5 Food Plants that are Super Easy to Grow


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

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.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Start Homesteading Wherever You Are - Little House Living - […] don’t need to live on a farm to grow some of your own food at home. Even if all…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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. 
You Might Also Like
Easy Fermented Jalapeños Recipe

Easy Fermented Jalapeños Recipe

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   When we first started growing jalapeños, we did so with the intention of using them to make homemade salsa. We figured we’d be lucky to get enough jalapeños to...

read more

How to Can Homemade Tomato Sauce

How to Can Homemade Tomato Sauce

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   When it comes to home-canned food, tomato sauce reigns supreme when it comes to versatility. I don’t know about you, but in our house we eat a lot of...

read more

What’s your favourite food preservation method??

For Angi Schneider of @schneiderpeeps, the answer is pressure canning, hands-down.

The fact is, there are many ways to preserve food, and each of them has its place and serves its purpose. But the only preservation method that allows you to preserve full meals that are ready to eat straight out of the jar is pressure canning.

Water bath canning allows you to preserve high acid foods like fruits, pickles, jams and jellies.

Fermenting adds beneficial bacteria, increases the nutritional value and adds a distinct (and acquired) flavour to foods.

Dehydrating and freeze drying are great long term storage preservation methods, and are a great option for preppers, hunters or anyone who needs to carry their food preps with them.

Pressure canning, on the other hand, allows you to have jars of food ready to serve and eat at a moment’s notice. It’s great to hand on hand during an emergency, but it also serves as practical, every day food that you and your family will actually eat.

Whether it’s a busy weeknight and you have no time to cook, you’ve got unexpected company or you find yourself in the middle of an emergency or power outage, having jars of healthy, homemade food –including full meals– on hand always comes in handy.

Angi and I sat down to chat about the many benefits of pressure canning, and about her brand new book Pressure Canning For Beginners And Beyond in an interview for the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine (out now).

To read the full interview and/or to check out Angi’s new cookbook (which includes some seriously drool-worthy canning recipes like Chicken Marsala, Beef Street Tacos, Maple Ginger Glazed Carrots and French Onion Soup), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe and get your first issue free!

For a limited time, you can also become a member and get full access to our entire library of issues for just $7.99/year. Link in bio to get all the goods:)

Seriously though… What’s your favourite food preservation method and why? (There are no wrong answers!)

Let me know in the comments below!👇
...

For the past week or so, I’ve been sharing a new morning routine I've been committing to...

It's the simple act of lighting a candle to start each day.

In this age of unnatural blue light emanating from our screens, fluorescent and even LED lighting from overhead lights and lamps, it can be quite a shock to the system to go from sleeping in complete darkness to flipping on the bright lights and checking email on your smartphone first thing in the a.m.

By simply lighting a candle and allowing your eyes a minute or two to adjust before turning on the lights or checking a screen, you have the power to create a much calmer and more peaceful start to your day, and that has lasting effects that can and will stay with you all day long.

I know I’m not the only one who can benefit from this simple but powerful morning ritual, so I decided to start a challenge to encourage others to do the same.

If you'd like to participate, grab a candle and a pack of matches (or a lighter) and commit to lighting a candle to start your day for as many days as you can during the month of October.

Every time you share a photo of your candle/morning ritual on Instagram posts or stories and tag me @thehouseandhomestead and use the hashtag #candlelitmorning, you'll be entered to win a naturally-scented candle of your choice from Plant Therapy!

This being said, I know that good quality candles aren't exactly cheap, but you can save a tone of money by learning how to make your own!

If you're interested in learning how to make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils at home, I'm currently offering my DIY Scented Soy Candles Masterclass for FREE as part of the Handmade Holiday Giveaway, hosted by my friend and fellow Vancouver Islander Diana Bouchard of @wanderinghoofranch

Other limited-time freebies include:

* Exclusive homestead holiday recipes
* Free knitting and crochet patterns
* Free homemade cocktail mixers course
* Cute printable gift tags and more!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out everything that's included in the Handmade Holiday Giveaway.

And don't forget to join in the #candlelitmorning challenge right here on Instagram!
...

Sometimes I don’t post photos because I can’t think of a brilliant, thought-provoking caption to go with each one.

