5 Food Plants that are Super Easy to Grow


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5 Food Plants Anyone Can Grow | Whether you're short on space or new to gardening, start with these no-fuss fruits and veggies to get you growing (and eating) from your own deck, balcony or backyard.Whether you’re just starting out as a new gardener or you’re working with little space, my best advice is to start small with a handful of plants that are easy to grow.

Last year was my first year as a veggie gardener and I was a little overzealous, especially considering I was due to give birth mid summer. By the time our baby girl was born we were elbows deep in tomatoes that needed constant pruning, spinach that was bolting in the heat, vining squash that was taking over our yard and then an apple season that we could hardly keep up with. Not that it was a bad season by any stretch! But it was a lot to deal with all at once, especially come harvest time. That harvest season was also my first time canning and preserving, so it was a steep learning curve… especially with a newborn!

We grew spinach, broccoli, onions, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, blueberries and strawberries. We also harvested tons of apples, cherries and grapes from trees and vines that are already established on our property. On top of that, we were part of a CSA, which provides weekly boxes of local fruits and veggies. AND I bought a ton of stuff from the weekly farmers market, including about 10 lbs of blueberries and green beans to preserve. 

What I’m saying is, don’t be like me. Well, be a little like me:) But if you don’t want the overwhelm, just try a few things out first. Don’t go crazy and grow too much variety. Stick to a handful of plants and focus instead on growing a few different types of fruits and veggies.

Choose plants that are easy to grow and high-yielding with little effort. A variety of berries, legumes (beans, peas), tomatoes, squash and onions are a good start! Growing a plant or two from each group is good for your garden and will give you some good basic gardening wisdom to build on.

If you’re wondering where to start, the following veggies will give you the most bang for your buck, meaning you’re likely to get a good harvest with a few plants and/or minimal effort. The plants you choose and the amounts you grow will depend upon how much space you have. But if you’ve got space for a small garden (or even just a sunny balcony), these 5 fruits and veggies are your best bet.

 

1. Strawberries

There’s nothing quite like the taste of the first ripe strawberry of summer, fresh off the vine. The only thing better is the fact that this vine is a prolific one that keeps on giving. In fact, strawberries will take over your yard if you allow the runners to grow wild! 

To keep them from spreading, strawberries do best in containers, which makes them an excellent candidate for balcony gardening. Our strawberries grow in large planters on our deck. We also planted a single strawberry plant that was a gift from one of my students in its own pot. We planted it in a strawberry jar like this one and trained the runners into each pocket. One plant has now multiplied into a few plants with barely any effort. 

Our plants have also withstood one of the most brutal winters on record here, making them a hardy perennial. Over all they are a tasty addition to the garden with a really great return on investment! They can be eaten fresh, frozen whole or turned into a luscious strawberry jam for a taste of summer all year long.

 

2. Beans

Growing beans is almost like a right of passage for gardeners. Planting a bean seed, watching it grow and seeing it instinctively grab hold of a trellis and climb all the way to the top… It’s a pretty amazing thing to witness in the garden. It’s also pretty easy to grow beans. The large seeds are very recognizable and you can direct sow them in the ground. They can also be started indoors and are a great starter plant to for kids to grow. They make nice gifts too in you have extra seedlings to give away! 

While there are many types of beans to choose from, I recommend growing a pole bean that you and your family will eat. A pole bean is one that climbs a trellis versus a bush bean which grows low to the ground. Since pole beans climb up they require less space. We like green beans, but if you prefer a dried bean bean there are many varieties to choose from. 

Last year we were gifted Scarlett Runner beans. We planted them and they gave us tons of beans, but we didn’t really know what to do with them. We dried most of them and stored them in the pantry.  It would have made more sense for us to grow green beans, so that’s what we’re growing this year. 

 

3. Tomatoes

Considered a fruit in the gardening world and a vegetable in the culinary world, there is nothing quite so versatile as the humble tomato. Intensely flavourful when eaten fresh off the vine, tomatoes are also the basis of everything from pasta sauce and soups to ketchup and condiments. They can be prepared and preserved in a multitude of ways, and they even freeze easily if you can’t be bothered canning and drying them right away (or at all).

Tomatoes are also self-pollinating; This means they will bear fruit even without the help of pollinating insects and are a good candidate for seed-saving. They are easy to grow in containers on a sunny balcony and, aside from some pruning and watering, require little effort for a good-sized harvest. 

The biggest difficulties with tomatoes are issues like blight and a short growing season or early frost. Although we did personally struggle with a major weed problem as well as a siege of wood bugs that feasted on our plants, that is not the norm and was more a result of our greenhouse conditions than anything else. This year we will be growing them outdoors in containers while we deal with the greenhouse. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress!

