Vegetables to Grow in Illinois. If you’re going to try growing your own food this year, a good place to start is by selecting the crops that provide the best return on investment. Experienced gardeners rapidly discover that certain types of homegrown vegetables perform better than others.
Choices like onions and peppers, for example, perform consistently well with few setbacks across most of the country, but crops like broccoli and spinach frequently face pest threats and have rather narrow planting time windows. Crops that are both easy to grow and offer big yields in a little amount of land are the best bets.
Vegetables to Grow in Illinois
- They’re not the easiest crops to grow in locations prone to blight and excessive heat, but the payback is enormous. A home-grown tomato selected at peak ripeness has a taste and nutritional value light years ahead of retail stuff.
- The combination of the cost of store-bought tomatoes and the expected yield – even when disease interrupts production – makes tomato gardening the best investment.
- Tomato plants are simple to grow from seed, and the fruits are suitable for canning, freezing, and eating fresh. Plants should be staked to save space.
- Hot and sweet bell peppers are both easy to cultivate and have minimal in-garden issues. They thrive in warm temperatures.
- Yields are good, store costs are reasonable, and peppers are nearly as adaptable in the kitchen as tomatoes.
- The main disadvantage is that it takes weeks longer and has a higher risk of loss if you want maximum nutrition, completely mature red/orange/yellow fruits. Green peppers are totally edible, although they are not fully grown.
- If you can get rid of the disease-spreading cucumber bugs, you’ll be swimming in fresh cucumbers for months. Cukes can be turned into pickles or relish to increase their worth even further.
- Cucumbers are inexpensive and simple to grow from seed put directly in the yard.
- Avoid using pesticides and space out your yield by sowing new seeds every few weeks during the summer. If wilt kills the elder plants, the younger plants will take over production.
4. Asparagus Vegetables to Grow in Illinois
- Asparagus is one of the few perennial vegetables that may produce weeks’ worth of healthy shoots every year for decades.
- Because it is a one-time planting, the long-term investment is substantial, especially given the price of store-bought asparagus. Give asparagus its own patch to prevent spreading shoots from contaminating other crops.
- The main threat is weeds, though plants are occasionally attacked by beetles. Otherwise, asparagus is drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, and even attractive when the ferny leaves open after harvest.
5. Onions, Leeks, Shallots and Garlic
- Almost little upsets the onion family. Simply keep these crops irrigated, and they’ll be among the cheapest and easiest to raise.
- Onions are inexpensive at supermarkets, but they keep well and are versatile.
- Despite their ease of cultivation, leeks, shallots, and garlic have a high market value, making them winners in any cost-benefit comparison.
6. Lettuce Vegetables to Grow in Illinois
- Leaf kinds are the easiest to grow and will keep producing delicious spring salads until the heat turns them bitter. However, new crops can be sown in cool areas for the fall and even into the winter in milder climates or with protection.
- Growing lettuce from direct-planted seed is inexpensive. The major challenge is to keep the rabbits from beating you to the crop.
- Excess-harvest jokes about zucchini are legendary, but practically all summer squashes are tireless producers – until mildew or squash vine borers destroy them. However, even a short-circuited crop will have paid you back handsomely for the little expense of seed by then.
- Both squash problems are solvable, or you can apply the same approach as with cucumbers and seeds numerous times for a backup supply.
8. Rhubarb Vegetables to Grow in Illinois
- Rhubarb, like asparagus, is a perennial vegetable. The stalks your developing plants will produce each season will provide you with years of strawberry/rhubarb pies and strawberry/rhubarb jelly.
- Except for decaying in wet clay (which is a no-no in any vegetable garden), rhubarb is low-maintenance and long-lasting. Even if you don’t eat it, it’s a striking, tropical-looking plant with huge leaves and crimson stalks.
- It should be noted that only the stalks are edible. Because the leaves are high in oxalic acid, they should be removed when harvested.
- Bush beans are another low-cost seed-grown crop that normally gives several pickings before the pods begin to shrivel. Beans can be planted multiple times from spring to summer because they are among the quickest from seed to harvest.
- Pole beans twine up supports and continue to produce for weeks or even months – much longer than typical bush beans, which grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches.
- Beans are usually dependable, with the exception of groundhog and rabbit assaults and the occasional encounter with a beetle.
10. Snow peas
- With these, timing is everything. Snow peas are eaten pods and all and are great for fresh snacking as well as stir-fries.
- The secret is that they prefer to keep things cool. Plant pea seeds immediately in the garden in chilly climates as soon as the ground thaws in spring. Plant seeds in warm climates from early fall to the end of winter as a winter to early spring crop.
- Grow the vines up a fence or similar support to save space, and they’ll provide you with weeks of pod-picking before the heat kills them.