Author Topic: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?  (Read 10894 times)

jengod

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Gardeners of the Mr. Mustache Forums:

What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden, by which I mean: high yield/value/output without massive gardener inputs?

For us it's probably just Swiss chard, aka silverbeet. These plants are so easy, so beautiful, so prolific, and the food product can be used in many many dishes.

Would love to hear from other Mustachians around the world about what useful plants you grow that just feels like a great garden "investment"!

TN_Steve

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 12:03:26 PM »
Asparagus.  A fair amount of work up front and a short harvesting season, but a 25 year plant....  (Plus, it is like candy if you eat it within minutes of cutting.)

birdie55

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 12:16:10 PM »
In the summer it is tomatoes and zucchini and in the winter it is chard and kale. 

Prepube

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 12:17:34 PM »
Dandelions.  Great in salad, makes wine, jelly, etc.  They just come up and you have to pull them anyway... might as well eat 'em!  http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/04/dandelion-recipes.html
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 12:22:37 PM by Prepube »

Spruit

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 02:34:38 PM »
Raspberries. Very prolific (can be like a weed if you let them go), fresh raspberries cost a pretty penny in the grocery store but a single shrub gives you many many berries for free. And they are much more tasty if eaten directly after picking.

Otherwise, snap peas (expensive when store-bought, but pretty easy to grow) and courgettes (very productive!)

Tris Prior

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 03:48:41 PM »
Greens of all kinds. I've got bucketfuls of it. The nice part for me is just being able to pick off what I am going to eat, rather than buying a whole thing of greens at the store that I can't possibly eat through before it goes bad.

Also, herbs, for the same reason. I'm never able to use an entire bunch of cilantro before it turns brown and soupy, but I can snip off just what I need for the recipe.

Cookie78

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 03:56:59 PM »
Rhubarb. The stuff can't be killed. It needs no care, but I sprinkle a little compost on it each year and water it on occasion anyway.

Beardog

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 04:02:42 PM »
jengod, I have a question.  Do you know whether swiss chard survives winters in the Northeast?  I think I've seen it coming up in my neighbors garden, but I can't believe that it's really that hardy.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2015, 04:07:06 PM »
Depends where you live and how you define yield. In terms of calories, potatoes. In terms of nutrition and ease of growth, probably kale and other cooking greens. In terms of culinary yield (flavor, etc.) definitely my panoply of herbs.

Tieke

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2015, 04:10:11 PM »
For me, zucchinis and kale have been two of my most consistently great crops for minimal effort.  But potatoes are pretty awesome too - a couple of years back when I had more garden space available than I do now, I planted out about 10 seed potatoes and produced enough to supply my potato-habit for 5 months.  And I kind of like the brief digging processes at either end - it's not that much work, but just enough to make me feel like I earned my dinner!

abiteveryday

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2015, 06:49:00 PM »
Probably my blueberries or peaches.     Honorable mention to blackberries, but I don't actually have them in my yard.   They are just literally a zero maintenance weed here in the PacNW, and we take full advantage of the bounty in various alleys etc.

R62

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2015, 08:13:45 PM »
Bang for Your Buck:  strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes.
Second Mention due to Sheer Volume:  zucchini.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2015, 08:29:32 PM »
Just starting out with this, but I'm super excited to see green beans forming on my plants already.

regulator

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2015, 09:51:59 PM »
Lambsquarters.  Since I have a black thumb, I have turned the former garden into an apiary, but I still get to pick and eat this stuff.  It also rampantly grows wild.

Lyssa

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2015, 09:57:10 PM »
Leaf beet. 

milesdividendmd

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2015, 11:01:59 PM »
Mint. That wonderful perennial weed!


pbkmaine

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2015, 03:17:10 AM »
Banana peppers, green onions and assorted herbs, as well as celery from the cut-off bottoms of celery purchased at the grocery store. So wonderful to just nip out the front door and cut a few sprigs of something for dinner. The butterflies love the herb garden, too. My dill was home to a large family of black swallowtail caterpillars earlier this spring.

Trifele

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2015, 05:39:42 AM »
I second Erica's comment about "it depends."  In terms of amount of work vs. calories you get -- potatoes win hands down.  For just a few hours of work planting and then hilling and harvesting, we get enough potatoes to feed a family of four for a year.  Those things are miracles. 

In terms of amount of work vs. nutrition, probably kale.  We have a large kale patch every year.  It is super easy to grow and keeps producing all summer long into the fall (cut-and-come-again).  We grow extra and freeze it for use all winter long. My favorite variety is Red Russian.  It is delicious and incredibly hardy.  Adore it.

@Beardog re: your question about chard.  Chard is a biennial plant, not a perennial.  However, almost everyone treats chard like an annual and harvests it the same year it is planted.  The exception is when you overwinter it to let it go to seed in its second year, to collect the seeds. (You can also eat it that second year, but it doesn't taste as good.) Yes -- I have overwintered chard in the northeast and the midwest for seed collection purposes.  In my experience you have to protect the plants in the fall by burying them deeply in leaves or straw.  And -- if the winter wasn't too harsh -- it will send leaves up again for you the next spring, and then make its seeds.   
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 05:46:38 AM by Trifele »

Trifele

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2015, 05:43:34 AM »
Meant to add -- if you mean work input vs. $ value of product -- I think red bell peppers are the most Mustachian thing I grow. 

happy

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2015, 05:49:10 AM »
Mine seems to vary:
This year butternut pumpkin - 2 seeds removed from a purchased pumpkin: grew into 24 pumpkins.
Last year cucumbers - 2or 3 seeds into a complete glut of Cukes
Silverbeet is a winner most years. But I've never overwintered it - it seems to die off in autumn even though we don't get frost. And I mean die, I've tried leaving it in the ground to see if it will come back but mostly it shrivels and rots away.

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2015, 07:17:30 AM »
Purslane. It's cultivated in Latin America and the Mediterranean region but is mostly seen as a weed in the U.S. However, it's one of the most nutritious vegetables around. If you find some growing, wait until it has seed pods and then scatter them around in a spot where you'd want it to grow. We did this last year, and it's everywhere now. Cost=$0.

Rural

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2015, 07:19:48 AM »
Blueberry, blackberry, elderberry, hickory nut, black walnut. But I don't grow those; they grow themselves. Oh, and persimmon and pin cherry. +1 to dandelion, and sorrel.


But of what I grow? The most Mustachian are radishes. Fast, easy, requires almost no space or pampering, and produces three kinds of food (leaves, roots, seed pods).

Spork

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2015, 08:04:00 AM »

For us it's probably berries: blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, blueberries.   We're over run with blackberries this year -- not that I'm complaining. 

A few years back I would also have said asparagus, but gophers have devastated that bed and we barely got a couple of meals from it this year.

JeffC

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2015, 10:24:20 AM »
I live in the deep south, where Okra thrives.  You cannot kill it.  It will thrive in terrible clay soil. Each plant produces 2 pods a day, it costs easily $3-4 per pound IF you can even find it.  Also, I have found Japanese eggplant to be zero maintenance and high production.  Also, those are hard to find in your run of the mill grocery store chain.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2015, 11:04:21 AM »
So far I'd have to vote peas/beans because they're so good when perfectly fresh. Squash of various kinds are also good but much easier to acquire at market.

swick

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2015, 11:32:22 AM »
For us, by far, it is herbs. If we had to buy them in the store we would be paying 1.99-2.99 for a TINY (think 1 sprig) little plastic clam shell box. Herbs are also the fastest way to liven up a dish and add variety to our meals.

scottish

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2015, 12:13:35 PM »
Tomatoes.   It's hard to get tasty tomatoes at the grocery store, so we grow them every year.

Spork

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2015, 12:36:02 PM »
I live in the deep south, where Okra thrives.  You cannot kill it.  It will thrive in terrible clay soil. Each plant produces 2 pods a day, it costs easily $3-4 per pound IF you can even find it.  Also, I have found Japanese eggplant to be zero maintenance and high production.  Also, those are hard to find in your run of the mill grocery store chain.

Color me jealous.   I'm also where it should thrive.  But our super-sandy soil is really prone to getting nematodes.  And it seems that okra is especially susceptible to them.  We usually get a couple of servings of okra before they just can't sustain themselves.

Left

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2015, 02:15:56 PM »
deer :D they eat my strawberries, I eat them

jengod

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2015, 02:43:14 PM »
deer :D they eat my strawberries, I eat them

"Grapes don't mind how cold the winter is, provided the summer is warm enough and there is enough sunshine. They will grow as far north as Suffolk, England. I grew ninety outdoor vines there and got plenty of grapes. The pheasants ate all the grapes, but I ate all the pheasants, so that was all right."
--John Seymour, The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

laughing_paddler

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2015, 07:24:05 PM »
We took out the lilac shrubs (lazy buggers!) in our south-facing alley side of the garage and planted some raspberries. Now we get quarts and quarts of berries, sometimes into Nov. (in MN no less!).

Also, tomatillos might take second place- buy once, never buy again (they are prolific in the volunteer dept.) I make a roasted tomatillo salsa and freeze it; can also use it for enchiladas.

Bob W

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2015, 07:43:17 PM »
Purslane. It's cultivated in Latin America and the Mediterranean region but is mostly seen as a weed in the U.S. However, it's one of the most nutritious vegetables around. If you find some growing, wait until it has seed pods and then scatter them around in a spot where you'd want it to grow. We did this last year, and it's everywhere now. Cost=$0.
+1,  high in heathy omega 3s.  Also consider growing peppers in pots.   You can take them in in the winter.  Prune them back and bamm,  bamm new peppers in April.   Around here you pick them year round.  Two pots yields 1 pepper per day on average.   So about $150 dollars worth of peppers with maybe $25 first year costs.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2015, 07:51:48 PM »
Cucumbers.  They grow like weeds.

Punxsyboy

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2015, 09:35:58 PM »
Figs....I just have to water them (but I have to water everything) & they are prolific producers.  They are also  easy to start new trees from sprouts.

