The busy season in my garden began at the same time as my morning sickness this spring. I had big plans for filling up the garden plot my husband and I rent, but when it came time to start planting my much-anticipated fennel, all I really wanted to do was sit in a lawn chair and eat crackers. Some of our gardening plans were scuppered but we’ve still managed to plant and harvest a healthy batch of produce, and we’re particularly pleased with a few of our no-fail favorites that provide huge yields with little work—best bets for a garden manned by one capable adult and one slightly whiny, mostly unhelpful adult.
- Potatoes—Before I met my husband, I didn’t know anyone who grew potatoes at home. I mistakenly thought it must be a difficult crop to grow. We grew five varieties this year, and the hardest part was deciding which potatoes we wanted to grow. It’s important to choose blight-resistant strains when possible and to protect the plants from frost, but once the seed potatoes are in the ground, they require very little maintenance and yield about 15 potatoes for each one planted.
- Squash—Winter squash are my favorite plants to grow and summer squash are a close second. We start all of our squash inside and then transplant them outside to 3′ x 3′ squares of black plastic, eliminating the need to weed and making them perfect plants for pregnant people to maintain. No pests (at least in Scotland) bother squash and the plants are extremely prolific. We’re currently eating zucchini every week and we’re waiting on spaghetti squash and pumpkins.
- Berry Bushes—The only difficult thing about berry bushes are that they generally take at least a year to establish. We inherited raspberry and red currant bushes from the previous owner of our garden and last year we planted two gooseberry bushes. All the bushes require to thrive are a bit of pruning in the winter and perhaps some fertilizer. We tied up our raspberry bushes in the early spring, but a wind storm broke all the strings. We never got around to retying them, which makes it more likely that we scratch up our arms when we pick the berries, but doesn’t seem to reduce the crop.
What are your no-fail garden favorites?