Edible Ground Cover

This pile might not look like much, but I have big plans for it.

strawberries

With the size of our garden, it gets a bit hard to plant out every space and avoid leaving gaps for the weeds to flourish.

I HATE weeding.

I love the end result when it’s done, but it’s not my favourite job at all.

So the more I can stifle the weeds, the better. We don’t use any sprays what so ever so it comes down to competition and natural means of weed control in our garden, and sufficient ground cover seems like a good strategy to leave little room for weeds to make themselves at home.

Ground cover plants are easy to find, but given that we’re trying to make our garden as edible as possible I wanted to plant some kind of cropping plant as ground cover.

I’ve done the herb thing and it wasn’t really a winner for me. We planted various creeping Thymes and Oregano but they tend to get quite scruffy after a while and there’s only so much Thyme you can use in your cooking. They also didn’t crowd out the weeds as well as I hoped. The really determined ones just grew up in between the edibles and it wasn’t easy weeding once that happened.

So most of it came out along the way and the earth was left bare once again.

But the other day, as I was giving the garden a good tidy up, I came up with a plan. Why not use our extra Strawberry plants as ground cover? They’re pretty well perfect for the job I want them to do.

  • They’re low growing, but bushy, lush and green when well cared for.
  • They’re easy to weed between if the weeds do come up because they have their center crown and then you can just move the leaves aside to weed.
  • They’re self propagating so, over time as the running shoot off, they will provide even more cover with new plants.
  • They obviously produce crops of Strawberries (all going well) so meet the edible requirements.
  • And in our case putting this plan into action wouldn’t cost us a thing because we had a heap of plants to split and take runners from.

With my plan in mind I went ahead and started splitting one of our existing Strawberry patches. I wanted to relocate it anyway so it was the perfect time to do it and I ended up with well over 200 free plants.

Which I then had the plant!

They’re all in now. I’ve planted them in every empty space in the garden, under all the trees and right up to the garden edge so they flow over a little.

I’m so excited to watch them all take off and create a gorgeous, edible ground cover. Fingers crossed my plan works and I don’t lose too many of the smaller plants in the transfer.

Fancy using edible groundcover in your garden?

Growing edible ground cover isn’t only a great way to fill in empty spaces. It’s also the perfect way to increase your growing areas for your edible crops and, if you want to get really serious and go all ground cover crazy, you can decrease the amount of lawn space you have to water, mow and maintain and grow something useful instead.

And there are plenty of other options beside Strawberries that you can give a go. Check the list below and see if any any of these plants would work in your garden.

  • Strawberries (normal and alpine which grow lower and have tiny little fruit)
  • Cranberries
  • Lingonberries
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Creeping Oregano
  • Prostate Rosemary
  • Low growing Mint (be sure you really want Mint before planting this ground cover because it is a prolific grower and will spread well)

What have you used as edible ground cover in your garden? And how has it worked out for you? 

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