Get the most food out of your gardening space by growing these delicious and fruitful plants.
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While it can be a rewarding experience to grow a challenging vegetable like sweet corn or celery, sometimes you just want to plant something low-maintenance that produces a lot of food efficiently. Beyond being an idyllic hobby, growing produce in your own garden has a purpose—to fill your kitchen with homegrown ingredients. For that reason, you don't want all of your crops to be a huge task. If this rings true for you, there are plenty of high-yield vegetables to turn to when you want to grow something easy and fruitful.

Although the following plants are high-yield, they don't take up an abundance of room in your garden—a win, win. "High-yield vegetables generate more produce from smaller patches, making the most of the growing space available," says Kelly Funk, president of Park Seed. "Once they get to the harvest stage, these high-yielding vegetables produce food for many weeks as they continue to grow new leaves and fruit throughout the season providing a continuous supply of nutrients from soil." 

Organic Fresh Tomatoes in a Bowl
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Tomatoes

One of the most popular crops in America, tomatoes—specifically cherry tomatoes—are incredibly high yield. "Lots of bang for the buck here" says Renee Pottle, creator of Seed to Pantry. "One cherry tomato plant will produce plenty of tomatoes for a summer full of salads. Four or five cherry tomato plants will have you awash in the little fruit." 

Care Requirements 

According to Pottle, the seedlings should be planted in an area with full sun and moist, well-drained soil after the first frost has passed. Melinda Myers, gardening expert and host of the Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series notes that you should water newly planted seeds often enough to keep the roots well moist. "Gradually increase the time between water to encourage deep, more drought-tolerant roots," she says. Prune tomato plants regularly to encourage more growth. 

  • Growing zones 3 to 10
  • 70 day growing period 
Close up of two freshly picked zucchini in the hands of a women who is harvesting a large backyard garden
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Zucchini

All varieties of zucchini are apt to take over your garden, according to Pottle. The oblong, green vegetable is typically grown as an annual and started from seeds planted directly into the ground, says Meyers. 

Care Requirements

Avoid planting zucchini seeds too early—Pottle says the soil should be warm at the time of planting. Additionally, Meyers says to add fertilizer to your soil before adding the seedlings to the ground (the soil should be moist and well-drained). Adding fertilizer or compost increases drainage in clay soil and water holding ability in sandy soil. Additionally, Meyers says to water newly planted zucchini often and then gradually decrease watering frequency. Pick ready zucchini often to encourage new growth. 

  • Growing zones 3 to 9
  • 50 day growing period 
green beans in basket on table
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Pole Beans

Pole beans yield two-to-three times more food than bush beans when planted in the same gardening space. Plus, Funk says they're easier to harvest than the latter and some gardeners even say they have a better taste. 

Care Requirements 

Funk says to sow seeds in spring after the threat of frost has passed and then plant another crop in summer to harvest in fall. The vegetable prefers full sun and can tolerate clay, normal, loamy, and sandy soil, as long as it's moist and well-draining. "Pick them at 7 inches for best flavor and to encourage another fruit set," Funk says. 

  • Growing zones 2 to 11
  • 65 day growing period 
A pile of fresh cucumbers lying diagonally with drops of water
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Cucumbers

A well-known low-maintenance vegetable, cucumbers tend to be easy to grow and will produce several fruits from just one plant. "These are grown as an annual and thrive in warm weather and are frost sensitive," Meyers says.

Care Requirements

Planted after the first frost when the soil is warm, cucumbers are usually grown in the garden from seeds, but some prefer to start them indoors for an earlier harvest—the choice is yours. Wherever you opt to grow the seedlings, the plant should be kept in an area with full sun and moist well-draining soil. Water generously when first planting, then scale back and stick to a watering schedule once established. Pottle says to continuously pick ready fruit to encourage new growth.  

  • Growing zones 4 to 12
  • 50 day growing period 
Fresh picked rainbow carrots including different coloured carrots
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Carrots 

Don't let root vegetables intimidate you; Pottle says carrots are an easy crop to grow for precisely that reason—they can stay in the ground until you're ready to pull them. 

Care Requirements

Plant carrot seedlings in a place that gets full sun. Additionally, the root vegetable prefers soil that is loose and well composted. Keep moist with about 1 inch of water per week. As the plant grows, Pottle says to mound the soil the carrots to prevent the sun from scalding the tops. Thin the plant once it's about 4 inches high. 

  • Growing zones 3 to 10
  • 80 day growing period 
Lettuce from above in a greenhouse
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Lettuce

A lot of lettuce can be grown in a small space, which makes it ideal for smaller gardens. Pottle notes that it's a good shoulder season crop—the period between entering and exiting winter dormancy. "Lettuce is prolific," she adds.

Care Requirements

Lettuce seeds should be planted when the weather is cool, like during spring or fall. Plant in an area that receives full sun. The easy-to-grow plant can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, as long as it's watered regularly (about twice a week). Additionally, Pottle says to plant the crop every two to three weeks for a continuous supply.

  • Growing zones 2 to 11
  • 45 to 65 day growing period

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