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Growing Good Food at Home

10 High-Yield Crops for a Cost-Efficient Garden

Don't let the cost of a garden hold you back. These high-yield crops don't need big bucks to give you an abundance.

Young fresh zucchini in the garden.

I’m just going to lay it on the line here: gardening can be expensive. It doesn’t need to be, and certainly, the return on investment is usually pretty high. That said, it’s also easy to walk out of the gardening store with a lot less cash in your pocket. That’s why high-yield crops are such a good move if you’re trying to garden without spending a bundle. 

I’ll start with a story, though, just for some context. In one of my early container gardening experiments, I bought several pots, a few bags of “high-end” soil, some fancy fertilizer, a cute little watering can, and more gardening tools than I needed. Then I bought several seedlings. I don’t remember what they were aside from tomatoes and a few other summer vegetables. 

With my newly acquired garden products, I headed home and proceeded to plant those seedlings with all the care in the world. I watered them religiously, fertilized them according to the directions, and gave them plenty of sunshine. Fast-forward to the end of the season, and I had managed to harvest exactly 6 tomatoes and a tiny handful of other veggies. It was fun, and a great learning experience. But from an economic perspective, it was a disaster. I could have bought those vegetables for about a tenth of what I spent on those supplies. 

That’s when I decided to try at least a few high-yield crops in my future gardening exploits. Gardening is fun, but I’m fine admitting that I still want a good harvest!

Discover 10 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying fruits, vegetables, herbs and more from your home garden—when you access the FREEBIE How to Grow a Vegetable Garden, right now!

Fresh Potatoes

Plant these 10 high-yield crops for a healthy harvest of veggies

One of the reasons I love high-yield crops, aside from the obvious, is that you can still get plenty of fresh garden goodness even if you don’t have a lot of space. So if you have a small container garden or a little patch of gardening space in your yard or just want to pack as much in as you can, these are some of the vegetables worth looking into. 

1. Beets: I love beets. And yes, I hated them as a kid. But garden-fresh beets are sweet and incredibly versatile. You can grate them raw into salads, roast them with other root veggies for a nice tray of baked veggies, and you can eat the greens. Plus, rather than thinning beets as they grow, you can wait just long enough to get little baby beets that you can enjoy.  

2. Cherry tomatoes: Though some varieties of full-sized tomatoes will produce a lot of fruits, if you’re looking for high-yield crops, cherry tomatoes are the way to go. 

3. Kale: This might be an unusual addition to a list of high-yield crops, but there are several reasons I include it. Kale is super nutritious, it grows well in containers, and it can grow well into the late-season cool temperatures that most other vegetables won’t tolerate. 

4. Lettuce: Cut and come again lettuce will provide you with fresh salad greens for quite some time. Plus, it’s easy to grow and doesn’t take up much space.

5. Peas: Since peas are climbers, they can take up minimal garden space and give you a good harvest. Additionally, since they are early season crops, you can usually pull them up and replace them with a summer crop. 

6. Pole beans: One of the reasons I’m including pole beans in with other high-yield crops is because, since they are climbers, they don’t take up a lot of garden real estate. And since they fix nitrogen in the soil, they also contribute to the overall health of your garden. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that you can harvest pole beans for quite a while. 

7. Potatoes: Like many root vegetables, potatoes can be harvested early and up through full maturity. They’re also easy to store, so even if they aren’t the highest-yielding vegetable in your garden, they are cost-efficient. 

8. Radishes: Radishes grow quickly enough that you can grow them right alongside many other vegetables, and they won’t compete with one another. In many cases, you can even put radish seeds in the ground before most of your other veggies are ready to transplant, making them a great way to take advantage of otherwise unused garden space.

9. Spinach: Like peas, spinach is a cool-weather crop, meaning you can plant and harvest it early in the season, then use that space to grow another warm-weather crop. However, what makes spinach one of the high-yield crops is that in most four-season climates, you can also plant a second crop of spinach in the fall. Spinach is also packed with nutrients. 

10. Zucchini: I was tempted to skip this one. It almost seems too easy to include zucchini in a list of high-yield crops. 

There are plenty more high-yield crops out there. But if you’re looking for a list that offers some variety, as well as a broad range of seasonal harvest times, this should give you a nice mix.

Do you have any vegetables that you find particularly high-yielding? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments. 

Discover 10 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying fruits, vegetables, herbs and more from your home garden—when you access the FREEBIE How to Grow a Vegetable Garden, right now!

  • David S.

    One of our favorite garden crops is swiss chard, as it produces continuously and is a garden warrior, shrugging off cold temperatures and marching on in high heat. It’s a fabulous spinach substitute, but is vulnerable to slugs. I’m trying a new technique…mulching the bed with pine needles! Slugs can’t stand crawling across it. We’re on to our third harvest, and so far, so good.

    • Robby B.

      My hubby and I love the Japanese climbing cucumbers. We grow three plants on a trellis in my grow box. I get so many cucumbers every year that neighbors get to enjoy them as well.

      • Amanda M.

        I’m growing those this year! They’re already out-performing all my other plants!


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