For veggie lovers or avid home cooks, choosing what to grow is an arduous process. You may want to grow everything, but it is usually better to whittle down your expansive list of planting edibles and focus on your favourites.


The obvious choice is the humble vegetable. Herbs are also popular as they are versatile and can be grown in smaller spaces. Fruits can be more challenging, although there are always exceptions (like strawberries). They aren’t necessarily harder to grow but trees do require patience as they take longer to establish and may only produce fruit after a few years. If you’re growing a fruit tree from seed, you’re looking at a lot longer before you get any return.


Before you choose what to grow, ask yourself – what do you want to eat? This may seem like an obvious question, but you’ll be surprised how often it is overlooked. Gardeners often focus on ease of growth, or time to harvest, without considering that you have to eat whatever you grow at the end of the day. Choose something you are guaranteed to use and enjoy. Nothing goes to waste and you’ll appreciate the effort even more.


Read more: Garden Chores: Should I Clean My Pots Before Planting?


With your preferences covered, you must consider the preferences of the plants too. Some edible plants can withstand colder climates, while others need warmth to fruit. Edible plants also need plenty of light – at least 6 hours a day, often more. If you have unpredictable weather, choose hardier plants that can withstand a roughing up from winds or heavy rain, or shield the plants from environmental damage.


If you’re planting several plants in one container, you need to know which plants will grow well together, known as companion planting. Plants don’t always play nice when they’re side by side, competing for resources and space. Choose plants that grow well together or help each other grow, rather than ones that will compete (fennel and mint are the usual suspects).


Finally, start small. It’s better to choose a few plants to grow successfully rather than a massive harvest all in one go – gardening fatigue may soon set in. Don’t underestimate how much food a single plant can give you in one season.


By Madison Mouton

Photo: Markus Spiske for Pexels