The Best Crops for Your Garden

 

The Best Crops for Your Garden 

WALTER CHANDOHA
 

April/May 2009

Plan your most successful garden ever by using crops that naturally thrive where you live. 

By Barbara Pleasant

 

Last fall, we hatched what has turned out to be a terrific idea: a national survey to rate North America’s most productive garden crops. We invited thousands of our readers who grow food gardens to rate a list of 70 crops, and with more help from members of Seed Savers Exchange, we amassed groundbreaking, firsthand regional advice from hundreds of gardeners from British Columbia to Boca Raton.

The online survey covered a lot of ground by asking four questions about everything from asparagus to sweet corn to watermelon:

  • How easy is it to grow?
  • How much do you like to eat it?
  • Does it make good use of the time and space it requires?
  • How easy is it to store?

The following regional “Top 10 Crops” revealed by the survey (based on all four criteria) will give beginners a great start. However, they won’t fill up most gardens, so our report also covers “pet” crops: veggies that people want with such passion that they’re willing to take extra measures to help them grow. The survey also identified minor-league veggies like arugula that are not widely grown, but get uniformly high ratings from those who grow them.

We hope you find fresh, helpful guidance in these initial results from the first Mother Earth News National Garden Crops Survey. May your 2009 garden be your most efficient, bountiful and delicious ever!

 

 


The National Top 25 Crops

  1. Garlic
  2. Bush snap bean
  3. Pole snap bean
  4. Slicing tomato
  5. Cherry tomato
  6. Paste tomato
  7. Potato
  8. Snow/snap pea
  9. Shallot
  10. Shell pea
  11. Scallion
  12. Chard
  13. Dry soup bean
  14. Sweet pepper
  15. Rhubarb
  16. Summer squash
  17. Spinach
  18. Hot pepper
  19. Carrot
  20. Winter squash
  21. Beet
  22. Kale
  23. Sweet corn
  24. Collards
  25. Radish

 


Easiest to Grow

  1. Radish
  2. Chard
  3. Bush snap bean
  4. Rhubarb
  5. Cherry tomato

 

 


Most Wanted

  1. Slicing tomato
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Cherry tomato
  4. Garlic
  5. Asparagus

 


Best Use of Time and Space

  1. Scallion
  2. Lettuce
  3. Chard
  4. Cherry tomato
  5. Radish

 


Easiest to Store

  1. Garlic
  2. Onion
  3. Potato
  4. Shallot
  5. Dry soup bean

 


Gardening regions 

MATTHEW T. STALLBAUMER
 

Regional Top Crops

For a full report on the best crops where you live,
click on your region below:

North Central & Rockies
Maritime Canada & New England
Pacific Northwest
Southwest
Central/Midwest
Southern Interior
Gulf Coast
Mid-Atlantic 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Join Our Gardening Advisory Group

Our online survey will stay open on our website all summer, so please chime in. We especially need input from gardeners who grow grains or minor crops such as celeriac and amaranth. We are also planning more gardening surveys and have set up a special Gardening Advisory Group, where you can participate in the current survey and/or sign up for future surveys.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to grow, the next challenge is to keep everything on schedule. To help you double-check planting dates and pick up tips from fellow gardeners in your area, we’ve set up regional What to Plant Now guides.

— Barbara Pleasant and Cheryl Long 

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