Edible ground covers

@Monek Marie mentioned this in a thread she started and I think it deserves its own space.

Have you ever used edible ground covers? What did you use, what zone are you in? What did you find good about what you planted? What were any negatives? Tips?

Does anyone have suggestions what to use for an edible ground cover between rows in the garden? Or elsewhere?

Comments

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    I agree. I do not know why I never thought of edible ground covers but it makes sense. And mixing in herns that act as insect control would also be a benefit.

    A few ideas below.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I never knew until last year pumpkin leaves are edible. I have often used squash blossoms if I my plants setting veggies abundantly

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    I have planted mother of thyme (or creeping thyme) in pathways. It does very well and spreads but doesn't take over. There is one called woolly thyme, too, that is a creeper.

    Corsican mint is another low grower that does well between stepping stones. Its not always hardy to my area. It lasts a few years between really cold dry winters that will take it out.

    Bugleweed is edible and @judsoncarroll4 has written about the medicinal uses. Hardy to at least zone 3.

    I've never had a creeping oregano to know what the growth habit is like but it would be another lovely fragrance to be stepping on. There is a creeping rosemary, too, but that might be a bit prickly for walking on.

    Self-heal or heal-all is a great, easy care low grower that is an awesome medicinal.

    Wild chamomile or pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) is so nice and soft. It can be mowed to keep it from getting scraggly. Great tea herb.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 754 ✭✭✭✭

    These are great ideas!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @Monek Marie Pumpkin leaves...that is news to me. That makes good use of the leaves pruned to give the fruit more "juice".

    I will have to look that up. Hmm.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Hostas are a very nice edible too - they can be grown thickly as a ground cover or as an ornamental. The fish mint that came up in another discussion would work if one likes the flavor. New Zealand Spinach might work

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I read last fall you could eat pumpkin leaves and I was surprised but pleased. Its alwasy nice to find anothe use for any plant.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are at least 5 ways to use hostas as an edible. I could see these fitting in to a HOA area quite well as a ground cover.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    I love hostas and was sorely tempted to add some to one of our shaded backyard beds, but they're toxic to dogs so we opted not to put them in. Would have done but for that, though. There are some really stunning varieties.

    And @torey, I absolutely love creeping thyme as a planting between paver stones -- it looks great and smells amazing!

    Loving this thread....

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Alpine strawberries make a nice ground cover, and they are small but edible. I don't even plant them. They spread naturally around here. They grow very close to the ground, so you can mow for weed control without killing them.

    The seeds for several alpine strawberry varieties are available from online seed suppliers. I think Baker Creek has some.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    I mentioned this in another post but can't find it now. Creeping raspberries as a ground cover.

    My daughter got two plants last year and they are doing very well. They stay very low and have beautiful magenta flowers (similar to Rubus spectabilis). The fruit is just as tasty as any other raspberry. There are a couple of cultivars, Valentina and Anna.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I grow the low growing creeping Rosemary, I like it because it is drought tolerant, the bees love it, it is pretty and easy to grow in Zone 9-10. Also, it has a somewhat sweeter taste than the upright Rosemary which is more peppery - I usually use both in cooking.

    I did try Corsican Creeping Mint but something got to it, not sure what.

    I have thought of trying Creeping Thyme but have not done it yet.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K I hadn't heard of creeping rosemary. I live in zone 9b so I'm going to give that a try.

    I grow longevity spinach and sweet potatoes as ground cover. Sweet potato greens are edible and have a very mild flavor.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 I should have said "creeping" rosemary because it sometimes creeps or cascade and it is different from the upright rosemary. I will see if I can get pictures of the two different types.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K did you start with seeds or young plant? I did a quick search for seeds but didn't find any. Can you recommend a source?

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 both Rosemarys were plants. The common Rosemary that I call creeping is generally easier to find.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 754 ✭✭✭✭

    Sweet potato greens are amazing!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a wonderful thread. I am hoping we will get our permanent garden area cleared and ready for use by next spring. These ideas will be great to find something to use between beds, Will be a great win if it will grow in my zone 3b garden and be an "extra" edible in the garden.