OK so you’ve decided you want a vegetable garden. You’ve thought about where to put it and you’ve decided how it should look. Now you want to get some information on what vegetables to grow.
- First thing you should consider is your climate or planting zone. I wrote a page about this already so check it out here. This should give you some info about what will grow where you live.
- What time of years is it – should you be growing winter, spring or summer crops.
- Next thing is to think about what your family likes to eat. There is no use growing brussel sprouts if your family won’t eat them.
- How much you get for your effort is also a good way to decide what to plant.
Climbing plants like beans and peas grow on a trellis so they take up vertical space but very little ground space.
Cucumbers can also be grown up rather than out very successfully. Tomatoes and capsicums give a great yield for the space they take up. How much space they need to grow is also a good reason to grow or not grow something. There is a lot more to a growing cabbage than what you see at the supermarket – some varieties take up a fair bit of space. Plants that you can cut some off and they regrow are also valuable additions to your patch. Broccoli, celery, loose leaf type lettuces, rhubarb, silverbeet and spinach are great vegetables that you can pick over a long time. New varieties of plants are being developed all the time. Small or dwarf varieties of cabbages, mini iceberg lettuces, small zucchini plants that grow on a more compact plant rather than rambling all over the place are now available.
Herbs are a great value for the space they use
They can all be picked and picked and they just keep growing back. Just think about how much you are likely to eat though. A friend recently remarked how he had no trouble at all growing herbs and that corriander was coming up in his lawn it grew so well – his problem was eating them. I find we can eat all our basil, chives and parsley a fair bit of the oregano but struggle to find much to do with the marjoram. Herbs are great companion plants though and can be really beneficial in the vegie patch.
Best Yield Plants
Some of the best home garden vegetables based on yield for growing space are listed below. Choose the smaller varieties if you can find them:
Beans – dwarf and climbing. Broccoli -pick and come again varieties, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage – get the small varieties, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower – get the small ones, cucumber, lettuce – I find the loose leaf or mini icebergs the best, marrow, onion, parsnips, peas – climbing, Radish, rhubarb, silver beet, spinach, tomato and turnip.
Many gardeners, when first starting out, make the mistake of planting too much at once. The beds quickly fill up and everything becomes ready to eat at once. For a supply of vegetables over a longer period make small successive plantings. When I buy seedlings I buy three single tomato plants of different varieties – I usually buy one largish round
variety, one cherry and one roma. Then once they are well on their way in the garden I might buy a couple more. It is a more expensive way to buy them but I think it’s crazy to buy six of the same variety at once you end up with to many of the same thing at the same time and no space to plant other things. I just plant one capsicum plant at a time. Unless I can find someone to share them with I rarely buy more than a couple at a time of anything. There are only two of us so we don’t need six cucumber plants we just need one or two. Then maybe another later as the first two are well on their way. I also plant things that can be eaten at different stages – sugar snap peas are great example of this they can be eaten before the peas are fully developed like a snow pea and then as they mature they can be used as normal peas that you shell. Beans as well can be eaten at all different stages. Capsicums also can be eaten green or red. Carrots and beetroot can be eaten when small and big. Baby beetroot leaves are also great in a salad.