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:
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!
MATTHEW T. STALLBAUMER
For a full report on the best crops where you live,
click on your region below:
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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