Dead Easy Edibles
Herbs & spices
Herbs are wonderful to grow in the garden. They’re dead easy requiring little to no maintenance, attract beneficial insects and are a much nicer alternative to the dried out, wilted herbs available in the shops. Keep them well watered during their first summer than you can pretty much forget about them. Did you know their flowers are also edible.
I’m talking about those drought hardy (usually Mediterranean) herbs that produce year after year without the need to resow seed. Think… rosemary, oregano, thyme (lots of varieties) and mints (including lemon balm).
Self seeding / propagating herbs
- Arugular / Wild rocket: like shop bought rocket only spicier.
- Basil: protect while young then leave to its own devices. Let it go to seed and you’ll have basil next summer.
- Borage: very pretty, edible blue flowers. Young leaves are also edible (taste like cucumber) but can be spiky.
- Chives: regular onion flavoured chives and garlic chives for a mild garlic flavour.
- Coriander: doesn’t have a long season but it self-seeds for more plants. Planting in part shade makes it crop longer.
- Mint: all mints grow easily in damp conditions. Watch it doesn’t get out of hand
- Nasturtiums: similar taste to rocket with a hint of mustard.
- Parsley: lasts 2 years and self seeds. Flowers are a favourite of lady beetles and lacewings.
Bulbs & rhizomes
Bulbs are the ultimate set and forget plant. Pop them into the grout and leave them to grow away until harvest. An occasional water will be required in very dry weather.
Garlic: Plant individual cloves 5cm deep, in their papery skin from late March to early May. Harvest around November when half the foliage has died back. Garlic stores well for about 6 months in a cool dark place. Keep your biggest cloves for replanting next season. Growing garlic guide.
Ginger: Plant about 5cm deep from September to October. Ginger will grow through the Summer and be ready to dug up late Autumn/early Winter. Leave some in the ground and you won’t have to plant the following year. Store excess clean and dry ginger in the freezer and grate as required.
Low maintenance fruit
Cane berries: Raspberries, blackberries, youngberries, boysenberries – As long as you cut last years fruiting canes back to ground level in Winter and keep in a contained bed (they are very vigorous) they will give you fruit for years to come with no other maintenance.
Citrus: Lemons, oranges, limes, mandarins. Citrus do experience some pest and disease problems but are usually tough enough to get through it with little to no human intervention, whilst still producing lots of fruit.
- Asparagus: harvest from 3rd year for next 15-20 years
- Rhubarb: harvest from 2nd year for next 15-20 years
- Perpetual spinach: harvest from first season
Silverbeet: when harvesting, leave plant in the ground and pick outer leaves as required and it will keep producing all year. 2 plants enough for a family.