But then again, sometimes a photo speaks for itself:)

This weekend reminded me how important it is to be present, both with ourselves and with the ones we love. This weekend I was reminded of what I’m truly grateful for. 🧡

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

#givethanks #staypresent #familyiseverything
...

Drop a ❤️ below 👇 if you can relate!

A professional teacher turned homeschooling mom of two, Allyson Speake was spinning her wheels trying to keep up with her family’s fast-paced modern lifestyle until she made the intentional decision to slow down and quit her job as a teacher to stay home and educate her children at home. Nowadays she helps others do the same!

If you’ve ever stumbled across her Instagram page @tanglewoodhollow, you’ve likely been met with beautiful photos of children playing and exploring in the woods, nature crafts, treasures and toadstools galore. Her passion for slow, seasonal living and nature-based education shows in everything she posts!

But her inspiring Instagram page is just a glimpse into what she has to offer other homeschoolers, teachers, parents and guardians from all walks of life who want to bring a little more seasonal magic into their children’s lives, and who know that the best classroom is the great outdoors.

I sat down with her for the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine and she shared some real nuggets of wisdom for anyone with young children (not just homeschoolers!)

In the interview, Allyson shares that “on average three-year-olds can identify 100 different brand logos, and that increases to 300-400 by age 10.” If that’s not reason enough to turn off the TV and get outside, I don’t know what is!

“Whatever children are exposed to, they are able to soak it up like sponges, but they aren’t getting that exposure to nature,” she says.

Catch the full interview in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Subscribe for free to read your first issue free or become a member to get this issue plus access to our entire library of past issues for just $7.99/year!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#homeschool #homeschooling #naturebasedlearning #naturebasededucation #wildandfreechildren #freerangekids
...

🛠 “Even the simplest tools can empower people to do great things.”
- Biz Stone

The other day I asked you what the most valuable asset is on your homestead, and I shared that mine is my dear husband @thehumblehandyman

Everyone who knows him knows he can build and repair just about anything. It’s a true talent, but he’s also spent years learning and sharpening his skills.

But talent and skills are only half of the equation; You’ve gotta have the right tools for the job!

As homesteaders, our main mission in life is to become more self-sufficient, and that extends to building and repairing things at home. But whether you’re an expert handyman or a fledgling fixer-upper, you can't do the job if you don't have the right tools on hand.

If you’re just starting out and wondering what tools to invest in, The Humble Handyman and I put together a list of 15 essential tools that everyone should have on hand for minor repairs and odd jobs around the home (and homestead), along with tips on how to actually use each one.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to check it out or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/15-essential-tools-home-toolkit/

Which of these tools do you already have?

Which ones are next on your list to invest in??

What are your go-to tools to use around your house and homestead??? (Duct tape totally counts 😉)

Let me know in the comments below! 👇

#toolsofthetrade #toolkit #diy #handyman
...

🪓 What’s the most valuable asset on your homestead?

For me, it’s this guy right here.

He was only away for two weeks, but that’s all the time it took for me to realize how much he brings to the table, and how valuable it is to have a live-in handyman on a homestead!

When our burner crapped out on our stove in the middle of a canning project last week, I had no idea how to fix it and was ready to buy a brand new stove, but luckily Ryan came home with all of his tools just a couple days later and fixed it for a fraction of the cost of buying a new stove.

When we were getting chickens, he built our chicken coop. When I wanted to put in new garden beds, he built them. Deck? Done! Firewood? Chopped! Bathroom? Remodelled! Car broken down? Fixed! (Did I mention he’s a trained mechanic too?)

If you don’t have your own handyman at home though, you can still learn the skills you need to become more self-sufficient when it comes to tackling new building projects and repairing and maintaining things at home.

I’m thrilled to announce that @thehumblehandyman now has his own regular feature in each issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, where he’ll share simple steps you can take to increase your self-sufficiency by learning how to DIY all sorts of projects around your house and homestead.

In his debut feature, he shares 5 simple steps you can take this fall to help you prepare your house and homestead for the coming winter, all of which could save you time, money and effort during the season of rest.

Check out the full article in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, available now!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe and read your first issue free, or become a member and get this issue plus unlimited access to all past issues for just $7.99/year!

I’d love to know what handyman/DIY skills or projects you’d like to see featured in future issues. Leave a comment below👇and let me know!

