To maximize your organic garden’s yield, plant vegetables and herbs that are easy to grow and versatile in a variety of dishes.

Here are the six top springtime picks from the experts at Bonnie Plants, a green-garden wholesaler in Union Springs, AL:

  1. Tomatoes. The most popular fruit in U.S. home gardens, tomatoes are hard to beat in terms of taste, health benefits and versatility.
  2. Yellow squash and zucchini. While their growing season is shorter than the tomato’s, squash are very productive. You’ll pick them every day once the season starts.
  3. Lettuce. As long as weather is mild, leaf lettuce will continue to produce. If you regularly enjoy salads, growing your own lettuce can offer substantial savings.
  4. Cucumbers. Grown in a cage or on a trellis, a single cucumber plant can produce five to 10 cukes. You can place two or three plants in a cage just 18 inches in diameter and 4 feet high. Your yield: 15 to 30 cucumbers from a slice of ground no bigger than an end table.
  5. Specialty peppers. Price jalapeños and other specialty peppers in the supermarket, and you’ll realize the benefit of growing your own. These peppers produce especially high yields in areas with a long, hot summer.
  6. Herbs. Also pricey in supermarkets, fresh herbs are easy and economical to grow. Consider planting sage, rosemary, mint, thyme and chives (one plant each), plus at least three basil plants. Try different basil varieties: sweet, cinnamon, Thai and/or boxwood.

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants/ARA