 

4. Garlic

Garlic is part of the allium family, which includes onions, shallots, chives and leeks. All alliums are fairly easy to grow and have few pests due to their strong odour. Chives are a great plant to grow in your herb garden: They have a long growing season and are a perennial that returns year after year  with very little effort. But if you have a little more space, I would highly recommend growing a few heads of garlic. A “set it and forget it” plant, garlic is one of the easiest things we’ve grown so far.

Garlic does best when planted in the fall just before the first frost. For each bulb you plant you will get one head. Here in the northwest, we plant in October and the garlic is ready to harvest in July. We let the garlic go through the cold, wet winter and then spring. We don’t even have to worry about watering until the dry summer kicks in. The incredibly yummy garlic scapes can be harvested in June and finally the heads of garlic are ready in July. This also leaves time to plant a fall crop in its place.  

Garlic is another great candidate for container gardening if your space is limited. Once harvested, garlic is easy to cure and can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to months at a time. The bulbs are also easy to save and replant the following year. You probably won’t make it that long before eating it all though. Garlic is one of the most widely used staples in many dishes from a wide range of cuisines.

A word of caution: Although it is possible to plant and grow store-bought garlic bulbs, it’s recommended that you buy seed garlic when you’re ready to plant. Store-bought seeds and bulbs can ruin your soil if they are not 100% organic and GMO-free.

 

5. Cucumbers

Perhaps the most notoriously prolific vegetable in existence, it has been said that cucumbers will invade your house if you don’t lock your doors when they’re in season. Easy to grow like most squash, cucumbers grow on a vine and like to spread out across your yard. You can grow them on a balcony or in a small space by training them up a trellis or fence. 

Cucumbers are high-yielding plants so be prepared to pickle them or gobble them up fresh because they unfortunately don’t keep long once harvested. 

Since we love pickles but we aren’t huge fresh cucumber eaters, we’re growing 9 pickling cucumber plants this year and two long (regular) cucumber plants . You can also juice cucumbers to enjoy fresh or freeze it in ice cube trays to add to drinks later.

If neither fresh cucumbers nor pickles float your boat, pretty much any squash is easy to grow. Zucchini is a great summer squash to try and spaghetti, butternut and pumpkin are all great additions to your fall garden! Keep in mind, however, that squash need lots of space to grow. They can be trellised, but particularly big, bulky winter squash might not be the best candidates for a balcony garden.

 

Gardening is all about experimentation

There are so many other awesome plants out there and I highly encourage you to try as many as you can. But if you’re just beginning or are short on space or time, start with this list of garden A-listers and you’ll feel like an expert in no time.

Once you nail these plants you can add to your repertoire the following year. Just make sure you learn a thing or two about preserving so you don’t lose your harvest! Or just spread the love by sharing your bounty with others. After all, no food that is shared and enjoyed is ever wasted.

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

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That what sets Homestead Living magazine apart from much of the information you'll find online: We don't have staff writers, we have experienced homesteaders sharing their hard-won wisdom in each issue. And while we do offer a digital version, we're also now offering monthly PRINT issues for U.S. subscribers (Canada and elsewhere hopefully coming soon!)⁣

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When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

Over the years I’ve followed my passion for writing, editing and creating content, figuring much of it out on my own. From creating my blog to “self-publishing” my own digital/print magazine for the last 4 years, I’ve taught myself most of the practical skills necessary for turning an idea into a publication and getting said publication in the hands and in front of the eyes of many hundreds of readers.

But now that I’ve joined forces with the team at @homesteadlivingmagazine and @freeportpress, we’re all able to level up and reach many THOUSANDS of print and digital readers together.

People are HUNGRY for tried and tested advice on homesteading and self-reliant living. There’s a huge movement happening right now as more people wake up to all of the corruption in the world and realize that many of the systems we have come to depend on are fragile and on the brink of collapse. People are ready to take matters into their own hands by growing their own food, preparing their own meals, becoming producers instead of merely consumers and taking control of their health, freedom, security and lives.

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It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

(Continued in comments…)
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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

One of the ways we make sure our chickens are taken care of is by letting them free range during the day, but making sure they’re locked up and safe from predators at night. But who wants to be up at the crack of dawn to open the coop, or wake up to a bloodbath because you forgot to close the coop the night before?

(The answer is obviously no one… No one wants that).

Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

Using an automatic chicken door has been a GAME CHANGER for us. It’s one of those lesser known homestead tools that can make all the difference, and I’m always recommending one to anyone who keeps chickens!

