Thursday, April 27

The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow - According To Someone With A Black Thumb

So I have this dream that one day I'll live in a cute cottage with an acre or so on land and I'll be living off the grid and being self-sufficient. Just me (and my husband and cats), some solar panels, and my garden making life work.

But there's one problem. I have a black thumb. You know, the opposite of a green thumb. I always have. Try as I might growing up I killed every potted plant I ever bought within a month or so. It's mainly due to forgetting to water my plants for lengths of times and then over-watering them so they get shocked and die. And especially if you're growing anything that fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, peppers, etc.) that's a problem because the plant needs a proper and steady stream of water to produce good fruit for you to eat.

I've had a small patio garden for the past few years though and am slowly developing my plant growing skills. And I have discovered one specific type of plant that can handle the abuse I throw at it. One which can bounce back from a few days (or even a week) of being completely forgotten. And that plant is:

Leafy Greens.

Whether it's lettuce, kale, swiss chard, or some other kind of green, I've found that these bad boys are so much lower maintenance than even the lowest maintenance of fruiting plants. They are, dare I say it, easy to grow. They require much fewer resources than do fruiting plants, all their resources go directly into the leaves that you eat so they're less demanding. This also includes herbs! Basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, peppermint, etc. are also surprisingly easy to grow (i.e. relatively hard to kill).

Lettuce and Herb Garden - The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow According To Someone With A Black Thumb
My patio garden set-up from 2016. I had so much lettuce growing that it was overcrowding! Even my kitty, Khaleesi, was impressed.
Herb Garden - The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow According To Someone With A Black Thumb
In addition to lettuce I had peppermint, basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, and dill.

I also have had success with a few fruiting plants, although not nearly to the extent that I've had success with leafy greens. Three specific plants I've had luck with are: hot peppers, tomatillos, and bush green beans (as opposed to beans which need a trellis to grow up on). I didn't have high yields with any of these but they grew quite well by my standards and produced enough for me to take pictures of to brag about to my friends and family!

Hot Pepper Yield - The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow According To Someone With A Black Thumb
Hot peppers! I think I may have cheated and bought this as a plant and didn't start it from seed though.

Bush Green Beans - The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow According To Someone With A Black Thumb
My green bean plants made enough beans for me to use them as a side dish two or three times last summer. Not too shabby for someone with a black thumb.

Three types of fruiting plants that are supposedly easy which I have tried to grow and had no luck with were tomatoes, strawberries, and zucchinis. These were all things that my green-thumbed gardening friends were able to grow HUGE bounties of (they had so much of these that they were literally giving them away to anyone who would take them). And yet I just couldn't get them to grow. My strawberry plant developed a few flowers but no strawberries (to be fair, it may have been in shock at having been potted from out of a garden). My cherry tomato plants grew maybe two tomatoes all summer. And my zucchini plants barely even flowered. Granted that was the summer before last so perhaps my skills have improved enough for me to give these "easy" plants another chance.

The biggest lessons I've learned during my gardening journey though are that everyone and anyone can garden, even if you suck at growing plants! You just need to follow the guidelines on the seed packet for when to plant it (plant it too early and it'll freeze, plant it too late and it'll wither from the heat) and then try really hard to remember to water it. And remember, pick leafy greens or herbs for your first garden because even my black thumb was able to make them grow.

The Easiest Edible Plants To Grow According To Someone With A Black Thumb

Want to learn more about gardening for beginners? Check out this illustrated guide on the topic:

Do you have a green thumb? Leave me your best recommendations and gardening tips down below. I'm working hard on improving my gardening skills and want to get a little better each year so every little tip helps me expand my gardening knowledge.

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