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Justify Your Water Bill! Turn Your Landscape Into A Garden Paradise And Eat Gourmet!

Posted by Diana Hartman on September 2, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I've noticed something this year...the majority of people who visit don't realize right away that my front yard is edible! I think that is as a vital a point to what I am creating as the fact that my yard is edible. Think about it...a beautiful yard that produces without appearing to be rows of vegetables. Want a green gorgeous yard, but can't justify the water bill? No problem! I save substantially on my grocery bill! Shop in your front yard! We are eating a variety of organic, delicious vegetables and spending very little at the grocery store. I purchase staples such as rice, milk, etc. And my yard is a paradise of greens with a rainbow of colors in their midst!

Several people have come by in July and August and commented on our beautiful gardens in the front yard! When we explain that those rainbow stalked green leafy plants mixed in with a bright green leafy groundcover under the daisy circled Aspen tree, are Rainbow Swiss Chard mixed with Gourmet Lettuce they are in awe! What about those exotic plants out front next to the Jalapenos? Well, those are my son's successful attempt to grow Artichokes, one of his fave veggies! We have intermixed Gigantic Sunflowers (which may grow higher than our two-story house this year) with a striking array of foliage which hide Cauliflower, Broccoli and Purple Cabbage! Really?!?

So, you're curious where to start and how much work this is going to require? Start small...you will become addicted! Few realize how fun this is! Few realize how easy this is! Few realize what a beautiful paradise this will create in your landscape! It requires minimal maintenance if planned out correctly using Companion Planting (see previous blog post) and healthy soils. I am so passionate about using water in a sustainable, food-producing method, that I would like to give away an Edible Landscape Plan! The first person to respond to this post will receive a consultation and plan for an Edible Landscape!

So, if you want a green landscape and also want to have a sustainable landscape...Go Edible! Justify that water bill!

Another benefit to a veggie paradise...


Tell those kiddos to play with their food! This was their idea and guess who had fun with their veggies...and then wanted to eat them! I was creating a gorgeous display of veggies, but I think their display of faces is much more creative, fun and YUMMY! No arguing here when it comes to healthy eating choices...it's not even mentioned!


We have interspersed such a variety of edibles in our yard that we never get sick of zucchini...a common complaint! Just plant a small patch each of so many different veggies you like and always pick a couple that you're unsure of...you never know! For example in our small front yard, we have incorporated small patches of Sweet Onions, Rainbow Carrots, Nasturtiums, Climbing Cucumbers, Gigantic Sunflowers, Kale, Zucchini, Swiss Chard, Purple Cabbage, Beets, Asparagus, a couple of varieties of Tomatoes, Gypsy Peppers, Bee Balm, Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Basil, Garlic, Gourmet Lettuce, Artichokes, Jalapenos, Chives, Cilantro and Spinach. Sounds like a lot, huh? Small amounts of each intermixed with ornamental plants are key. This way you don't get tired of anything and you have an amazing variety to choose from when you're deciding what to make for dinner, lunch and even breakfast! Stir Swiss Chard in with those scrambled eggs and bacon! We eat well! I will share a few of my recipes below that are worth passing on. And I only keep quick and easy recipes...who wants to spend all day in the kitchen when our beautiful Bozeman summers are so short!

Mexican Swiss Chard Pesto

Bunch of swiss chard, stems removed

Handful of cilantro, stems removed

1/4 c of pepitas, toasted

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above in a food processer.

Pretty simple, huh? Serve over quesadillas filled with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, black beans and cheese and you will be eating high class! This recipe makes a lot, so either reduce or separate into servings and freeze for winter use as I do.

Roasted Veggie Salad


Whatever veggies you need to use up, I used rainbow carrots, zucchini, sweet potato and onions, diced

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

olives, sliced


1cucumber, peeled

1/4 c ranch dressing

1 tbsp dijon mustard

Roast diced veggies on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Let cool to room temperature and put in a bowl with sliced olives. Meanwhile, blend cucumber, ranch dressing and dijon dressing in a food processor. Pour dressing over veggies and stir. Pile veggie salad on a bed of lettuce.

Again a very simple, delicious dinner!

Shrimp Tacos with Crunchy Veggie Salsa

1 c fresh corn, cut from cob

1/2 c red onion, diced

1 c cabbage, chopped

1/2 c red bell pepper, diced

1 c fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1 lb shrimp, tailed

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

soft corn tortillas


Prepare salsa by mixing the first 7 ingredients. Cook shrimp in a skillet with olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve buffet style...one bowl of shrimp, a stack of tortillas, a bowl of salsa and a bowl of sourcream.

Dig in! Don't count on leftovers! Even when we ran out of shrimp, my husband prepared a salsa taco!


Panini with Roasted Zucchini and Beets


zucchini, sliced

beets, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

pre-made basil pesto



homemade or other yummy bread

Spread your sliced zucchini and beets on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until tender. Butter the outsides of your bread. (Let me know if you need a great gluten-free bread recipe for the bread maker. Took me awhile to find one, but finally did.) Spread bread with pesto. (I usually make a large batch of pesto with basil from the garden and freeze servings in sandwich bags.) Then, layer beets, zucchini and mozzarella. Press assembled sandwich in panini maker or cook as you would a grilled cheese.

Delicious and beautiful summer meal to enjoy on the back patio!

One more recipe that I must share...I used this spicy dressing as a dip for crispy, breaded green beans, but it would make a super dressing on a pork or steak salad as well!

Wasabi-Horseradish Dressing

1/2 c ranch dressing

1/2 peeled cucumber

1 tbsp milk

1 1/2 tsp horseradish

1 tsp wasabi powder

1/8 tsp salt

few drops of Tabasco

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.

OMG! Delish!

So, go ahead and have a luscious green landscape AND a sustainable landscape! Eat gourmet and justify that water bill! See you next month! I'll be typing up tips on limiting pest damage to your lawn over the winter season while snacking on homemade Pico de Gallo from my front yard. Nice!

Awesome Pico de Gallo

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 limes, juiced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

salt and pepper to taste

Mix in a bowl and serve. Told you they were simple recipes!


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