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Your Easiest Crops?

Posted by digit ID/WA (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 25, 11 at 11:28

I did a little thinking about this (worked hard to come up with an easiest answer ;o). What are the easiest things I grow? As we begin thinking about next year's garden, maybe it makes sense to suggest a few. Annual veggies, perennial veggies, annual flowers, perennial flowers . . . would you like to cast some votes??

First off, cosmos are an easy addition to the flower garden. They grow from seed or self-sow and transplant easily when they are young.

I don't feel that the lilies in my front yard require much to show up each year and make a show. They are sometimes burned by a late frost, tho'. I also need to travel around and pull the stamens out of the flowers when they open. Otherwise, they make kind of a mess out of themselves and aren't pretty for very long.

I have to think about bug threats with some things. So, can't really vote for one that I have to spray to keep the bugs off. Many of my annual vegetables I have to use an organic pesticide on at least some years, some seasons.

What must be the easiest for me to grow without doing that - green beans - are loved by the rabbits! I suppose that despite Bugs and bugs showing up in my garden, carrots are one thing that I never spray. However, rocks make for terrible crookedness and, I think, they are often attacked by those microscopic root nematodes!

I suppose I could vote for onions - which I don't spray. Still, it would only be the sets that are almost impossibly easy. Growing from seed, transplanting tiny seedlings, weeding, and thinning means quite a bit of work.

Sweet corn? I almost can't remember the last time I had so much of a cornworm problem that I had to do anything about them. The aphids, I just shrug off. Using an organic fertilizer, I only need to get it out there for side dressing once. Because of its height, corn is a little difficult to water and then a wind storm can blow it down but that doesn't usually happen. So, here is a vote for sweet corn in my annual veggie garden.

No vote for the mints -- even tho' I have a number in the yard. They are a bit invasive and I don't really care to make any use of them . . . sorry, not really a mint person.

How about perennial chives!?

The chives grow in absolutely the shadiest part of my yard! They really only have sun during the early morning hours of the summer. During a bad snow winter, the snow will slide off my carport and bury them for months.

It takes forever for the ground to thaw around them early in the new season. Still, they are a very early onion crop for me! I very much like them in omelets & scrambled eggs. They can be cut back about the time they flower and be ready for use in sour cream with the potatoes when those are ready for harvest.

Not only do the chives do everything I could hope for in their difficult location -- they also spread. (Maybe they are trying to get out where there is more sun ;o).) However, in my garden, they don't really sneak in amongst other plants so, I can't think of them as being invasive. I've never found them in the lawn grass.

Easiest for you . . ?

Steve


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Nice idea for a topic, Steve!

I agree with your chives recommendation, and will go a step further to include all perennial herbs. I do absolutely nothing for my chives, garlic chives, sage, oregano, thyme, winter savory, French tarragon, and lavender, and they reward me with fresh herbs for cooking all summer and into late fall. I harvested parsley (okay, that one's a biennial), sage, and thyme for my Thanksgiving meal yesterday, and we are a good 6 weeks past our first frost. You gotta love that!!!

Perennial vegetables - the only one I grow is rhubarb, and the grasshoppers decimate the leaves every summer, but since I only harvest the stalks, I don't bother to do anything to stop them, so technically it would be low maintenance. I keep trying to figure out a spot in the yard for an asparagus patch, but haven't come up with one yet.

In the annual vegetable category, I would normally say carrots, though I did have to replant several times this year. Not because the seeds were uncooperative, but I had stray cats digging in the veggie bed this spring. Bought some chicken wire, and hopefully can put carrots back on the easy to grow - low maintenance list again next year.

Other than maybe lettuce, most of the other vegetables have good years and bad, but none are consistently easy - no care.

In the annual flower category, I'd have to vote for petunias. Wintersow them every year, always get good germination, and they are one of the first things to bloom, and keep going all the way until the first hard freeze.

There's also California poppies, which are easy to the point of being invasive. They pop up between cracks in the concrete, and in middle of other plants. I love their cheerful color, but I'm feeling much less guilty these days for ripping them out when they pop up where I don't want them!

The first year I grew Calendulas, the grasshoppers would not leave them alone, but this year, I grew quite a few plants, and they were one of my best bloomers, all summer long.

Perennial flowers .... hmmm ... my first thought was Gaillardia, the dwarf Goblin comes back reliably for me, but I have lost several of the Oranges & Lemons, and the Burgundy is a sprawler. There's some new dwarf ones, Arizona Red Shades, and Arizona Apricot that I'd like to give a try though.

Solidago would make the list for being no maintenance, but it's bloom season is extremely short, a week at best.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) comes back thicker each year, has a fairly long bloom time, and requires no maintenance, other then cutting off the seed pods, before they explode with fluff all over the yard.

Daylilies, I know they are supposed to be divided every so often, but so far I haven't done it with any of mine, and they are more prolific each year. Sure each bloom only lasts a day, but there are so many of them, and they are so gorgeous. The only problem I have is an occasional deer nibbling, and grasshopper damage.

