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A season with marginal success can be hard on anyone. If you are new to gardening, you might want to try planting some of the things on this list in your first year, and then branch out and try harder things the following year. There’s nothing wrong with bad results in gardening, it’s just that it takes a year to try again, so choosing plants that offer a higher chance of success can be a good move if you are just starting out.
What more can I say about potatoes that wasn’t said in episode 6? Put them in the ground, walk away, wait 2 months, and you have potatoes!
Beans are very easy to grow, and the bush varieties are the easiest. ‘Provider’ beans are a particularly reliable heirloom variety, they are tasty, and easy to grow. Remember to pick your beans every two days once they start becoming the right size for eating. If you have a particularly vigorous plant, leave the beans on it and save them for seeds!
Peas do not mind poor soils, are one of the first things in your garden to bear tasty food, and like beans, are pretty easy to grow and can help improve your soil . Unlike beans, the bush varieties are not self-supporting, and will need some sort of trellis to stay up.
4) Swiss Chard
Of all the greens out there, I have found Swiss chard to be the most pest, disease and bolt resistant. ‘Giant Ford-Hook’ and “Lucillus” are particularly good varieties.
Possibly the best bang for your buck. Buy ever-bearing bare-root strawberries in the spring, put them in the ground, and each year, you will have large crops in both June and October, as well as intermittent yields throughout the summer. I have found the ‘Seascape’ variety to be very reliable.
If you like fish, then you either like dill, or should learn to like dill. Nothing tastes like summer like grilled salmon with fresh dill. But it doesn’t stop there, that dill is excellent for pickling in the fall. Of all the herbs that you might sow from seed directly into the garden, dill is one of the easiest to get going, and pest don’t seem to like it at all.
7) Onion Sets
Onions can be planted between the rows of other plants, and they seem to deter pests, and added bonus outside the fact that they are a key ingredient in many delicious culinary delights. I jam them in wherever I can put them.
I can’t say enough about how easy garlic is to grow. Plant them in mid-October, and they will be the first signs of life in your garden the following spring. You can eat the greens in june (but not too many), then the garlic scapes, in July, and then the bulbs in Aug/Sept/Oct. Save the biggest and best bulbs, and then break them up and plant the cloves in mid-October. They also seem to be a dynamite pest repellant.
Plant these early in spring, and plant a lot. Once they get to an edibles size (4 inches long), start thinning them out and eating the baby carrots. For the remainder of the summer, just pick them as you want them, constantly thinning and making room for the remaining carrots to get big. You can leave them in the ground right up to late December, and they will only taste better the colder it gets – carrots love frost!
Parsnips are a totally underrated vegetable. When you roast them, they are just out of this world, and for some reason the ones in the store simply do not compare/ Plant in early spring, and watch them get bigger and bigger all summer long. Don’t start eating them (no matter how much you want to) unitll the weather is cold and there has been frost. In my family, thanksgiving dinner is the first parsnip meal of the year, and from that point on we gorge on them until they are gone. You can leave them in the ground until late December, or even later if you can keep the ground from freezing (they are very hard to pull when the ground turns to ice). In addition, if you plant heirloom varieties, you can leave a few in the ground all winter and they will go to seed the following spring.
So there you have it, ten plants that are easy to grow, and will increase your odds of success this gardening year. If you are new to gardening, try not to be too over-ambitious in the early going. While failure can be toxic, success is intoxicating! Plant vegetables that will give you positive results, and then build on that success next year.