Monday, July 28, 2014
To get to Josh and Henry Street’s front door, visitors have to pass an abundance of produce: carrots, blueberries, thorn-less blackberries, tomatoes, horseradish, pineapple guava and fig – just to name some.
Henry Street is the owner of Charleston Homesteads, LLC, a family-run landscaping business that provides plants that are not only meant to be aesthetically pleasing to a person’s yard, but are also edible. The business opened in July 2013.
In fact, the Streets have about 40 plant species on their property – and all of it is edible. They grow enough to feed a family of four.
Henry Street said he and his brother practice something called permaculture.
“We try to create plant communities that take care of themselves,” he said. “It’s a plant community that is diverse and has a lot of variety of different plants that are more successful and lower maintenance.”
On Saturdays Henry Street can be found at Summerville’s Farmers Market, selling edible herb boxes and plants. His business works with homeowners associations to create landscaping designs that involve replacing existing landscapes with all-edibles.
The idea is to help people grow their own food and get away from pesticides and genetically modified organisms in stores.
“It’s just a healthier lifestyle, really,” Henry Street said, “and it’s a lot cheaper than buying organic produce in grocery stores in the long rum. It is a long-term investment, really.”
Josh Street, an assistant in Charleston Homestead, said the edible landscape is still aesthetically pleasing; items like apple trees and peach trees look nice when they are in bloom.
“I’ve really enjoyed the basil and the herbs,” Josh Street said. “Blueberries have been really good, and figs have been my favorite food by far.”
Josh Street said he likes the function of the whole project – that is it aesthetically pleasing and “just very logical.”
“It’s easier to appreciate,” he said. “It’s got a depth about it. It gives your yard a really original touch, and it shows off your personality.”
Charleston Homestead consults with homeowners and comes up with the landscape designs and maintenance of plants. Henry said he tries to sell the idea of permaculture to residents because not many people know about it.
“I basically try to replicate the forest: the forest has a community of plants that take care of each other,” he said. “You never see people out in the forest, fertilizing or spraying pesticides, because a forest naturally does that. That is what you’re trying to create. The diversity is what it is all about.”
For example, Henry Street really likes comfrey, an herb he describes as a “root miner” with a really long taproot that brings up a lot of minerals to plants. If someone were to plant a fruit tree next to comfrey, that comfrey will help provide minerals to that fruit tree.
“It’s helping the community grow their own food and be friendlier to the environment,” he said. “People go out and spray their lawns with pesticides and weed-killers and synthetic fertilizers. They really aren’t doing anything except killing their soil. It’s a temporary fix, but eventually you’re just going to have to replace your lawn. It just doesn’t work.
“It’s better if you use a product that is organic – the more organic matter you have in your soil, the healthier it is going to be.”