Relevance of edible landscaping concept in food security
Adoption of Purple Basil (Ocimum basilicum), an aesthetic edible plant in landscaping of conventional residential areas, offers a dual-purpose advantage. Provision is made for food and aesthetics purposes in the same landscape site, thus contributing to food security. Two years study was conducted at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, to assess the desirability of the use of an edible plant component with ornamental characteristics, Ocimum basilicum, in a landscape under varying management practices as treatments which were; manuring with poultry droppings, mulching with saw dust and hedge trimming. This was evaluated in companion with a conventional species (Duranta repense). Two factor were involve: year and management practices. Experimental design was a randomized complete block, replicated thrice. Data were collected on plant height, number of branches, soil moisture content, re-growth yield and canopy volume. Capturing of the growth progression with a camera was done weekly from 2 weeks after transplanting. Data collected were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). In both years, basil that received manuring resulted in taller plants with more branches. Canopy room in both years was widest for plants manured and mulched. The significant effect of management practices on number of branches contributed to improved yield of Basil and good hedge formation for aesthetic purpose. Manured and trimmed plants had higher yield (2.0 kg/plot of 9m2) compared with manured and mulched plants (1.9kg/plot of 9m2). Highest leaf yield of Basil was in 2014 (1.35kg/plot of 9m2) compared to 2013 (0.68kg/plot of 9m2). Re-growth leaf yield was significantly (p<0.05) higher at first and third trimming in both years. Mutual shading to form a proper hedge under manured and mulched plant showed the positive effect of maintenance practices on Basil growth as a companion and edible plant in a landscape. Use of Basil as an edible component along with other ornamental plants for private landscape is found desirable as source of food supplement as well as providing aesthetic effects in landscape sites. This has a positive implication on food security for urban dwellers in view of the nutritive importance of Ocimum basilicum.