Most conventional vegetable garden planning advice says to "grow what you eat", to look in your fridge for ideas of what to grow in your garden, otherwise your veggies will sit out there in the garden untouched and your efforts will be wasted.
I tried this the first year in my new veggie garden, I planted tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, corn, broccoli and celery, which were all things we liked to eat and would regularly buy from the supermarket. The tomatoes were attacked by fruit fly, the carrots were short and fat with many "legs", the potatoes didn't grow in our heavy clay soil, the broccoli and corn were eaten by grubs, and the celery never grew at all - if I'd stuck to that advice I would have given up after the first year!
|This loose leaf lettuce is easy to grow and save seeds from.|
Luckily I also planted some other veggies that we didn't normally buy (or eat), and many of those were very successful. These alternative veggies grow better in our climate and have proven to be useful in meals as alternatives to our old favourites.
This has made me more adventurous and interested in trying different veggies. I think its important to find out what grows well in your area, particularly if you are trying to grow organically, plants that can't cope without chemicals will just be hard work. Then you need to figure out how to eat them, and if you like them, you're onto a winner.
This is all part of the fun! I believe that you should both eat what you grow and grow what you eat.
|I love silver beet from my garden, but I never used to eat it.|
When you think about which veggies you buy regularly, many are either cheap (carrots and potato compared to eggplant or herbs), or long lasting (broccoli and corn compared to things like silver beet, spring onions and lettuce, which quickly go limp in the fridge).
Before we had the garden, I never bought silverbeet, because I knew it wouldn't last long in the fridge, and I never bought eggplant unless if happened to be less that $6/kg, which is pretty much never. Honestly I NEVER ate silverbeet until I grew it myself (even when my mum grew it, sorry mum!). There's something about putting in that effort to produce food that makes me find a way to eat it.
|This mini capsicum resists fruit fly better than the full sized ones.|
Having a veggie garden means that you can grow veggies that you wouldn't normally buy, either because they are expensive or because they don't keep well. For me this includes:
- rocket and salad greens
- spring onions
- herbs (parsley, basil, coriander etc)
- pickling cucumbers
|Button squash do better than zucchinis and taste pretty much the same.|
|The Poor Man's Bean took over my garden fence last year and produced more beans that we could eat!|
|My tiny broccoli, at least the grubs didn't get them :)|