I’ve been doing some thinking (dangerous, yes). I have been reflecting on all the different types of vegetables I have grown over the year to figure out the 5 easiest vegetables to grow at home.
Easy in the sense that you still have to water them, and have half decent soil, but other than that, they will just grow and grow without any special attention. Here’s my list.
This vegetable must be close to the worlds favourite tuber. So easy to plant. Just dig a hole. Throw in a handful of compost. Then throw in a seed potato with sprouts, and cover back up.
Then stand back and watch the plants grow, keep moist, and harvest when the tops die off. Pretty easy stuff. You can even mound the plant with more compost or soil if you want a larger crop, but I tend to just dig a deeper hole at the start of the process.
This is my favourite of all the Allium family. The humble garlic. All you do is make sure your soil is well composted, then break your garlic bulb into cloves, and plant the cloves in a middle finger depth hole pointy end up. Within a few days you will see the first leave.
Just keep moist during their growing season (winter here in the southeast of Australia) and dig them up when the tops die off. They last for a good six months in a cool dark cupboard.
A green like no other. This colourful vegetable is so simple to plant and will last you a good six months if you keep harvesting the outer leaves.
The seeds are about 4mm, and you plant them down in composted soil about the depth of your fingernail, then covered over. Water well.
They grow quickly and strongly, and even if you neglect them a little, a little more water sees them on their way again. Just keep the snails off them when the seedlings are small. Used coffee grounds around each plant is good for this purpose.
This leafy green is great raw in salads using the smaller middle leaves, or the larger leaves wilted in some butter and garlic and used as a side dish to a main meal. Great as a saag as well with paneer.
Oh, and the chooks love it as well. It turns their yolks a deep orange.
Where do I start. Pumpkins are one of my favorite summer vegetables and never disappoint. They do need a rich soil by adding lots of manure and compost, but other than that, it is in with the seed about double their size down in the soil, keep them moist, and let nature do the rest. You may want to pinch off the growing tips when the vines get to be about 4 metres long so it starts sending out side shoots. Move female flowers grow on these.
They love grey water, so run the hose from your washing machine rinse water, and they will take over your yard. In a few months they will reward you with a mountain of pumpkins that will store well over the winter.
My favourite way of cooking them is either pumpkin soup, or cut into wedges and roasted with their skins on.
The sweetest corn are the ears you grow yourself. When cooked within an hour of picking the sugars in the kernels don’t have a chance to convert to starch, so they are so much sweeter.
Sweet corn is simple to plant; it is a grass after all. Plant the seeds in rows about 30cm apart into well composted soil. Plant multiple rows to form a block of corn as it needs this to pollinate the ears, and it is a wind-pollinated.
Keep the soil well mulched and moist and harvest when the ears have swollen and the silk starts to turn brown. Just grab the cob, and thrust downwards to remove them from the stalk.
You will never buy the frozen stuff again.
Easy as pie
Now it may be just me, but I rarely have trouble with any of these 5 vegetables. Rarely are they attacked by insects, and can survive a little neglect. They are all family favourites (well maybe not the chard, but I eat it), and are versatile in the kitchen.
What do you consider your 5 easiest veggies to grow? I am sure there are others I have missed!