Americans are known for being self-reliant and in recent years homesteading has become popular, even for those who live in cities. There are several reasons people cite for choosing to grow their own food. Some do it to practice sustainability and lower their carbon footprint; others do it because it makes them feel connected to the earth and still others do it for food security for the household. In 1996, the U.N. reported that over 800 million worldwide grow food in cities. There are even farms on rooftops in large urban centers such as New York City. If you are interested in growing your own food, stop by our garden center in Independence for advice and a wide selection of plants to keep you busy and to satisfy your hunger!
Growing your own food can be done on any scale. If you live in an apartment you can grow herbs and mushrooms. If you have a small to medium sized lot, you can have a vegetable garden to put foods like tomatoes and strawberries on your dinner table. If you have more space, you can rototill any number of rows and grow anything.
Fruit and Nut Trees
Not all fruit and nut trees are hardy enough to survive the Kansas climate. For instance, cherry trees that produce sweet Bing Cherries do not do well here, but trees that give sour cherries, that are perfect for pies, do. The varieties that do especially well here are Montmorency, Meteor, and North Star. Montmorency grows to 20 feet while the latter two are smaller, reaching 14 and 10 feet, respectively.
These trees are tough and can last a long time. Varieties that thrive in Kansas include Moorpark, Goldcot, Manchu, and Superb. You’ll need two pear trees for pollination.
Jonathan, Gala, Empire, Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, and Granny Smith are among the varieties that do well in Kansas. They do well here, but need attention early in the season when they need dormant spray and will need to be watched carefully throughout the season. You should choose disease resistant varieties including William’s Pride, Enterprise, Priscilla, and Redfree.
It will be no surprise that the pecan tree is the perfect tree to plant if you want to grow a nut bearing tree in southeast Kansas. There large trees reach up to 70-feet and produce the delicious nut that can be made into pecan pies and use in many dishes. They’ll need ample water during their growing season, but the rewards are great. Depending on where in Montgomery County you live, you’ll need to treat your pecan slightly differently. Stop by our garden center and speak to our certified arborists or trained staff to find which tree is best suited to your cultivar adaptation zone.
Fruits and Vegetables
One of our favorite bushes is the rosehips bush. This rose shrub produces pods or hops that can be eaten in many forms, from jam to tea.
Melons and squash are easy to grow and are fun to watch and care for as they fill their space.
Berries of many types love the heat and do well in Kansas. You can choose from red or black raspberries, but you should avoid blueberries since they are hard to grow here. Elderberries, mulberries, and strawberries are good to grow, especially to feed wildlife.
An herb garden is a perfect addition to even a small garden. You can easily grow herbs in a container or raised bed. Pick herbs that are used in your favorite dishes, and you’ll always have a fresh supply right outside your back door. A few examples of common and easy to grow herbs are: lavender, rosemary, sage, cilantro, dill, and oregano.
We know, we know, chickens aren’t landscaping plants, but you can still grow them and eat them, so we’ll throw them in here. Chickens love clippings and can help dispose of pulled weeds, and their manure can be used to fertilize the garden. If you let them out of their pen to roam around the lawn, you can depend on them to eat pests that will eat your plants. Just be careful not to let them have too much time in and around the plants, or they’ll dig up roots and kill plants.
Stop by our garden center in Independence for advice on edible landscapes and to check out our large selection of plants.