A store-bought tomato travels up to 1,500 miles before it even reaches the produce aisle. Grow your own, and it travels just a few feet to your burger – a gives you a sense of pride. Garden vegetables are always organic, nutritious, and can save you a couple hundred bucks in groceries in a single season. Here's how to get started on a productive kitchen garden.
Pick your plants.
Despite notable fans like the Irish and the Incas, potatoes have gotten a bad rap, thanks to their carb count and the bland kinds most grocery stores carry. Try the Yukon Gold or Russian Banana varieties. Wood Prairie Farm is a good source for seeds.
These include baby spinach, arugula, and a range of leafy greens. They make fantastic salads, can be planted and replanted several times over, and don't get big enough to have pest problems.
They're great as snacks and forjuice, but don't grow just orange ones; there are varieties of red and yellow carrots that are richer. Carrots can be seeded directly into the soil, which makes them a good beginner's crop.
Go for two varieties – a big tomato like a Brandywine for burgers and a cherry tomato like a Sungold for salads, both popular because of their flavor.
A tasty green with great color, it's a perfect side to steak when steamed. It's also full of cancer-preventing beta carotene and very easy to grow directly from seed.
It's often accused of being bland, yet fresh from the ground it's very tasty, even more so when grilled. White cauliflower is mundane; try one of the yellow or purple varieties.
The growing season isn't long, but strawberries grow perennially, so one year's planting can yield sweet berries for years to come.
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Asparagus is an advanced grow. It takes two years before it can be harvested, but it is a perennial, so it keeps coming back.