#handyman #homesteading #diy #handymanhusband #skills #woodworking #jackofalltrades #selfsufficiency #selfsufficient #selfsufficientliving #sustainableliving #homesteadersofinstagram
...

Did you know you can now buy pumpkin spice ramen noodles, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice macaroni and cheese, pumpkin spice sausages and even pumpkin spice dog treats?

It’s not exactly a stretch to say that we’ve taken the whole pumpkin spice craze a little bit too far.

But our obsession with pumpkin spice speaks to something much deeper than the flavour itself. (Let’s be honest, pumpkin spice ramen noodles sound gag-worthy).

The reason we tend to love pumpkin spice so much is because it triggers feelings of comfort and nostalgia; Memories of days spent with family at the pumpkin patch or around the Thanksgiving table. In short, pumpkin spice triggers our emotions as much as it tantalizes our taste buds.

But let’s be real, pumpkin spice Pringles ain’t it.

If you’re feeling all the fall vibes and craving a little pumpkin spice in your life right now, stick to the tried and true pumpkin spice latte, but ditch the expensive (and highly processed) commercial PSLs and make your own pumpkin spice syrup (with real pumpkin!) at home for a fraction of the cost! Keep it on hand to add to your coffees, teas and steamed milk beverages all Autumn long.

It’s super easy to make and will put pumpkin spice macaroni squarely in its place (and keep it there!)

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab the recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

#pumpkinspice #psl #pumpkinspicelatte #fallvibes #fromscratch
...

I’ve been feeling pulled to slow down and retreat into my home lately; To turn off the news and social media and focus on the tangible things like lighting the wood stove, preserving the mountains of food still coming out of the garden, and slowly stirring a pot of soup as it cooks on the stovetop.

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I know I’m not the only one feeling pulled toward hearth and home. This is a heavy time for all of us. No one person is meant to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders, but I've heard from so many people lately who say that's exactly how they've been feeling.

If you read my post from a few days ago, you know I’ve been feeling like that too, but luckily, I've learned how to soothe my soul in difficult times.

And so that's what I've been doing lately...

I've been focusing on the tangible things that I can control, like cooking meals and preserving food.

I've been lingering a little longer in the morning, taking time to sit by the river or sip my coffee in front of the wood stove before hurrying on with my day.

And I've been making a conscious effort to turn off the noise of the outside world and give my family and my own emotional health my full attention.

If you've also been feeling that pull to turn off all of the noise and immerse yourself in more nourishing, productive activities, I want to tell you about a collection of resources that will help you do just that.

The Simple Living Collective’s Autumn Issue includes seasonal guides, tutorials, e-books, recipes and more to help you slow down and reconnect with what matters this season.

* Learn how to forage for healing herbs and how to make your own natural medicine

* Find new ways to celebrate old traditions, and create new seasonal traditions with your family

* Discover new seasonal recipes and crafts to do on your own or with your kids

And much more.

If this sounds like it’s exactly what you're in need of right now, check out the Simple Living Collective and get the Autumn Issue for just $25. But this issue is only available until tomorrow, so don't wait…

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab it now before it disappears 🍁
...

I laid in bed the other night and couldn’t sleep.

I know that probably doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, especially considering the collective stress we’ve all been through over the past year and a half. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me.

I used to have really bad anxiety, and I made a conscious effort to learn how to manage it in (mostly) healthy, natural ways. I practice a lot of gratitude every day, and overall I’ve learned to deal with stress, anxiety and negative thoughts pretty well.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all. Aside from dealing with personal issues like our ongoing infertility/pregnancy loss journey and the every day stresses we all face, the bigger things have been feeling bigger and heavier lately; The mandates, the politics, the pushback, the arguments and attacks online, the divisiveness, and the seemingly never-ending pandemic that every single one of us is still dealing with in some capacity.

I’ve been seeing more and more calls to “choose a side.” I’ve witnessed my own close friends on both sides of the debate hurling insults at each other, defending their ground, and refusing to listen to each other’s valid points and concerns.

I’ve even witnessed a widening crack in the homesteading community, despite the fact that so many of our core values and beliefs align and are unique to us.

Despite the division, I would still argue that ALL of us have much more in common than not, and to see the divide continuing to deepen has started to get under my skin lately.

(Continued in comments…)
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs