Top 5 No-Fail Vegetables for Your Garden
Whether you are new to gardening, or just want to get the most out of your space, here are my top 5 favorite, no-fail vegetables and varieties that can be grown anywhere to help you have a successful season:
Quick and easy to grow in containers, raised beds, or stuffed in between the garden rows, radishes are big on flavor and can be harvested in just 30 days or less. They don’t even need full sun to grow well, and can be planted every three weeks or so for a continuous harvest of happy globe radishes all season long. Favorite varieties are Saxa 2 (which are ready in just 3 weeks!) and the beautiful heirloom French Breakfast variety.
The all-American favorite, what garden wouldn’t be complete without tomatoes? These linebackers of the garden take up a lot of space, but have a great payoff when tomato season hits. Each plant can yield 25 pounds of delicious organic tomatoes if you treat them right.
If space is an issue, try the container tomato Goliath, which can easily yield 30 to 40 tomatoes a season, and can be grown almost anywhere there is full sun and water.
When it comes to flavor, nothing even compare to heirloom tomatoes. Some of my favorite easy-to-grow tomatoes that I plant every year are the amazingly tasty Cherokee Purple (my favorite for tomato sandwiches), the prolific Yellow Pear (great for salads!) and the funky striped Green Zebra, which has a delicious sweetly tart flavor.
Easy to grow almost anywhere, in containers, raised beds, or even trailing up a chain-link fence, cucumbers are a definite staple in my book. My favorites are the Poona Kheera from India, a potato-sized cucumber that’s light and sweet, and perfect for eating fresh as an afternoon snack with some goat cheese and dill. The heirloom Lemon Cucumbers are also very prolific and shaped like little lemons. For the traditional cucumber varieties, I love Marketmore 76 for slicing and the Endeavor for pickling.
Swiss Chard is a real trooper of the garden, and one planting in spring will keep kicking it out until frost. This resilient plant’s non-bolting behaviour makes it a winner in my book, and I often rely on Swiss Chard for fresh greens in the heat of summer when all of the lettuce has bolted. It also stores well when frozen, and is very versatile in the kitchen. You can use it as a base for salads, sauté it with with garlic and olive oil for a nice side of greens, or even use the large leaves to make your own healthy burrito or taco wrap. Swiss Chard is also easy to grow from seed and is beautiful in edible landscapes and containers.
High-yielding and quick-growing, zucchini is one of the easiest plants to grow, and comes in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes. They also gives you a ton of food for the space. My favorites to grow are the UFO-shaped squashes, Eight Ball zucchini (great for stuffing!) and this great tricolor mixed variety pack.
Each plant can easily yield 15+ pounds of fresh zucchini. Plus, there are so many uses for it! You can eat zucchini steamed, sautéed, baked, fresh in salads—and my favorite way—freshly sliced into fettuccini noodles with a potato peeler, with a little fresh pesto and heirloom cherry tomatoes.
What are some of the most successful vegetables you’ve grown in your garden?
Photo Credit: GrowIndie.com
Chris Regan and Ashley Mayne produce a wide array of delicious greens for the Hudson Valley.
With his new book, Forrest Pritchard tells the stories of 18 farms from all across America.
Forrest Pritchard and Smith Meadows are prime examples of sustainable family farming.
Jonathan Waxman shares his food philosophy with Slow Films.
A group of star chefs play with fire for a good cause.