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Our Permaculture Life: Eat your hedge!

Eat your hedge!

This hedge is delicious!

Today we harvested kilos of fruit from one of the berry plants we hedge. Jaboticaba (Plinia cauliflora), otherwise known as the Brazilian grapetree, has fruit like grapes – sweet, round, juicy and delicious!

Jaboticaba is great as a hedge but also in a pot, in a food forest, on a verge, in community garden or school garden – a neat, hardy and delicious tree.

I have a few Jaboticabas in my home garden. They are slow growing and reasonably small still, just a couple of metres tall, but that’s as big as I want them to get otherwise the fruits are out of reach. It will be getting a haircut soon.

Other fruit trees I hedge are things like Acerola Cherry (Malpighia emarginata), Grumichama (Eugenia brasiliensis) and Riberry (Syzygium luehmannii). Their dense foliage, shiny leaves, interesting flowers make a great hedge and it means I can better access the fruit.

I really love the idea of making every part of the garden productive and delicious. There are a lot of hedge plants that provide nothing but a screen.  It’s such a great idea to add extra value to it – food, habitat, mulch ….

I really like to eat the fruit of Jaboticaba fresh. I like the pop it makes when you bite into it followed by the burst of sweetness. I typically spit out the thickish skin, which is a little tart tasting, but sometimes I eat that too.

After harvesting the fruit only lasts a few days so depending on the harvest size, it could be necessary to make jam, cordial, wine, tarts or liquer. 

Jaboticaba as a small hedge:

  • Jaboticaba responds well to being trimmed.
  • Jaboticaba keeps it’s leaves right down to the ground.
  • Jaboticaba’s leaves stay looking shiny and welcoming in both the wet and dry seasons.
  • It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

I like Jaboticaba at the entrance to my garden because:

  • The plant delineates where the footpath to my house is.
  • I see it everyday and can and keep watch for when the flowers are forming – it reminds me to keep an eye out for the fruit.
  • I see when the fruit is ripe so I can harvest it before the birds get to it.

What edible hedges do you/could you eat?

  • What plants work best for this in your climate? 
  • What is your favourite edible hedge?

Happy gardening. Feel free to share this post.

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On – 14 Nov, 2017 By Morag Gamble

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