Are you interested in growing your own produce but don’t know where to begin? Some fruits and vegetables are easier to grow than others so are perfect for those just starting out. Avoid getting overwhelmed by keeping it simple and sticking to tasty varieties that give a lot for the least amount of effort. Many of them are perennial, which mean that they come back year after year without having to be re-sown.
Purchase plants in spring and plant them in rich soil and a sunny location in the garden. Mulch around the plant with straw, compost, or fabric to keep weeds down.
Strawberries are perennial. Each strawberry plant will survive indefinitely but is most productive in the first three years. After three years have passed, replace plants with new ones.
Bird and slugs will be your worst enemy so make sure to protect ripening fruit with netting and to keep the fruit from touching the ground. Berries from most plants will ripen in June but you can also purchase everbearing varieties that produce berries throughout the summer.
If you have a bit of outdoor space and you like raspberries, plant a row. They grow in shade, sun, or a combination of the two and require hardly any work.
You can plant potted-plants in the spring. Plant them a couple of feet apart and give them a support to grow against.
Raspberries are perennial. Raspberries will faithfully come back but you need to prune them. Also, they can be a little invasive and it’s not uncommon to see a new raspberry plant shoot up where it’s not supposed to.
Baby Lettuce and Salad Greens
Salad greens are so easy to grow they will give you crop after crop of fresh salad. Baby lettuce & greens grow well in containers. Lettuce seeds are small and are best sprinkled on the top of soil and then just barely covered with more soil – think less than a millimeter.
Sow beginning a few weeks before the last frost if doing so outdoors, keep well watered, and cut the leaves with scissors when they are three or four inches tall. They’ll regrow again after about a month. Lettuce will grow in shade as well as sun.
Lettuces are annuals. Once the lettuce plants aren’t producing, compost them and sow more seeds. They’ll last a few months before being spent.
Once sown, the seeds take only about 4-6 weeks to be ready to harvest.
Sow the seeds in either a block or in a row, spacing them out about 1/4″ apart. They should only have the lightest sprinkling of soil covering them. Keep well watered and thin the plants out to an inch apart as they grow. Harvest when the root is swollen, and of the size you’d see at the supermarket.
Radishes are annual. If you wait too long before harvesting and you notice a stalk and potential flower starting to grow then you should compost the whole plant as the root will toughen up and not be pleasant to eat.
You can grow chives from seed or plant a small plant. Plant it in the ground or in a pot. Keep well watered and you’ll have tender oniony greens all spring and summer long! Harvest a handful with scissors and snip what you need.
Chives are perennial. Once you plant it, Chives will regrow year after year. They’ll die down in the late Autumn but don’t fear, they’ll be ready to shoot up again in late spring.
The plant will look pretty with its purple flowers but should be cut back. It will grow back again and the whole point of growing edibles is to eat them. If you’d like an ornamental chive plant, grow one specifically for this purpose.
Plant your rhubarb in an area that gets at least partial sun – they will grow in the shade but prefer a bit of light. They don’t need much to survive. The easiest way to get a plant started is with a ‘crown’ or small plant. If you have a friend who grows rhubarb, it’s likely that they’ll give you a piece of theirs for free since the plant needs dividing up every couple of years anyway.
Rhubarb is perennial. The stalks and leaves will die down every year but will re-grow in early spring.
This is one plant that probably won’t do well in a pot so plan to grow it somewhere in the garden. Also, please beware that Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should not be eaten. They’re fine for the compost heap though.