I create my first vegetable garden: 6 essential vegetables

I create my first vegetable garden: 6 essential vegetables

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Ultra simple, almost indestructible, the tomato, the salad, the radishes, the zucchini, the red beet and the leek are the essentials of any vegetable garden. Here are our tips for growing them well, in the ground or in squares ... And also for preparing them well. Enjoy your meal !

The tomato

The tomato is the No. 1 fruit vegetable in the vegetable patch, and moreover the most cultivated, which also makes you want to cook! Round, long, 'cherry', in clusters ... growing tomatoes is simple, even on a balcony in a planter: five to six feet is enough for a family of four. Above all, they require sufficient sun (preferably a full exposure to the south), regular watering and ... a strong guardian - good guarding allows more fruit, healthy and bulky. Instead of sowing them, buy them instead in pots in a garden center to make them easier to start - and it doesn't cost more than seeds. Preferably choose recent varieties, which are developed for their better resistance to diseases (mildew in particular), unlike older varieties, whose cultivation is rather reserved for connoisseurs. You can keep the plants a little indoors if it is still too cool, then transplant them out of frost when they reach 6 to 8 cm, after May 10 (i.e. after the ice saints) and at more than 15 ° C minimum; if the temperatures are still right, cover them under a frame or in a greenhouse. In addition, to avoid chemical treatments as much as possible, you can combine them with carnations and rotate the crops from one year to the next in your vegetable patch. Then watch them when they grow ... the technical gesture to know is to "prune" the tomatoes, or to remove the small shoots that develop in the axils of the leaves (except for cherry tomatoes). This action avoids having an overly branched bush, and therefore a more attractive yield. Once well colored and luscious, you can pick them: fresh salads, stuffed tomatoes, baked tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato coulis, ratatouille, gazpachos ... and why not tomato jams! Rich in vitamin C and E, minerals and water (95%!), The tomato is dietetic but also diuretic ... a food that is both light and fun!

The salad

Batavia, arugula, oak leaf, treviso, arugula, lettuce, lamb's lettuce, escarole, curly… and even chicory! The different varieties of salads are cultivated throughout the year, which is why their presence in the vegetable patch is particularly satisfactory for any gardener. Sometimes you just have to cut it to taste it ultra-fresh with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, and let it grow back! Even easier to make than tomatoes (because they require light above all, not necessarily heat), salads can be mounted under chassis in the cold season; lettuce and batavia are the top of very simple salads. Plant the spring varieties in January (in boxes at around 15 ° C), and the autumn varieties in March-April… Sowing directly in the ground can be done in early April. The specialists (see "Acknowledgments" at the end of the article) advise to start growing from plants purchased in garden centers: you will save time compared to sowing without paying more. The trick to benefit from it each season: replant regularly, spacing them well and vary the varieties. The only precaution to take is to rule out slugs and snails which are as fond of fresh salad as you! Ecological tips consist in mulching the feet with wood ash, eggshells or organic anti-slugs. Antioxidant, the salad is rich in fiber, vitamin B9 and C ... Consuming different salads regularly allows a full range of health benefits.

The radish

This root vegetable is generally chosen for the initiation of children to the art of the vegetable garden, that is to say if their culture is elementary! The radish seeds are sown on the fly, just cover them lightly with soil. Also be careful not to sow too tightly. The easiest culture is to put "ribbon seeds" in a non-woven veil in a pot, and cover with a little soil; this "sophisticated" system offers an ideal and regular spacing, which avoids having to lighten when they start to grow, to leave a growth only every 3 cm. Another advantage of radish: only three to four weeks of waiting are enough to taste them (on the package, it says "18 day radish"), so they are fast growing vegetables. It is possible to sow them in February, every week or every two weeks. As with salad, you can resow it regularly to have it throughout the summer - but avoid the full sun. So that they are not too pungent and bitter, sprinkle them generously. Besides, they like to keep their soil fresh. Rich in potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and fluoride, radishes are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They are eaten raw, with a little butter, salt, or in slices in a mixed salad ... a ready-to-eat treat!

The courgette

Very productive and rather simple to 'breed' - even if it can be capricious in certain less bright years and if certain varieties are susceptible to diseases, zucchini is also a vegetable recommended for beginner vegetable gardens. Our advice for success: choose grafted plants, certainly a little more expensive but with a more satisfactory yield. Two to three feet will be enough for a family of four to five people! Sun, of course (it is a southern vegetable ... but which can grow in all regions), balanced watering, and soil prepared and enriched with organic matter will be beneficial to them. Just think of reserving enough space for them, about 1 meter circular around each plane, so that they can unfold without hindering themselves. Then feast in the kitchen with stuffed or sautéed zucchini, gratins or zucchini risottos, zucchini flower fritters ... Rich in vitamin C, trace elements and minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in particular ), like other vegetables, zucchini has a very low caloric intake (15 kcal / 100 g) and, like tomato, it is composed of 95% water.


Just like branch celery or chard (also to be tested if you want to complete your vegetable patch!), Red beet is a "super easy" root vegetable, even in a year that is not very sunny. It is sold as seedlings in a garden center, so you will need to plant the clods every 15 to 20 cm in April or May, then water little (too much watering would be harmful) ... It will develop quietly, in a light soil and well drained. Fear less cold than tomatoes, it can be grown from the beginning of spring until the end of summer, and likes to mulch its feet. Generally eaten in salads, it is eaten sparingly!

The leek

Indispensable in any vegetable garden, leek is a rustic leafy vegetable, resistant to both dry and frost. There are spring / summer varieties (Malabare, Gros long in summer) and autumn-winter varieties (Genevillier, Malabare, Carentan, Bleu de solaise, Vernor, Géant d'hiver, Saint Victor). Its only constraint: it is a real school of patience! The germination of the seeds alone can take more than two weeks. Sow from February and transplant when the plants reach 10 to 15 cm (in May, or in July depending on the variety), each plant being ideally spaced 10 cm, and 30 cm between each row. To fill it, garnish the aisles with compost; and protection issue, an insect-proof veil will certainly be effective. Finally, the trick to successfully picking them in the middle of winter is to mulch the feet. Then all you have to do is prepare excellent soups, or leeks with vinaigrette, stew, leeks with cream or gratin, leek cream, leek pie ... France is also the leading producer of leeks in Europe, ahead of Belgium and the Netherlands (Source:! Also filled with 90% water, the leek contains B vitamins, potassium and fibers that gently cleanse the intestine (in the white of the leek, softer than the green). Enjoy your meal !

Don't forget the aromatics!

Herbs are THE complement to any vegetable garden, both practical for seasoning your dishes and decorative. Favor the garlic-shallot-onion trio, which are cultivated in a similar way: plant them at the start of the year, in full sun and in well-drained soil, to harvest them from May to September, then store them under -soil, dry. These bulbs will develop well with minimum watering, and require very little maintenance apart from occasional hoeing to suppress weeds. They are also excellent for health: they are attributed with antiseptic and stimulating properties.
In general, on the nutritional side, vegetables are better, for taste and for health, if they are eaten fresh and with their skin - therefore untreated, because they thus keep their main nutritional qualities. Finally, eat varied and seasonal! Thanks : Catherine Garnier from Delbard, Tomy Valentin from Pouss'Vert, Christelle Bagy from the booa boutique, Olivier Lefebvre from Botanic. Find the vegetable seeds from the shop!