Dianthus (Sweet William) - when I lived on the Front Range, the rabbits would mow them down regularly, but over here, I've only had an occasional deer nibbling over the winter months. Bloom time is fairly long, and they don't seem bothered by any pests.

Most of the other perennials in my garden have had issues of one sort or another. Have grown several different perennial Coreopsis plants, and they tend to get root rot over the winter, and come back smaller each year. Groundcover Sedums love it here, but the deer love them too, 'nuf said! Echinacea - I'm sure the old fashioned purpurea would do fine here, but have had lots of problems with the newer hybrids. Won't waste any more money on them! Heuchera - tried many of them, look great the first year, and either don't come back, or come back smaller each year. Rudbeckia - I'm sure the plain old Black Eyed Susans would thrive here, but the Irish Eyes reverted back to a brown eye for me after the first year, and the Cherry Brandy was one that shrank from one year to the next. I'd list them as a very short lived perennial, or maybe grow them as an annual.

Achillea - grows very well here, but the taller ones have a tendency to flop, and the center will die out if not divided regularly.

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

I'll think on this topic some more, and maybe revisit it later.

Bonnie


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Bonnie,

That all looks very helpful!

Yeah, daylilies. I have one "clump" that has beautiful golden blooms - nicer than Stella (IMO) and, it's a tall plant. Haven't divided the thing in 15 years! It is obviously struggling from not having any new soil to grow in after all that time.

Steve


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

My favorite easy perennial plant is the peony. Next are the hardy roses and mugho pines. All of these thrive on just a shovel of manure in the spring as they come out of dormancy.
My easy vege this year was climbing spinach which I seed onto a large pot.
And wildflowers such as Calif poppy, other poppies, Calif. bluebells,
phacelia tanecetifolia, etc. are easy.
I did potatoes in grow bags which was easy.
Caroline


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Sand bur, AKA:puncture vine, AKA: goat head


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Convolvulus arvensis var. 'Fairy Bondage' does really well.

I'll go with:
peonies - surprisingly easy to divide and spread around
california poppies, which, with water and decent soil, are spectacular all summer long
Salvia 'may night' and 'blue hill' are spectacular, bloom all summer, and spread
daffodils - deer / rodent proof - these may need separating after about 8 years, but we'll see....

Veggies - with minimum care and inputs, swiss chard is self-seeding and needs an occasional thinning, heirloom kale, pole beans, 'evergreen' bunching onions.


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

I've had trouble getting California poppies started, CAroline. I thought it was because I'm so far from CAlifornia and there you are in CAnada! It must be me . . . I see them around in sidewalk cracks!

See what you did, Kenny P? David has drifted in the bindweed direction!

Can't vote for the Swiss chard, David. I'm fairly sure that it is both the slugs AND the earwigs that love it. If they miss a leaf, the leaf-miners get that one!

Steve


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

I'm growing "Blonde de Lyon" chard, some French heirloom variety - thing is a weed. Its very mild. If they don't dry out too much over the winter and die, they come roaring back in the early spring for several cuttings, then try to go to seed in July or so - so I whack them off at the base, and then they grow leaves again - I let some go to seed a couple years ago, and collected about a lb of seed with out even trying, the rest self-seeded.

I don't have much problem with bugs - earwigs by the bazillion I got, but they seem to prefer munching on the grass clippings and compost mulch.

If you separate the plants out to about 2 feet apart, and they have good soil, the leaves get huge - will easily hide a basketball. But at that size, they get a bit tough.

It may well be the variety - the other chard varieties I've tried were nothing to brag about.


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Someone once told me that the field that our subdivision was built on, used to be a sugar beet farm. Maybe that explains the serious leaf miner problems I have growing chard, beets, and spinach? So why don't they bother the lettuce?


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Mine has got to be cilantro. Planted it once some years ago, it self seeds, we pick quite aggressively when it is producing and then let it go to seed. Most years we get two crops but this years fall crop is just now sprouted. Still see hundreds of seeds on the ground so am pretty sure we will still have a spring crop.

Most everything grew pretty easy this year. The corn has been great once I started planting 8 stalks in a 2 1/2 ft. circle. Had some bug damage this year but still plenty enough for the table. So many cucumbers we could not give them all away (more pickles than we know what to do with- 11 gallons of dills alone).

Here is a link that might be useful: Late Summer Garden


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Orach is probably the easiest food I grow since I don't plant it, I don't water it, but it comes up every year. I just harvest it in the spring/early summer and let some go to seed so I have it the following year.

The easiest perennials I have are the sedum and sempervivum on the pet graves way in the back of the yard. They grow and bloom without me hardly ever thinking about them. Occasionally I water them, but there have been years when I didn't. They do better if I do remember to water them, but they don't die if I forget. The upright sedum such as Maestro and Xenox are gorgeous in the fall

Cosmos and Calendula are probably the easiest annuals I have since I haven't planted them in years but they keep coming back. They do seem to need some water, but that's about it.


