Apologies for the delay in posting this week. I managed to get mild food poisoning after a lovely brunch, and my stomach was in knots for nearly two days. The gardening season is definitely on its way, though! I love seeing photos of gardens slowly turning green and spotting hidden veggie beds in front or backyards as I walk my dogs or head out on a run. I particularly adore seeing new gardeners get excited about their first sprouts. It’s an exciting time! Even as someone who has gardened for a while now, I never tire of seeing seedlings pop out of the earth or watching plants grow over the summer months. If I’m swamped or the weather isn’t great, and I get stuck inside for a few days, it’s so rewarding to re-enter the garden and be treated to a beautiful blooming oasis.
Harvest is still a little ways off for me as of yet — I expect I’ll be picking radishes, lettuce, and Asian greens once June rolls around — but I’m already fantasizing about what I’m going to cook and prepare with the fresh produce from my garden. I’ve planted more kale than usual this year and plenty of other hardy greens. Once grown, they fill out the space quite nicely, but they’re also my favorite veggies to eat. It’s why I’ve dedicated two full beds to growing brassicas (a vegetable family that includes cabbage, kale, radish, etc.). I just love eating those vegetables!
I see a lot of gardening guides and books suggest which plants to grow. Tomatoes, peas, beans, radishes. They’re relatively easy to grow and high-reward. Who doesn’t love to pick a fresh tomato off the vine and slice it up for a tasty lunchtime sandwich? Cucumbers are often recommended as an easy first-time vegetable.
You won’t find cucumbers in my garden, though. I’m not a huge fan, and I get enough of them in my local farm’s CSA basket. I don’t need a bundle more to snack on. I want to urge you not to bother planting vegetables and varieties you don’t love to eat. Don’t waste time, effort, and space on nurturing plants that will feel like a chore to harvest and cook with.
Grow your favorite things. Yes, even if they’re challenging to grow! Even as a frugal gardener. If you have a whole lot of excess space and plenty of people to share with, go ahead, and allocate a bit of room for lesser preferred veg. But if you’re tight on space, don’t waste it on produce that doesn’t excite you. Frugal gardening is about saving money, yes, but it’s also about reducing waste. Wasting produce, after all, is wasting money! When I grow cucumbers, I tend to forget to harvest them, leaving them on the vine to rot, which then attracts pests. When I do harvest them, they often sit unused until they waste away. Why continue to worry and take on guilt when I could simply devote more space to favorites like kale and collards?
What’s your favorite garden vegetable? Do you prefer to leave extra room for flowers and herbs instead?
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.