The Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Veggie Gardening
Vegetable gardening can be a lot more than a hobby. It’s also a great way to get fresh food on the table, and save a lot of money at the grocery store. Just skip past the produce section and eat right from your backyard. If you plant the right crops, you’ll get the best bang for your buck (and end up with a lot more bucks to spend).
Grow Your Garden Wisely
Not every garden plant is a good idea. Some plants take up a lot of space without providing a big yield. Others take up little space, but that’s because there’s such a small yield of produce. Grow smarter to get much better results from the space you do have.
This type of tomato is small, but they grow like heck. Plant them in a sunny spot, and they'll produce big, bright bunches of bite-sized tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are very easy to grow, and you can even plant them in pots. Sweet Million, Black Cherry, and Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes will grow until the first frost. Use a tomato cage to give plants support and water them every two to three days to keep the soil moist. You'll be ready to harvest the fruits of your labor in about a month. After the tomatoes start to appear, harvest daily so your plants keep producing.
These grow so well that you might get overwhelmed. In fact, they'll grow faster than you can pick them, so start looking for a good pickling recipe and some jars to make them last even after the growing season is over. Make sure your cucumbers have room to climb and grow (and they will). Grow cucumbers in full sunlight in light, sandy soil, if possible. Water cucumber seedlings frequently, and thin your plants out after they reach four inches in height. Be patient, and they’ll start producing lots of cucumbers in a few weeks.
This leafy green is truly the workhorse of any garden. Pluck the leaves whenever you want a fresh salad, and as long as the crown stays undamaged the plant will keep producing new leaves all season long. Lettuce will grow in the spring and fall, and sometimes will even survive a light frost. It grows quickly in moist, well-drained soil. Watch out for weeds, keep your beds clear, and your lettuce plants will thrive.
This vegetable takes up a lot of space in the garden, but that's because it produces a lot. There are all sorts of zucchini varieties to choose from, and they'll turn out lots of tasty edibles through the growing season. Give your zucchini plenty of sunlight and rich soil, and you'll be harvesting them in about 12 weeks. Keep harvesting, and freeze or can your zucchini so it lasts even after the harvest is over.
Peas grow furiously for several weeks to yield lots of tasty veggies. They can be eaten right off the vine, and they'll grow vertically so they don't take up a ton of space. Fertilize pea crops well, and sow the seeds before the last spring frost. Rich, well-drained soil will support a healthy crop. As long as your peas have space to grow, they’ll keep providing you with fresh veggies all through the summer.
In terms of calories for your buck, potatoes fit the bill. They'll add more calories to your pantry than any other veggie that takes up the same space. They're also versatile—you can prepare potatoes a number of ways and enjoy them all summer long and into fall. You can also store potatoes to last you through the winter. Plant your potatoes in hilly rows, mulch, and watch out for weeds. Once potatoes are planted, they need little maintenance to grow healthy and big.
Better Veggies, More Bucks
Vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be backbreaking work. There are lots of easy-to-grow veggies that produce a whole lot of delicious edibles. Make the most out of these easy high-yield crops, and you’ll make much more out of your home garden.