Food garden

This is the year to finally grow your own food garden! There are four main groups of produce typically grown in food gardens:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruit
  3. Nuts & Seeds
  4. Herbs, Spices, & Teas

Read on for 100+ ideas for all these types of edible food garden crops and tips for starting your own food garden at home.

Food garden - tomatoes, garlic, greens in raised bed behind house

“What do you need to know to begin growing your own fruits and vegetables? Probably not as much as you think. The important thing is to start with the basics. Dig over a patch of land, sow a few seeds and – unless you completely neglect your growing plants – you’re almost certain to end up with something you can eat.”

Kitchen Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, by Alan Buckingham

What to grow in a food garden

Vegetables grown in kitchen gardens include savoury leafy greens, beans, potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, and peas. Fruit grown in a food garden includes sweet strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, grapes, and tree fruits like apples, pears, and plums.

Nuts include almonds, macadamia, hazelnut, and pecan. Grains include quinoa, amaranth, and oat. Culinary herbs include flavourful oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, basil, bay, and chives. Spice plants include horseradish, ginger, garlic, and wasabi. Teas grown in the food garden include peppermint, fennel, chamomile, lemon balm, and bergamot.

Now let’s discuss how to create your own healthy garden full of edible food!

Green pepper growing on plant in raised bed

Designing a food garden

The purpose of a food garden is, of course, to grow food. A garden may be to supplement a bit of your produce, grow and can a year’s worth of pasta sauce, or feed your entire family. Whatever your garden goal, planning out the food garden is a key part of success.

“A space that’s 5 x 10 feet can be big enough for a first garden. Even if you’re feeling ambitious, start no more than three or four 4 x 8-foot beds in your first season. But choose a site that has room for expansion.”

Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden, by Deborah L. Martin

A food garden can be anything from a few container pots on a patio to a large field of veggies. It can be a traditionally designed potager garden or an indoor countertop setup with LED plant lights. You can also surround your food garden with companion plants (for instance, evergreens make wonderful companion plants for berry bushes).

“If you don’t have the space to dig in a traditional vegetable garden with rows, or to install a raised bed or two, there are plenty of options that give green thumbs the opportunity to grow edibles. Sneak food plants into your ornamental garden among the perennials”

Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces, by Tara Nolan
Vegetable plants for sale at nursery

Crop idea list for food gardens

Here are some crop idea lists to help you plan out your own food garden.

Vegetable food garden crops

Here are some ideas for food garden veggie crops to add to your edible kitchen garden:

Salad greens

  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Corn Salad
  • Cress
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard

Root vegetables

  • Beet
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Shallots
  • Sweet Potato

Table vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green Onions
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Pepper
  • Pumpkin
  • Rhubarb
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini
Fresh strawberry from the food garden

Fruit garden crop ideas

Here are some fruit ideas to add to your food garden:

Tree fruits

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Cherry
  • Nectarine
  • Paw Paw
  • Fig
  • Persimmon


  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry
  • Currant
  • Blackberry
  • Raspberry
  • Gooseberry
  • Cranberry
  • Ground Cherry
  • Goji Berry
  • Goumi Berry
  • Huckleberry
  • Mulberry

Vining fruits

  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Passionfruit
  • Dragonfruit

“Don’t try to grow oranges in Ohio or tulips in South Texas. Stick with the tried-and-true flowers and produce that thrive in your area, and choose disease-resistant varieties whenever possible.”

Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden, by Deborah L. Martin
Sunflower seeds from the garden

Nuts & seeds to grow

Here are some nutty, seedy crops to grow in the food garden:

Tree nuts

  • Almond
  • Cashew
  • Coconut
  • Hazelnut
  • Chestnut
  • Macadamia Nut
  • Pine Nut
  • Pistachio
  • Pecan
  • Walnut

Cereal grains

  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Oat
  • Wheat
  • Emmer
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Teff
  • Sorghum


  • Sunflower Seed
  • Peanut
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpea
  • Lentil
  • Chia
  • Flax
  • Sesame Seed
  • Buckwheat
Nasturtium - salmon gleam - in patio culinary kitchen garden

Herb, spice, & tea crops for the food garden

Here are some ideas for herbs, spices, and tea herbs to grow in the food garden:

Culinary herbs

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Shiso
  • Cilantro
  • Chervil
  • Tarragon
  • Sage
  • Cutting Celery
  • Marjoram
  • Salad Burnet
  • Lovage
  • Fennel
  • Savory
  • Sweet Cicely
  • Dill
  • Bay
  • Nasturtium


  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Wasabi
  • Chili Peppers
  • Coriander
  • Anise
  • Cumin
  • Caraway
  • Garlic
  • Saffron Crocus
  • Capers

Tea herbs

  • Peppermint
  • Ginger Mint
  • Apple Mint
  • Chamomile
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Fennel
  • Lemon Balm
  • Bergamot
  • Costmary
  • Rose Hip
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lavender

“One of the key objectives of our new lifestyle was to produce as much of our own food as possible. I quickly learned that I would rather be vegetarian than eat my darling chickens. From that moment of realization that I could no more eat my pet goose than eat one of the kids, I threw myself into making the best kitchen garden possible on our plot… it was the only way we were going to get a good meal!”

Italian Kitchen Garden: Enjoy the Flavours of Italy From Your Garden, by Sarah Fraser

Quick Tip: All these plants require photosynthesis, so make sure you put them in a space with a lot of sunlight for optimal growing!

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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