Tired of only growing vegetables or fruit? Want to expand and grow more kinds of edible plants? Here are the different types with links to growing tips.
What edible plants can you grow at home? Everything from vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices and even edible flowers can be grown and made into healthy meals that your whole family can enjoy.
Growing edibles at home provides you with healthier, less expensive and fresher food than what you can get at the grocery store. And you can control what is put on the plants in terms of controlling pests, diseases and weeds.
And it is not that difficult. Read on for information on what you can grow in each category and how.
This is the first thing you probably think about when it comes to growing edible plants at home.
As there is more and more direction towards becoming more sustainable and reducing our impact on our environment, people are re-evaluating their heavy meat-based diets.
There have always been vegetarian, vegan and whole foods, plant-based diets. But those are now becoming more popular as we realize that raising animals for meat is incredibly resource-intensive.
And vegetables can also be used in the landscape, similar to how we use flowers. There are a lot of vegetables that are colourful, such as Swiss chard, lettuces, kales and the fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
For more information on growing vegetables at home, check out these articles:
- Vegetable Gardening For Beginners: 10 Useful Tips To Get Started
- Vegetable Gardening On A Budget: 21 Ways To Save Money When Growing Food
- Vegetable Garden Site Preparation: How To Plan Your Backyard Food Growing Space
- Vegetable Crop Rotation: How To Increase Your Harvests
- Planning A Vegetable Garden For Kids: Make It Fun And Easy
- Free EBook: How Children Can Grow Their Own Fresh Veggies And Fruit
- Row Covers: The Best Way To Protect Your Crops
- Harvesting Vegetables 101: Time To Enjoy The Amazing Abundance
- Quick Tip: Using Vegetable Greens From Your Garden
- Green Smoothies: A Great Way To Use Your Abundance Of Homegrown Greens
- Seed Starting: The Definitive Guide For Beginners
- Blanching Vegetables For Freezing: A Step-By-Step Guide
- Book Review: The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener By Niki Jabbour
- Book Review: The ZERO-MILE Diet By Carolyn Harriot
- Book Review: A YEAR ON THE GARDEN PATH By Carolyn Harriot
And be sure to download the free guide that provides tips on how to go about setting up a raised bed garden step-by-step. It is part of the Homegrown Resources Library:
And for more information of how a plant-based diet works, please check out Plant-Based Gal, a website dedicated to recipes and other useful information of how to transition to a plant-based diet.
There are the staples of course when we think of fruit. Apples, bananas, peaches and berries. But there are so many other varieties of fruit that you may not have thought of or tried growing yourself.
In fact many of the vegetables we eat are actually fruit. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans and peas and even zucchini are considered to be fruit.
I have my own orchard in my urban backyard. Everything from fruit trees to raspberry canes and strawberry towers, even a banana tree! I’ve written more about the specifics of it in this post [post title and link].
The great thing about most fruit bearing plants is that they are perennial. Plant them once and harvest from them year after year without having to plant new ones for quite some time. Even strawberry plants that eventually need to be replaced, create their own runners and baby plants that can be separated from the parents and become new plants that will bear fruit.
Fruit trees and bushes require a bit more care than conventional plants such as vegetables and flowers. Pruning is probably the biggest challenge for most beginners and often is the reason why they don’t take the step to growing fruit.
And fruit trees provide beautiful, fragrant blossoms in spring, shade in summertime and leaves in fall that can be used for mulch.
For more information on growing fruit at home, check out these articles:
- Urban Orchard: How To Get Amazing Fruit Harvests Every Year
- Tree Banding: How To Easily Increase Fruit Yields [+ Video]
- Fruit Tree Fertilizer: How To Make And Apply Homemade Fertilizer [+ Video]
- How To Prune Fruit Trees To Improve Your Harvest Next Summer
- Prune Raspberries: How To Get Better Harvests [+ Video]
- Harvesting Fruit 101: Time To Enjoy The Amazing Abundance
- How To Make Grape Jelly At Home
- 7 Garden Features You Need To Consider When Buying A House
- Free EBook: How Children Can Grow Their Own Fresh Veggies And Fruit
Herbs can be used for cooking obviously, but also for making teas, infused oils and many more products you can use around the house.
These are probably the easiest to grow. Most herbs do not need too much water which makes it great for busy families.
They grow well in containers, so you can have a bunch of containers in the hotter part of your garden and bring some of the more tender herbs inside a greenhouse or even into the house over winter.
Many herbs are also perennials, so they might die back in winter but come back again in spring when the weather warms up. Herbs such as basil need to be seeded each year, but can also be grown on the kitchen windowsill indoors to enjoy in winter cooking.
Spices and other flavourings
Spices we use often come from exotic lands that have hot temperatures all year. However many spices will also grow in cooler temperatures or with a little help in staying warm throughout their growing season.
Spices and other flavourings do often come from vegetable plants or herbs so there is a bit of overlap with the above. But often these plants are solely grown for the use as spices as opposed to being a main or side dish.
Garlic is a good example of a vegetable that is used as a flavouring and it’s very easy to plant. I have step-by-step instructions in How To Plant Garlic In The Fall For Great Harvests Next Year
And some spices are actually the seeds from herbs such as cilantro (seeds are ground to make coriander).
Note: not all flowers are edible and some are actually poisonous, even if you only use them as decoration on foods. In some cases certain parts of a flower or the plant are edible and other parts are not. If in doubt, do not consume plant material without checking first to ensure it is safe to eat or use as decoration. Use at your own risk.
Flowers are not only attractive in the garden. Edible flowers also can be used to flavour dishes or just used for decoration.
Chive flowers are great to decorate a potato salad where you have used the chives for flavour. Pansies are often used to decorate baked goods and cakes.
Rose petals can be used for teas and rose hips as well to make a tea that is good for boosting Vitamin C levels. Learn more about how to use roses in this post: Why You Should Grow Roses On Your Urban Homestead
And quite a few of the edible flowers can also be used for pest control. Some plants such as marigolds will deter pests and others such as nasturtiums will attract pests so that they don’t go on your food crops and eat them.
There are so many edibles you can grow in your garden. And if you’re concerned about aesthetics, you can still have a beautiful garden with colour and texture.
So have a look in your landscape and see where you can grow edible plants.
If you enjoyed this article, have something to add or have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best!
Tranquil Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC