Joanne Palmer: Foodscaping your way to eating bliss |

Joanne Palmer: Foodscaping your way to eating bliss

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— Say goodbye to your lawnmower and weed whacker, my friends. Having a lawn is passe, old news, so '60s suburbia.

It's time to give up on mowing, aerating and fertilizing. Instead, lay down some love by transforming your backyard into a salad bar. You heard me: Plant a salad bar in your backyard. Out with the grass, in with the veggies! Out with high food bills! In with good health!


I'm talking red cabbage, kale, fancy lettuces and Swiss chard, strawberry plants and raspberry bushes. Heck, you even can grow edible flowers like nasturtiums, pansies and day lilies.

Who wants to listen to lawn mowers roaring to life at 7 a.m. on a Saturday? Aren't you tired of trimming, edging and pruning? Set yourself free. I'm not talking about a raised bed or a neat little plot. I'm talking about foodscaping.

Yes, foodscaping.

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There's a small but growing trend for people to turn their entire yard into a salad bar. People are going gaga for vegetable gardening. According to an article on NPR's website, "close to one-third of American households now do some kind of food gardening." Thanks to Michelle Obama, even the White House has an L-shaped vegetable garden on the South Lawn complete with a beehive.

Imagine the possibilities. An edible landscape saves you trips to the grocery store, relieves you of the guilt of buying food that might travel more than 2,000 miles to appear on your dining room table — and you benefit from good, fresh, safe food.

If you foodscape your yard it transforms the way you entertain. Say goodbye to flipping through cookbooks, searching your recipe files or looking online for the perfect menu. You don't have to clean the barbecue grill. No more polishing silver, setting the table or searching for a stray placemat. You can just invite people to come over and graze. The terms "garden party" and "moveable feast" take on new meanings. Kids can race around and pick strawberries, adults can lounge on a blanket beneath a shady tree and everyone can nibble to their heart's content.

For people like me who have a ravenous teen, you can turn them loose to forage in the foodscape anytime they wail, "I'm hungry, and there's nothing to eat."

Of course, there will be seeds to start, some weeds to be pulled and watering to be done, but those activities are blissfully quiet. Clipping and snipping are nothing compared to the obnoxious sound of a gas-powered lawn mower.

Still not convinced? Here's an opportunity for a new wardrobe and marital bliss. Women have the perfect excuse to invest in a new foodscaping clothes like pink gardening gloves, cute overalls, a floppy hat and garden clogs.

Your mate will be thrilled not to have to wrestle with the weed whacker, worry about the correct oil/gas mixture or travel to the gas pump for lawnmower fuel. Of course, if you are asking him to give up a ride-on mower, that could be a bit of a battle. Try taking him into building a scarecrow instead.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to pull on my gardening gloves and get to work.

Bon appetit!

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