Anita Morton - Growing Gardens
Getting started 2
Last week I wrote about preparing your new vegie bed. This week Ill be listing some of the best and most productive plants for you to put in it. First, make a list of all the vegetables your family eats regularly. Theres no point in growing Jerusalem artichokes, for example, if everyone hates and despises them.
Peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, lettuce. There cant be many families that dont get through lots of them, but only some are worth growing, particularly if you dont have much space. Potatoes and onions take up lots of garden room if youre trying to grow all that you eat, and really, you wont do much better than shop-bought. It might be worth putting in a few spuds for new potatoes or salads, and perhaps some shallots.
The best vegies in terms of productivity per square metre are tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage and broccoli, climbing and bush beans, lettuces of all kinds, sugarsnap peas, and roots like parsnips and beetroot. Things like carrots, bok choy, sweet corn and silverbeet are worth including if you like them. Carrots and other root crops are extremely convenient, in that they will hold in the ground for ages and you can just go and get one when you need it.
The factors to bear in mind are, in order; will we eat it? Will it produce a good crop? How much space will it take up and for how long? Is it easy to grow?
Your list may well be different, but for me consideration of these factors leads to the following list of must-grow vegies; tomatoes, bush beans, broccoli, sugarsnap peas, carrots, lettuce, beetroot, cabbages and their relatives, pumpkins, zucchini, capsicums, chillies, and (in a separate bed) asparagus. With these growing, we are never without our own produce, delicious and fresh from the garden.