For those considering updating their landscape, why not redo not only the aesthetics but also create a working landscape that is edible.
This can be done quite easily, according to Calvin Chester, owner of the edible landscaping business Greenthumb Calboys. Chester advocates growing beautiful food plants on your property instead of a lawn.
"This is better for your wallet and the environment," he said.
Chester has a background in landscaping that he uses to tie into his background in economics and marketing, which he morphed together to start his business helping people grow their own food.
"Growing your own food is tied to economics and saves money for young families. It gets the kids outside, offering the family a chance to work in the garden together digging in the dirt," he said. "It's an investment. It's important for young families to save money and present healthy options for their children and know where your food comes from."
Chester discovered the concept while living in California where he witnessed groups of people banding together to grow their own food and then eating it together.
"I fell in love with the movement," he said.
Chester, who has been back in the Panhandle for four years, has established his business and has 140 clients. Seventy of those clients have an overproduction of fruit and vegetables. When this happens, Chester will buy the excess from them on consignment and when the excess sells, they share the profit.
The things that seem to grow best in this area are herbs, peaches, tomatoes, avocados, plums, eggplants, lettuce, peppers, strawberries and anything citrusy.
"You can turn a $4 tomato plant into $25," he said. "Replanting annuals will be the only cost."
Chester also makes plants look good in the yard.
"You only maintain grass, but it doesn't do anything for you, so, I am not a fan of grass," said Chester.
Chester also notes that 40 percent of school children only eat two meals a day and those are the meals they get at school. He has spoken to area schools and has 12 onboard with starting their own gardens.
"I teach teachers how to start, fertilize, and maintain a garden, trying to affect a change," he said.
He is also working with churches for the same purpose and has started a video series.
Although based in Panama City Greenthumb Calboys works in the 30A and Destin areas offering assessment, doing soil sampling and he creates a design with a custom list of what can be grown in each individual yard, accommodating how much shade is desired.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit him online.