2. Choose the right edibles
Another way to ensure your success with growing edibles is to start with easy-to-grow plants.
Green beans are a simple plant to grow in nearly every climate and rarely attract harmful bugs, Larenas says. Kids also love these plants; they can eat the sweet bean right off the vine.
Larenas also suggests growing cherry tomatoes, which are one of the easiest edibles to grow and are another favorite of children.
Other varieties of tomatoes are relatively hardy and are susceptible to only a few diseases – as long as your climate has the heat to support them, you give them good organic plant food and you meet their water requirements, Larenas says.
Another easy-to-grow plant that needs a bit of heat is the cucumber, she says.
In milder climates, Larenas recommends planting the incredibly fast-growing radish, and in cooler areas, she suggests lettuce and spinach.
3. Opt for attractive edibles
Maybe you want to try your hand at edible gardening, but you don’t want to turn your yard into a small-scale utilitarian-looking farm.
You’re in luck: There are a number of edibles that are just as attractive as the ornamental plants you grow for their beauty alone.
Beans are not only easy to grow and high in protein, they also boast beautiful flowers. Larenas is especially fond of the bright orange-red flowers of her scarlet runner bean that run up a trellis in her yard.
“I’ve grown varieties [of beans including scarlet runner beans] with very pretty flowers that people walking by my yard are stunned to realize are actually edible beans,” she says.
For another eye-catching edible option, she suggests planting herbs and letting them flower, which will also attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.
And there are many flowers you can grow in your yard that you can also eat. Create pretty salads using the flowers from borage, nasturtiums, calendulas and members of the viola family like pansies and violets, Larenas says.
The round green pod that the nasturtium produces after it flowers is also edible, Larenas says, and has a surprising peppery flavor. You can even pickle these pods and use them in the place of capers in recipes.