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

I had a good garden last season.
Some of my easiest annual veggies that I grow every year:
Snap peas, lettus,spinich, Basil, Cucumber, green onions, summer (scalloped white) and winter squash (last season (spaghetti--this year trying Potimarron), Sugar Pie pumpkin.
Roma Tomatoes, Minisotta midge Cantalopes, Blacktail Mountain Watermelon.

Trying so many new veggies this coming season.
Perinials: Asparagus, Oregano(returned for several years),raspberry.


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

My easiest flowers are snapdragons. They grow like crazy, are perennials in my yard, and self seed everywhere. (until this last big snow, I had green snapdragon plants all over still.)

My herb garden is really easy too. My huge oregano, sage, thyme, mint, and chives only require that I hack them down once a year in the spring. The parsley and dill self seed everywhere! Before the snow came I had about 25 2 inch parsley babies volunteering in their area. I was thinking about digging a couple to bring into the house, but too late! They are under 8 inches of snow now.

This year I am going to be rearranging and trying some new things due to an enormous old Chinese Elm tree that we are cutting down. It's semi-regrettable removal should increase my main gardens sun, giving me a lot more full sun area. It is also going to give me a sunnier side yard instead of a deep dark one! Thinking about a pot garden for the side yard this year!

Oh the possibilities!


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Sorry all, been really busy between work, school, 4-H, my mother, the kids, DH, livestock and somewhere in there is life, I think...

Easiest crops last year were the cherry tomatoes. They were quite prolific all last year. Next was the green tomatoes. The larger types didn't turn red before frost, but still ripened as I was trying to find green tomato canning recipes which meant at the end I was trying to find recipes that I had everything for to use the red tomatoes UGHHH! Sorry squirrel.

Then there was the squash, you name it, it was everywhere: Zucchini, Yellow crookneck, butternut, pan, one ball, eight ball and zucchetta rampicante-tromboncino which sets some huge fruits. It put the infamous "bat zucchini" to shame!!

Beans did pretty well this year as well. Not as big of harvest as I would have liked, but nothing to snort at either.

Potatoes were pretty good. The beetles did not even find them this year. Don't know if it was the onions I sacrificed to protect them, the raised beds, mulch or a combo, but from the 6 pounds I planted, I harvested around 40-50 pounds.

Working on this years plan already. Hoping the snow we have gotten will mean a better year.

Billie


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

Horribly windy day . . .

I was just reading over this thread and thinking. Earlier, I was looking at some seedling pictures, too. ~ sob ~ Will spring ever come??

First of all, I'm really looking forward to seeing how the orach is doing! A mother plant is always left in some corner to go to seed. Last year, Mother was right beside the compost pile - I may be sorry for having picked that location! The spinach that will come later in the season just isn't all that much more tender and tasty than the orach. I'm real happy that it is there every spring!

The dandelions and lawn violets will be along soon. Snapdragons will reseed but last year's plants can't survive our winters unless they are right up against the house . . . someone's house. Mine is too shady after the tree to the south leafs-out.

I do look forward to growing spuds each year, now that I've gotten back into that! Every year, I have to hold my breath hoping the potato bugs don't find them. I think it may be because there are so few gardens around in that location. Little disturbed soil so there are few nightshade weeds, also. Out in the bigger garden with the cultivated farmland around it - the ease in which I've grown the potatoes the last few years would probably be lost.

But you know tomatoes . . . ?! Those were in the pictures I was just looking at. I complain about tomatoes every year. Seed is sown 8 or 10 weeks before they are set out. So, I've got another 2 months of growing them than any of the other crops, except peppers (& snapdragons ;o).

I've got to get them thru the leaf stage, flower stage, fruit stage, right up until they are really at the "seed stage!" After all, a sun-ripened tomato is really what is intended. The seeds inside are fully mature by then, or nearly so. (You can't image the level of frustration when I've taken care of a plant thru all the months and have 1 or ZERO ripe fruits at the end of the season!! Maybe you can.)

However, I always have lots of tomatoes by September. Sometimes, I have the early cherries by the 1st week of August! Some varieties have never failed me . . .

I am really looking forward to starting some seeds.

Steve


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RE: Your Easiest Crops?

We don't use any fertilizer or pesticides in our vegetables. We're using basically lasagna method. Easiest, most rewarding veg is chard. We like rainbow lights. It practically grows itself, and continues producing till October.

All herbs grow like weeds. Basil is so delicious and productive.

Sugar Snap Peas are also very easy, once you have something for them to climb on. Delicious, but short production period.

Ground cover: sedums of course. You really don't have to do anything to it if you don't feel like it. Also Oenathera, except it's invasive so that is trouble.

Of course bulbs are easy once established, and irises are wonderful here in Colorado.

Any of those are basically work-free, once they're in the ground.


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