07 November 2012

Ten Great Vegetables for Home Vegetable Gardens

It’s sometimes recommended that you don’t try to grow vegetables that are readily available at your local supermarket.  If a particular vegetable is inexpensive, you might want to skip growing it and just purchase it. 

Of course, it can be difficult to find good quality in some types of vegetables, so if there is a big difference in quality, that could be a great reason for growing that type.

Tomatoes – Although technically a fruit, its savory nature leads to this little beauty being considered a vegetable by most people.  Tomatoes found in stores are usually picked nearly green and then ripened artificially. 

This is done to ensure they are tough enough to survive shipping without being smashed, and so they last longer on the shelves.  Since tomato quality can be really poor in stores, this is a very good choice.  Tomatoes are the most popular choice for vegetable gardeners, because they probably have the most noticeable difference over store bought.

Lettuce – Although iceberg lettuce doesn’t vary that much from store to home, leaf lettuces and other fancy lettuces can taste much sweeter and crisper if grown at home.  Plus, exotic lettuces can often be very expensive. Lettuce is one of the easiest of all the vegetables to grow. Grow it in the garden, in pots, in bags, even in guttering on a fence.

Peas – Peas can be very hard to find fresh.  Canned peas are often mushy, and although frozen peas are certainly better than canned, they still pale in comparison to fresh peas.  Tiny baby peas are sweet, delicate, and delicious, making them well worth the effort. Peas grow easily from seed and are a nice crop for children to look after so they can eat them straight off the vine.

Carrots – Store bought carrots are often woody, tough, and bitter.  Even organic carrots often carry a strong bitterness caused by being kept at temperatures that are too cool for too long.  Fresh carrots are generally very sweet and delicious. Grow carrots from seed, not seedlings. Root vegetables don't like to be disturbed. Try the cute little round carrots or one of the coloured varieties to keep the family interested.

Radishes – Radishes are cheap and easy to find in stores, but most store bought radishes are already turning pithy.  If you’ve ever bitten into a radish that was dry and spongy inside, you’ll understand how bad pithy radishes are.  Fresh radishes are delightful and grow easily and quickly - in about six weeks you'll be picking sweet baby radishes!

Asparagus – Fresh asparagus is often ridiculously expensive, and canned asparagus is mushy and horrible!  The only way to get affordable asparagus that isn’t mushy and bland is to grow it yourself. Unfortunately asparagus isn't a quick crop, it takes a few years to get a decent return on your investment, but once the crowns are established they'll give for years.

Capsicums – Capsicum in stores are often shriveled and pathetic.  Plus, capsicum that aren’t the standard green can often be very expensive.  My local store has sold red capsicums for as much as $2.99 each, which is crazy!  Grow your own and save money.

Cucumbers – Store bought cucumbers are often bitter and dry.  If you’ve ever had a dried out, semi-hollow cucumber, you’ll understand the importance of growing your own!

Corn – Sweet corn is a delight to eat when it’s freshly picked.  Corn is extremely sensitive to being off the stalk.  Once it’s been off the stalk for 6 hours, it starts to deteriorate rapidly.  You’ve never had corn until you’ve eaten it cooked fresh.


  1. I grow cucumbers minnie one for the first time last year as I have 2 small raised gardens and I had so many cucumbers and tomatoes I didnt have to buy any all summer and the capsucm I got a minnie plant 2 years ago and it dies back in the winter but comes away again in the summer and they are just enough for me as I live on my own so I dont by a lot of veg from the supermarket

  2. I would have said that the number one vegetable to grow is pumpkin. Save seeds from any bought pumpkin you eat, toss them into a well-fertilised garden bed (or the compost heap), and let them take over half the back yard! :) Make sure the skin isn't broken and they'll keep for months after harvest.

    Zucchini is also easy, and usually very prolific, although the seeds have to be bought initially. Silverbeet the same, and if it's allowed to go to seed at the end of each season, it can easily keep going for years and years.

    1. This is a list of veggies that I believe are better grown than bought. Pumpkin is readily available all year round, and when in season is very cheap. As it stores well, buying when it's cheap and stockpiling is a better option than the cost of growing. Pumpkins take a lot of water, and a lot of space that can be used to grow other food that gives a better ROI compared to buying from the greengrocer or worse still, supermarket. That includes not only the cropping, but the nutritional value of the crop, the ability to preserve it, and the cost involved (time, water, compost, fertilisers, seeds or seedlings etc.). But if you have the space, they do grow easily. I usually train them up a trellis on the side fence - it keeps them contained and out of the valuable garden space. I use old net curtains to hold the fruit on the vine once they start developing, otherwise they'd snap off and rot.


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