which homegrown winter vegies taste better than store bought?

tomatotomataOctober 1, 2012

I know some of you will say "all of them", but I'm looking for the ones that are MUCH better. You know, like tomatoes in the summer.

You see, I have very limited space, and I don't want to waste it on carrots, for example, if they will be no better than store bought. I will be growing in pots.

What I'm considering are peas, beets, lettuce, brussel sprouts, carrots, spinach, celery. I don't have room for all of them, so I'll go with the ones worth the space. tia

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The only ones on your list that I would waste time and effort trying to grow in pots would be lettuce and spinach and maybe carrots.

The production on peas grown in a pot would be minimal, likely enough for one meal. Peas is a crop that demands a lot of space for minimal production even in a big garden. Beets would get you maybe 6 beets, 1 brussel sprout plant would need a VERY BIG pot and are very slow growing plus need some frost to taste best, and celery is difficult to grow even under ideal conditions much less in a container.

So it isn't "taste better" that would be my concern but effective use of time and resources. Store bought frozen peas and brussel sprouts will taste as good as any you can grow without the wasted work.

Store bought celery and home grown celery taste exactly the same since it is 90% water either way. But home grown salad greens - consider mesculun , kale, and chard too - will always taste better than store bought and won't have all the recall risks associated with them either.



    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:44PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)


for me homegrown always tastes better, at present our of our new gardens we are eating silverbeet and no store bought stuff is as fresh or tasty, but taste comes back to you, for me anything you grow is better as far as nutrients go plus you don't have to buy it.

maybe square foot gardening will work for you?


Here is a link that might be useful: lens straw bale garden

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:00PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

If I could only grow in pots I'd go for herbs first. Fresh picked are always better than bought. Then fresh salads:cut and come again lettuce, arugula, chicory, spinach, nasturtiums and mache plus radishes. Chard would be easy but you need a lot as it cooks down. It is pointless growing Brussels sprouts in pots unless you are content with only one or two servings and are prepared to wait months for even that much. Same goes for peas as dd says. If you do go for peas you'd get more yield from the types where you eat the pods as well as the peas. But still not much.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Fresh peas are much better than store bought. They taste great raw, and just steamed to bring them up to temp, they can't be beat. In fact, I've had frozen peas in December that were better than standard store-bought.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:35PM
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I learned in the garden that I preferred spinach raw in salads to lettuce. So I am planting 3 to 1 in spinach. And putting green onions between the plants to help round out a salad. Tonight, I am trying sweetpotato leaves raw in my salad for the first time - after discovering how wonderful they were cooked. I'm now doing sweet potato in the greenhouse, with lettuce, spinach, chard and onions outside for the winter in raised beds.

If you have not tried making your own seed strips for square foot gardening, you should check out this amazing link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: do it yourself seed strips

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Peas and spinach are a waste in containers. They produce so little per square foot. Everything is best from the garden, but here in MI the farm market vegetable that most closely resembles those from the garden are carrots. I disagree re: lettuce. It is fairly productive, my lime oakleaf will give you 5-7 cuttings.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:17PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I agree with Dave and of course, some things are subjective. Some people cannot taste a difference between their own carrots and storebought. My DH refuses to eat store bought and just goes without when there are none growing.

In containters, everything of course depends on container size. Some things I would probably try are sorrel, you cannot find that in the grocery store (at least not around here). Baker Creek has a stir-fry greens mix that is tasty. I might plant a bulbing fennel with some of the lettuces. You could probably also sow some green onions in with lettuces. Cilantro and parsley are must winter time herbs for me.

If you want easy, healthy, fresh in the winter time, you can also look at doing your own sprouts.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I have friends who did taste test & fooled more then a few gardeners with some vegetables.
But tomatoes are the hardest to fool someone with, because the fruit looks much different when store bought.
A vine ripen tomato is true red, not pink.
I was cutting a vine ripen tomato at work & a lady ask what kind(variety) it was. She was 26 years old & said she never seen a tomato that red. I am not sure she believe me.
I told her I waited to pick it until it was at the peak of ripeness. That it was a Parks Whopper, just home grown.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:59PM
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If you like sweet/tender carrots, there's a lot of varieties unsuited for shipping (or long-term storage) that are rarely grown outside of the home garden. They can be rather interesting.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:04AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I agree that "Fresh peas are much better than store bought."

