In my last post, I wrote about how to get your garden on without a huge investment of time or money. If you’ve had a herb in its little pot going strong for a little while now and are really enjoying the freshness and convenience of being able to grab a few leaves to garnish your soup or stir through your eggs, then you might be ready to go a bit further with your garden experiment and start thinking about growing some veggies. While I know it’s tempting to go all out and chuck in some broccoli, cabbages and cauliflowers, your best bet is to start with easy to grow plants that won’t take up too much space. There are some really great options for the novice or balcony gardener that will have you enjoying your own produce in no time at all.
Great veggie’s for beginners:
One of the first plants I grew when I started out in the garden was a chili bush which was given to me by a friend as a housewarming gift. Chilies are a great addition to any garden, they do really well in pots, will last forever and when they get going at the height of the season they will reward you with an abundance of produce – so much so that you won’t know what to do with them all!
Silverbeet (or Swiss Chard) is a nutrient powerhouse and will grow really well in pots (a bucket with a few holes poked in the bottom works equally well!) in a sunny position with minimum fuss. A punnet of silverbeet from the nursery will cost you just a few dollars and will last a good couple of seasons, you just need to keep it watered and fed and you’ll never have to buy spinach again. It comes in five gorgeous colours too so it makes for a lovely decorative element.
Kale is super trendy right now and everyone seems to be cooking with it – but did you know that aside from it being really good for you, it is also seriously easy to grow yourself in a pot? I have a few plants dotted around the garden because it does so well with minimal interference. As with silverbeet, kale will grow well in a sunny spot with regular feeding and the occasional drink of water.
I always try to have some lettuce on the go in my beds, it grows without much intervention, with minimal sunlight, and is so much better freshly picked than the stuff you’ll get at the supermarket that has likely been sprayed with chemicals. A packet of seeds will see you through a season, just remember to keep them watered or they will bolt and go to seed (and probably taste a littler bitter).
Spring onions are easy to grow year round from seed, seedlings from the nursery and even kitchen scraps. They are fast-growing and super productive. To grow from scraps simply cut just above the roots and replant, within a couple of weeks they will start re-shooting. You can trim the tops of spring onions (while they are still in the ground) and use them as a substitute for chives in salads, omelettes and anything else that could do with a fresh onion-y twist.
So there you have it, a few ideas on plants to get you started on your journey to sustainable eating and, maybe, self-sufficiency. Which plants do you think you’d like to have a go at?