Growing your favourite vegetables in your home garden seems simple enough, yet every year I always plant too many zucchini which ends up growing like crazy, taking up space and giving away the gourds. Over the past couple of years I have simplified my choices for ease of gardening, and planting only what we use and love; well most of the time. Yes, there is always room for a crop of radish, a couple of lettuce or chard. The main staple vegetables though are family favourites of tomatoes, kale and garlic.
Favourite Vegetables #1 Choice Every time - the Tomato
Aptly named the "love apple" this comes in first every year for a multitude or reasons. Growing tomatoes without added chemicals the fruit is sweet and juicy and we eat fresh tomatoes almost daily from June, sometimes to mid November. It is one vegetable (tomato is a fruit) which I take the time to can as use it as a soup base all year, in Spaghetti Squash Pasta as well as chilli and many other dishes. It is not always the easiest vegetable to grow especially if wilt hits the plants after a rain. But, if there is any doubt in your mind about growing tomatoes here is my favourite article with 15 Reasons to Grow your Own Tomatoes
#2 Garlic - Not only because its good for you
An easy to grow vegetable that always seems to need minimum care and attention. This year without a regular watering in July some bulbs were smaller than others but a bounty just the same. Yes, these also are much tastier fresh from the garden, plus fresh scapes in the spring. I enjoy using garlic cloves daily in our cooking and raw, chopped up, with yoghurt and cinnamon.* Recent research is showing that fresh garlic, not a supplement, is very good for your immune system There is definitely a saving in growing your own garlic in more ways than money. Here's lots of information on garlic and how to grow your own at home
#3 Kale - a never ending story
This is truly a bountiful green to grow all year if your winters are mild. The biggest "pain" to growing kale is the white cabbage moth which must have "kale radar" as they find the plants to lay eggs every year and this can quickly get out of hand. Often a simple spray of water on the leaves is all that it takes to remove the eggs. This past winter 6 kale plants were left to winter over in a heavily leaf mulched garden. They provided fresh leaves infrequently during the winter and in the Spring many new shoots and leaves for juicing and salads Here's how I grow this great "provider" plant Kale
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree"
~ Martin Luther King Jr
That's it for my 3 favourite vegetables to grow, without chemicals, in our small home garden. In closing, it may seem like a given, but choose your favourite vegetables and work out a way to garden during the summer in the Pacific Northwest or all year depending on your choice of vegetables. It's a fun past time and great to share your bounty with friends, family and your local food bank. Check out the many informative links on the referenced articles and above all ...
... Happy Gardening! ~ Liz
Links & References:
- Health Benefits of Garlic: "Garlic & Onions: Their Cancer Prevention Properties" (2015)
- Raised bed gardening - the only way to grow
- Share your love of gardening with your grandkids
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* At least one person will ask me about this : ie eating "raw, chopped up (garlic) with yoghurt and cinnamon" so here is the explanation:
- I peel and chop up one or 2 fresh garlic cloves and leave them aside for 15 minutes for maximum health benefits (of garlic)
- This garlic is then added to ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt sprinkled with cinnamon
- If you wish add some almonds and a small amount of fresh fruit (blackberries = my favourite)
- So far, after many years, no negative side effects, no body odor!
- And this is why I do this, every day if possible - About Caramel and Parsley
- and remember ...