Mint leaves

Easy-to-grow useful plants are an important part of lazy gardening, making it easy for people lacking the time, skill or interest in gardening to still reap the benefits of personal food growing.

These can be cultivated with or without land. For people living in an apartment, a pot or two of herbs can add to their experience of eating with very little effort, and a fruit vine can grow up a makeshift trellis, while those with more space can grow a wider variety of food.

Food and more[edit | edit source]

In most cases, "useful plants" are food plants. However, some plants may be useful for

One of the principles of permaculture is that every plant should have multiple uses (at least 3? Is this the same as "Stacking Functions"?[verification needed])

The uses provided by plants may not providing substantial energy in food (such as bananas, or potatoes) - they may provide other functions, like:

  • herbs, which add a lot of flavor and pleasure to the experience of eating, make simple and healthy food taste better (which can save money through buying more simple, basic foods rather than pre-prepared flavored foods), are best used fresh from the garden, and are best available on a whim, rather than having to plan and buy ahead.
  • insect repellents: some herbs also repel insects.
  • shade: under a fruit trees can be a great place to sit, especially in summer.
  • companion plants: This is the belief/principle that certain plants grow better together.
  • enriching the soil, through nitrogen fixation, organic matter or encouraging soil organisms

How easy, exactly?[edit | edit source]

There are many plants which can simply be:

  • be planted as seeds, or as seedlings from a community or commercial seedling nursery or a community seedling sharing program.[1]
  • mulched
  • watered occasionally or not at all
  • harvested

Thus they will be resistant to most serious pests and diseases as long as they have their basic needs met.

Examples[edit | edit source]

The best examples will vary according to climate, but some suggestions include:

  • Many of the easiest plants to grow are in the gourd family:
    • Chayote fruit, shoots, young leaves and tubers; tropical and warm temperate climates.
    • Winter squash/pumpkins, fruit, (leaves and shoots of some or all species? Are the flowers edible?); tropical[verification needed] and temperate climates.
    • Summer squash (e.g. zucchinis, button squash); fruit and flowers; temperate.
    • Watermelons
  • Fruit trees - some are very hardy and require very little maintenance after planting:
    • Mangoes, fruit; tropical (with lots of moisture around the flowering season[verification needed] but not in the late fruiting season).
  • Vines - these can be allowed to climb, and can require little maintenance.
    • Grapes, fruit & leaves; temperate climates.
    • Passionfruit fruit (& are the flowers edible?); tropical and temperate.
    • Tamarillo, fruit, temperate.[2]

For more helpful information, specific pages need to be developed on easy-to-grow plants by climatic zone & rainfall patters.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. I don't think I've ever heard of community or commercial seedling nursery or community seedling sharing programs, but it seems like a good idea to me, as part of promoting urban agriculture in a community - especially the sharing programs. --~~~~
  2. I've heard they're easy, but don't know. Note that these comments can be removed once the information has been improved/corrected. --~~~
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Authors Chris Watkins
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related subpages, pages link here
Aliases Easy-to-grow useful plants, Easy-to-grow plant
Impact 941 page views
Created September 28, 2008 by Chris Watkins
Modified April 4, 2024 by Kathy Nativi
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