneberries, Serviceberries, Downy Serviceberry, Shadblow, Saskatoon berry, they’re all serviceable, fruit bearing, beautiful, and delicious.
Rule of Green Thumbs:
Get some structure in your food garden with a fruit bearing tree or shrub. Delicious berries + strategic shade for veggies = Garden Win!
Try a Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) and tick all the boxes at once!
Go Go Green Thumbs!