Al1961

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2015, 09:45:04 PM »
Tomatoes - also have more than enough onion/garlic/herbs to lay in a year's supply of marinara and pizza sauce.

horsepoor

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2015, 10:00:01 PM »
This is a hard question to answer, because gardening allows you to have fancy food that a Mustachian might not otherwise buy in the store.  For instance, I wouldn't pay $4 for a bunch of fresh basil, but it's economical to throw down a few seeds and have a never ending supply of fresh basil + pesto.

But with that said:

Spaghetti squash.  I grew one plant last year and got probably 25 squash off of it.  Still have several in storage.

Also agree with potatoes.  I don't hill mine, and also have plants growing from spuds I missed when harvesting in prior years, so other than water, $ + work investment = 0.

In my house in California, the pecan tree was pretty awesome.  Little maintenance, tons of delicious pecans, which are pricey and packed with calories.

Zucchini, because it is notoriously prolific, and also super versatile, can be used as a meat stretcher, hidden in bread and so on.  Some varieties of squash work as both summer and winter squash, making one plant even more useful.

Garlic, because in theory, once you have seed garlic, you never need to buy it again.

Trifele

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2015, 05:23:10 AM »
"Garlic, because in theory, once you have seed garlic, you never need to buy it again."

I agree -- I love using my own seeds/starter plants.  I have kept our potatoes going for several years now by planting the sprouting spuds that overwintered in our basement.  Ditto with kale -- I'm going on five years now with my own saved seed.  Cost = $0.    Our garden gets cheaper and cheaper every year.  Neat.   

dantownehall

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2015, 09:36:51 AM »
I would say lettuce for me.  It's so easy to grow, and bags of salad mix is pretty expensive, especially considering what I grow is organic.

LeRainDrop

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2015, 07:57:24 PM »
I live in a condo and don't think what I have really qualifies as a "garden," but I do have a couple basil plants that I keep in my window, and they have given me plenty of fresh and vibrant leaves over the years.  They grow quickly/easily with just a little water and occasionally rotating the pots in the sunlight.  I absolutely love having this handy whenever I want to throw it into a recipe.

NV Teacher

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2015, 08:08:40 PM »
Purslane. It's cultivated in Latin America and the Mediterranean region but is mostly seen as a weed in the U.S. However, it's one of the most nutritious vegetables around. If you find some growing, wait until it has seed pods and then scatter them around in a spot where you'd want it to grow. We did this last year, and it's everywhere now. Cost=$0.

My 86 year old mother spends a good chunk of her summer trying to get rid of the purslane on our farm.  It will blow her mind to hear that someone actually spreads it on purpose.

Emilyngh

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2015, 08:10:06 PM »
Lettuce!

Grows from seed, lasts months by cutting (assuming there's not a hot spell), and we eat a ton.

zinnie

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2015, 10:51:57 PM »
Yellow straightneck squash, red russian kale, roma green beans, and a couple of kinds of hybrid tomatoes. Those are the lowest effort/ most prolific for us in a small square-foot-style garden. Other stuff has good and bad years, but I always have excess of those.   

asauer

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2015, 05:43:55 AM »
Blackberries and bell peppers in the summer- those are freaking expensive at the store!  I freeze a bunch of them to use all year

beets and pumpkin in the falls/ winter- both freeze extremely well and are very versatile

pigpen

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2015, 06:06:28 AM »
Purslane. It's cultivated in Latin America and the Mediterranean region but is mostly seen as a weed in the U.S. However, it's one of the most nutritious vegetables around. If you find some growing, wait until it has seed pods and then scatter them around in a spot where you'd want it to grow. We did this last year, and it's everywhere now. Cost=$0.

My 86 year old mother spends a good chunk of her summer trying to get rid of the purslane on our farm.  It will blow her mind to hear that someone actually spreads it on purpose.

She should try a little. It's really pretty tasty -- the leaves have a taste like green pepper, and the stems are very lemony. It also supposedly has the highest level of Omega 3s of any plant source, among lots of other nutrients. I've cut it up on salads and also recently made a purslane pesto with it that we put over pasta with a lemon sauce and a little sausage. Very nice.

kite

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2015, 06:30:37 AM »
Cillantro & mint.

GuitarStv

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #45 on: June 09, 2015, 06:46:40 AM »
Two pear trees that we have.  Each year they require no additional watering or fertilizer, and produce 30 - 50 lbs of pears every fall like clockwork.  No issues with bugs, no issues with mold, no issues with disease.  The trees also provide shade to our patio during the evening in the summer.

Fi(re) on the Farm

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2015, 06:55:29 AM »
Shallots and garlic, expensive to buy but easy to grow especially if you save some of your harvest to replant. Also asparagus because once you plant it, it comes back every year.

Gone Fishing

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2015, 08:22:47 AM »
Grass and other weeds.  I feed them to my sheep and they make lamb chops.  Yum, yum!

Spork

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Re: What's the most Mustachian edible plant you grow in your garden?
« Reply #48 on: June 09, 2015, 09:07:30 PM »
Grass and other weeds.  I feed them to my sheep and they make lamb chops.  Yum, yum!

Best answer yet.