This is another one that seems obvious, except SO MANY OF US AREN’T DOING IT. I think many gardeners are guilty of the occasional rote-planting of something because it always grew in family gardens growing up, and we feel like it’s not a garden without it. This is silly. I choose vegetables based on a complex and ever-shifting array of considerations, including food yield compared to how much space it takes up (SORRY CABBAGE, YOU’RE OUT), how good the garden-grown variety is compared to what you buy at the store (Hello tomatoes! Hi, strawberries! You guys are awesome) and how expensive the same vegetable is when bought elsewhere (when you consider this, growing potatoes feels like a losing proposition compared to the farmer’s market, but that’s just my opinion).
But most importantly: What will you actually eat? What will you get excited about going outside to grab right before dinner? What is the easiest to pick and snack on? What can go in your lunch bag easily, and better yet, what will you be happy to find in there? If you love homemade salsa, then you should grow nothing but peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. If making pickles is your jam (little food preservation joke there!), then grow a football field’s worth of cucumbers. If you’re a superhero and you only eat superfoods (that is how that works, right?), then grow acai berries and kale. It doesn’t matter. There’s no final gardening exam, and you can’t flunk if you don’t have all the categories represented.
So I grow: tomatoes, greens, peppers, pumpkins
Not: cabbage, beets, turnips, or squash