I have converted many people that hate peas in to pea lovers by sharing fresh from the garden peas.

My X-wife hated peas with a passion, she didn't even like the smell when they were cooking, but she had never had fresh.

I was cooking some fresh peas when she came home one day and she said why don't you cook that stuff outside. Not from the smell but from knowing that they were the dreaded peas.

In a few minutes she asked why they smelled different, I just said fresh.

When we sat down to eat supper she decided to try one spoon full of them. She was hooked! She actually said that she thinks she may have had a sexual experience! LOL

After that I would have to cook them while she wasn't home, so that I could get a whole bowl full!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Thanks for the input. I guess I'll go for greens, and maybe some green onions. Thanks again. OP

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:18PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Are you growing in containers? Peas and lettuce taste so much better home grown. You can grow lettuce in perlite in a vertical garden to save space.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Tomatomata, Snowpeas (the shorter varieties) grow extremely well in 5 gallon pots. I use square section pots and line them up in a row touching each other. After germination I put about six sticks in each pot (4-5 foot prunings are fine), Beets and lettuce also grow very well in pots. Of the spinaches, the oriental mikado spinach does very well and silverbeet gives a big crop. Most vegetables will grow well in pots of 5 gallons or larger provided they are watered every day and fed well. I used to grow carrots in pots but good carrots are very cheap here so I prefer to use my pot space for other vegies.

One vegetable that you have not mentioned but is a star for me is broccolini.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:33AM
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If you like arugula, it is so much better fresh than store bought. We grew it for the first time last fall/winter/spring and loved it in salads, cooked in soups, used in pesto, or saut�ed. It isn't cheap, so growing your own saves money. It is so good for you that it is great to have a good supply. We grew it in zone 7 under garden fabric (in a warm winter) in a 4x4 raised bed and had plenty all winter. We even ate the flowers when it bolted in the early spring (and they are sort of pretty too!)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Peas also have the added benefit of replentishing nitrogen in your soil helping whatever you plant in that spot next spring. Around mid september I cut off the tops of all my tomato plants, plant peas and let the peas use the tomato vines as supports. I've never actaully borught I pea into the house - my kids pick 'em and eat 'em before I have enough for a meal.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 3:32PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Remember that the OP is growing in pots. So the effect of legumes on replenishing nitrogen doesn't really register. I still can't see that peas are worth growing if you are restricted to pots because you need so many plants to get a worth while crop. If you only want a handful to nibble fine, but if you want multiple meals and some for the freezer you would need a heck of lot of pots.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I am really not an expert on anything; but, when I looked at hydroponics, I got the impression that tomatoes and lettuce were the most viable. I think your options are limited. My understanding is that a tomato will keep producing under grow lights for ever..and cut lettuce will re-grow...most other plants have a designated season and 'burn out'. I think maybe hot peppers may be an option....my two cents...

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:26PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

As far as I can see, rereading the OP, these pots are not going to be indoors. At least there is no mention of that. My impression was that the question was about outdoor growing in zone 10 over the winter. So leafy vegetables that can take a bit of coolness and produce a usable crop in a pot would seem to be the order of the day.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Haven't seen it mentioned yet so I'd vote for cabbage family veggies: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale. Homegrown these are sweet, mild tasting and wonderful. No comparison to store bought. Especially good if you can let them go thru some cold weather (frost or near frost), but that may not be an option in zone 10.

While these plants can take up some room, there are container/small versions of many of them. And kale can be grown/harvested like other greens (cut and come again).

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:36PM
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Two different themes here:

What crops are most practical for pots is one, whether "homegrown" produces better-tasting produce is another.

Regarding the latter, IME, once soil is built up to a quite live enriched state, any homegrown produce tastes noticeably better than most bought produce. OTOH, if one's soil is quite poor, that will not be the case.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:40AM
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I agree, pnbrown.
Any fruit of any plant grown in rich soil, then picked fresh will taste better then any fruit that sit on a shelf for a day to a week, no matter what soil it is planted in, but especially a poor soil.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Green beans in green bean cassourole!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:12PM
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