Each year as I peruse seed catalogs, I make lists upon lists upon lists of plants that I "have to grow" this year. Anyone relate?
Then I realize that I have limited space in both garden and fridge, and a house full of not-so adventurous eaters. Some years I dive all in and plant everything, other years I plant a bare minimum, but I PLANT. Here are my top 5 plants I plant each year (and how many I plant).
1. Sugar snap peas. These early growing veggies are ALWAYS a big hit as we plant, they grow and my kids can pick them straight from the garden. They are easy to grow, you can just pop them in the ground, and they make your soil better as they are nitrogen fixers, making nitrogen available for all other crops you plant after. I love these early veggies. I usually plant a good 10-20 of these every spring.
2. Cherry or Grape Tomatoes. There are lots of opinions on tomatoes. I have tried lots of varieties, and there are still varieties I haven't tried. So this is a general SIZE of tomato. I love little tomatoes. I actually will plant 2 tomatoes every year, a cherry and a big, early tomato. Again, it is a hit because your kids can just go and pick them straight from the garden. They are fairly easy to grow, I mean, you do have to start the indoors in most places, they are fast enough that you can seed the outdoors in the spring.
3. Broccoli! This one may surprise you. This is a late summer harvest, and it wasn't on my top 5 until I grew it in a very desolate garden and it was a champ, and best of all, MY FAMILY LOVED IT. Eating fresh broccoli steamed straight from the garden is a game changer. It is amazing. Again, you can seed it, but it is better if you start it indoors in the spring and let it get pretty big before setting it out in the garden. Plant 2 or 3.
4. Garlic. Garlic is super easy to grow, and super inexpensive to get. Just go to the grocery store. Buy a big bag of garlic and separate the cloves and plant. SO easy. Garlic is something that I need in all my cooking, so I need it. In a apocalypse (or financial crash). I want to have garlic on hand for all that food storage cooking. Really. a zombie apocalypse necessity. Immune boosting, flavorful and easy.
5. Summer squash. Again, this is generic, because every year I tend to plant a different type. There is the ubiquitous Black Beauty Zucchini, the Yellow Crook Neck, the Patty Pan, the Mexican Grey. Whatever type I choose I plant 2. Though they are cliche, There are so many things you can make with them and they produce amazingly.
When thinking of what your top 5 veg in the garden will be, look at what your family likes to eat. Are you pasta lovers who need to make your own sauces? Are you salsa eaters all.summer.long? I am. Are you roasted veggie eaters, are you herb lovers, meat and potatoes? Okay, you can't plant meat, but you CAN plant potatoes. Lots of them. They are easy too. Are you soup eaters who need onions, carrots and celery? Enjoy the process. A garden is a constant experiment and every year just plan your experiment and watch it grow. If something doesn't work out, there is always next year.