Well this is of course quite subjective, but here is a list of my top 10 fun things to grow, and a short explanation as to why.
- Sunflowers – Their large seeds are easy to plant and they grow so quickly and easily. Given the right conditions, a fully grown
sunflower will tower over even the tallest person in your family. These impressive flowers are not just a pretty face. They do an excellent job of attracting pollinators to your garden ie bees which in turn will increase the productivity of your garden. Chickens love them. They also look great cut in a vase, or let them mature until the seeds develop and collect them for the next planting.
- Potatoes – You remember as a kid picking a lucky dip prize. It was the unknown and the anticipation that was almost better than the actual prize…well that’s a bit what it feels like growing potatoes, only the prize is also awesome. You can see all the vines on top but you just don’t know what is going on under the ground. Finally that day comes where you put your fork in and dig up treasure.
- Pumpkins – Pumpkin vines have this magical ability of turning anyone’s yard into a scene from Harry Potter. They ramble and take over and you just never know how big the pumpkins are going to get.
- Zucchini – Zucchinis are fun because they are just so productive and quite a dramatic looking plant. It is also marvellous how you check them one day and a zucchini will be the length of your hand…the next it can be twice as long and twice as thick.
- Corn – Easy to grow, and it seems to get taller before your eyes…then there is the guessing game, when will the corn be ready and what will it look like? Finally you peel back its blanket and you find neat rows of golden pearls ready for you to have for dinner.
Again this is a fun one for kids.
- Carrots – They can be disappointing if you plant into the wrong kind of soil (ie clay/rocky) and all you end up with is stunted knobbly little things. If you have planted right, it is so rewarding to head out to the veggie patch and pull a few carrots for dinner…again there is that element of surprise or the unknown, because you don’t know how long they will be. If you grow multi-coloured heirloom carrots its even better!!
- Strawberries – Natures sweets. If they survive birds, slugs and small children, and you get to pick some of your very own super sweet, perfectly ripe straw berries, it’s the ultimate gardeners reward for working in the garden. Heirloom varieties are nothing like the hard tasteless varieties found in supermarkets a real delicacy that can only be experienced by those who grown them.
- Passionfruit – When you see your vine break out into bloom, it is the promise of fruit to come. Vines can be extremely productive within their first year and can produce 100’s of fruit. It would be hard to get the same productivity from a newly planted fruit tree. They love to run and climb, and will make good use of any fence, even in the smallest backyard.
- Peas – Again, easily grown, and the hunt for the bulging pods is part of the experience. Then of course you have to shell the peas and if you have children, you will have plenty of willing helpers. Don’t be surprised if none make it to the table though, fresh peas are wonderfully sweet and crisp compared to the frozen kind, and tend to disappear as they are shelled. They make fantastic after school/lunchbox snacks.
- Heirloom tomatoes – Not those boring hybrids. Planting a mixture of heirlooms means you can end up with a mixture of green stripy, yellow, red, orange, black, pear shaped, heart shaped, egg shaped, grape sized, pea sized or softball sized tomatoes on your plate. Each variety offers something a little different, and like wine, each has its own bouquet that can be savoured and enjoyed.