Edible plants comes with a host of advantages:
- The most significant reason to grow your own produce is the price. It seriously helps you save money on your grocery bill.
- It beautifies your home. You’re not just adding colour naturally, edibles carry delightful scents with them and clean your air.
- From tomatoes to basil, homegrown edibles tend to have a fuller flavour than what’s in the store – especially if it’s a supermarket that imports most of its produce.
For this article, we looked at greens that can both really take Malta’s heat and serve in your kitchen. Not all of these will fit on your windowsill, but they’re all relatively easily to make space for in different areas around your home that receive sunlight.
We excluded edible plants that take more than one year to grow from this list.
Peppers are chock-full of good flavour and nutrition.
Start by growing them in small containers indoors, and slowly increase their outdoor time. Once the plant has grown wider and about twice as tall as the pot it will be struggling to get enough water – that’s when you plant it outside. This usually takes 6 to – 8 weeks.
Edible qualities: You can add a little bit of spice to almost anything.
Also called ‘fever grass’ for its health promoting properties, lemongrass also doubles as a great bug repellent.
If you want to root your own lemongrass from stalks bought in a store or at a farmer’s market, simply place them in a jar with an inch or two of water. Change the water every couple of days – once you see new leaves growing, put in a pot.
Edible qualities: Can be used in tea, or added to a host of recipes, from chicken, rice, tofu to soups.
Not only do they taste great, sweet potatoes are chock full of benefits. They improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and is excellent at relieving you from congestion.
To grow sweet potatoes, cut one in half and stick 4-5 toothpicks onto each side. Place it on top of a jar filled with water. This’ll keep a good chunk of it out of the water. Leafy slips will sprout in 2-4 weeks. Once the potato is covered in slips, twist each one off and put them in a jar with some water – don’t drown them! Roots will grow in a couple of days, and that’s when they’re ready to be planted outside. Want a guide with pictures? Check this out.
Edible qualities: You can make curries, quiche, casseroles, pies, burritos, or pretend they’re fries! Give your taste buds a rush with this list.
Pea, beans, and lentils
Most dried legumes bought in the grocery store, especially those sold for sprouting, will grow a nice crop in your garden.
Beans are very easy to grow but require some back support. Make sure there is a trellises, tepee, or fence where you sow the seed. Sow with the eye of the been facing downward, and plant in rows with 4-6 inches between each seed, 1-2 inches deep. Water regularly until they sprout – but don’t water the leaves, just the soil.
Edible Qualities: Legumes are full of vitamins, minerals and are an alternate, fat-free source of protein.
Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants. Because of this, they are extremely nutritious and are great sources of fiber, containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Sunflower seeds sold for eating will grow giant sunflower plants, while the smaller seeds in bird seed will grow shorter, smaller sunflowers. Flax seeds grow into a tall plant with bright blue flowers, and poppy seed grows a wide variety of brightly colored flowering plants.
Edible qualities: You can blend into hummus, sprinkle on salads, add to yoghurt, grains and even sauces.
When you are thinking about where to plant eggplant, think about your gardening space, as eggplants need lots of space. Put them about 18 inches (46 cm.) apart in the row, and the rows need to be about 30 inches (76 cm.) apart, if not more. This requires quite a large area. Like legumes, eggplants need support – use bamboo sticks or other suitable stakes to help them grow upright. For an A to Z guide, click here.
Edible Qualities: When cooked, eggplants develops a rich, complex flavour. There are hundreds of recipes which include eggplants.
Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and lavender are staples – whether you want to put them in a garden or grow them inside.
Revered for both their medicinal and culinary value, herbs are not just pretty, they’re stamped firmly into the global imagination for the sweet aromas and fresh scents they inject into the air.
Herbs are native to the Mediterranean, and as such easy to grow for local homeowners. Many herbs require 6-8 hours of sun each day to produce the essential oils that give them their pleasant taste and scent. Soil composition is important though, so make sure you get a seed starter potting soil.
Edible Qualities: Used since the European Middle Ages, herbs can be used to add flavour and garnish food. Of course, you can also have them with herbal teas.