This chicken door from @chickcozy_ is so easy to install and use too, and right now you can get one for a steal during their Black Friday sale!

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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

This decision has not come easily, but there’s a season for everything, and more and more I’m feeling called to transition out of this season and into the next in both life and business.

And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you will not be charged a renewal fee going forward, and will continue to have access to the digital library until your subscription runs out. As part of your subscription, you’re able to download and/or print each issue of you like, so that you never lose access to the hundreds of articles and vast amount of information in each issue.

Rather than subscribing, you can now purchase an all-access pass for a one-time fee of just $20, which gives you access to our entire digital library of issues.

Plus, for a limited time, when you purchase an all-access pass you’ll also get a gift certificate for a second all-access pass to gift to someone else.

I’m also still taking preorders for the print version of this special edition issue, but only for a few more weeks!

When you preorder the print issue, you’ll also get a digital copy of the special edition issue (this issue only), and will receive a print copy in the mail later this year (hopefully by Christmas so long as there are no shipping delays!)

Click the link in my profile or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to check out the latest issue, purchase an all-access pass to the digital library and/or preorder the print issue today!

Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

#modernhomesteading #homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram
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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

• Grow your own groceries
• Stock your pantry
• Create a natural home
• Get prepared
• Learn other important life skills like time management for homesteaders, goal setting and how to become your own handyman

And more!

If you’ve been feeling called to level up your self-reliance skills (because let’s be honest, we’re in for a wild ride these next few years with everything going on in the world), now is the time to heed that call.

Link in profile to enroll before midnight tonight, or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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There are so many reasons to grow your own food at home:

💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
🍴 Healthier than conventionally grown food
🔑 increases your overall food security
🫙 Gives you an abundance to preserve and share

But perhaps the number one reason is because it just tastes better!

Not only does food taste better when it’s freshly picked or allowed to ripen on the vine, there’s something about putting in the work to grow something from a tiny seed and then getting to see it on your dinner plate that just makes it so much more satisfying than anything you’ll ever buy from the store.

Plus, having to wait all year for fresh tomatoes or strawberries or zucchinis to be in season makes that short period when they’re available just that much more exciting!

With the world spinning out of control and food prices continuing to rise, it’s no wonder more people are taking an interest in learning to grow their own food at home. But that also means changing our relationship with food and learning to appreciate the work that goes into producing it and the natural seasonality of organically grown fruits and vegetables.

(It also means learning to preserve it so you can make the most of it and enjoy homegrown food all year long).

In my online membership program, The Society of Self-Reliance, you’ll learn how to grow your own food, from seed to harvest, as well as how to preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor all year long!

You’ll also learn how to grow and craft your own herbal medicine, detox your home, become your own handyman, and so much more (because self-reliance is about more than just the food that we eat… But that’s a pretty good place to start!)

The doors to the Society are now open for a limited time only. Click the link in my profile or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#foodsecurity #homegrownfood #homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homegrownfoodjusttastesbetter
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If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

When I first launched this online membership program last year, my goal was to create a one-stop resource where members could go to learn and practice every aspect of self-reliance, as well as a space to connect with other like-minded people pursuing the same goal. And that’s exactly what you’ll get when you join!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn inside the Society:

🌱 Food Security and Self-Sufficiency: Learn the art of growing and preserving your own food, ensuring you and your loved ones have access to nutritious meals year-round.

🌿 Natural Living and Herbal Medicine Mastery: Discover the secrets to creating a low-tox home and and to growing, making and using herbal remedies to support your family’s health, naturally.

🔨 Essential Life Skills: Learn essential life skills like time management, effective goal setting and practical DIY skills to become more self-sufficient.

As a member, you’ll enjoy:

📚 Monthly Video Lessons: Gain access to our ever-growing library of video lessons, with fresh content added each month.

📞 Live Group Coaching Calls: Participate in our monthly live group coaching calls, where we deep dive into a different self-reliance topic every month, and do live demonstrations and Q&A’s.

🏡 Private Community: Join our private community forum where you can ask questions, share your progress, and connect with like-minded individuals.

I only open the doors to The Society once or twice each year, but right now, for one week only, you can become a member for just $20/month (or $200/year).

In today’s world, self-reliance is no longer a luxury, a “cute hobby,” it’s a necessity. Join us inside The Society of Self-Reliance and empower yourself with the skills you need to thrive in the new world!

Link in profile or visit thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#selfreliance #selfreliant #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #sustainableliving #modernhomesteading #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

(Continued in comments…)
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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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