Living Off Grid Guide

What Should You Plant?

Cantaloupes from my first garden.

Cantaloupes from my first garden.

(When Stephen was a toddler he ate a stink bug.  Ewww!)

In my first garden I planted, cucumber, cantaloupe, tomatoes, green beans, onions, Greek basil, oregano, and jalapeños.  It was almost too much, but it was a great first step.

When I chose what to plant, I look at what I buy and what I like to eat.  If there is something you love to eat, you may want to try to grow that first.


Start Small

Each type of plant has its own soil, sunlight and watering preferences.  In addition, each type of plant has hundreds of varieties.  As a beginning gardener it can be over whelming.  Start small!  I suggest you start with 8 or less kinds of plants.  At the bottom is a list of plants I suggest you start with.


Keep the Harvest in Mind

If you are planting to harvest and eat it fresh then you are going to choose plants like the ones listed above.  If you are planting with the goal of harvesting for winter dry storage, you’ll plant more onions, potatoes, beans, garlic, winter squash, carrots and beets.  If you plan on canning your harvest you may consider planting tomatoes, onions, beets, green beans, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes.

Know Your Zone

In other words know what your weather is like.  How hot does it get?  How cold does it get?  What is your elevation?  How much humidity do you have?  All of these things should be considered when choosing what to plant in your garden.   Before you buy seeds or plants find out what their tolerances are.  Many times you can check with a local nursery for tips on what grows well.  Here are three climate zone services that will help you get an idea of what your area is like.


Ask Your Neighbor

Most places have a gardening club or society.  You may want to ask them what they have had success with.  In addition you may find a mentor that can help you get started.

Each state has a university extension office that has a wealth of knowledge and resources on what grows well in your state.  Here is a link to help you find your state extension office.


How Much

For your first garden I suggest two or three of each plant to start with.  That way if you have enough to get some experience, but not to many plants that you get overwhelmed.  In addition if you loose one or two plants, it won’t be a complete loss.  Then keep track of what you needed less of/more of.  That way, in future years you will know if you need to plant more or less.


Good Beginner Plants

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Radishes
  • Zucchini
  • Squashes
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pumpkin
  • Basil 
  • Oregano


Do me a favor.  Leave a comment to let me know what you planted in your first garden?









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Header image - "Farm in Upper Hanover by Montgomery County Planning Commission"