I love growing garlic because it's so stinkin' easy. Just put garlic cloves in the ground, pointy end up, and next year, harvest a whole head! This garlic was from cloves I planted last spring. This year, all I did was cut down the scapes (the flower stalks) when they appeared (chopping them up for food, mind you), and then waited for the leaves to get mostly brown. Then I pulled up the whole plant and let it sit in a warm, dry location for a week or so, to cure the heads. Soon, I'll take some cloves from this harvest and plant them for next year.
(Incidentally, when you plant and harvest garlic depends upon the type. My garlic is hardneck; more info here.)
Normally, early in the spring, as soon as my local gardening center has them, I buy seed potatoes and plant them around St. Patrick's Day. This year, I didn't do that. But I still got potatoes! That's because during last year's harvest I accidentally left behind some teeny weeny baby taters. This spring they sprouted, so I went ahead and added soil to the grow bags they were in. Although they are all the same type of potato (Kennebec, which we love), one grow bag got eaten by slugs, my nemesis. The other died back and I got a good harvest. And there is still one bag with happily growing potatoes that I will harvest as soon as the green tops die back.
This our best year ever with our columnar apple trees. They've got lots of apples and grow without anything more than a watering now and then.
Ground nuts (Apios americana)
Early in the spring, the shoots of this plant were eaten almost totally back by slugs and snails. But the vine is rebounding, and I expect to harvest ground nuts this year.
This food producing plant is completely effortless to grow - and it even gives abundantly when I abuse it. (It's currently in too much shade, I tend to forget to water it, and I've been putting off revitalizing the soil it grows in for years.)
Admittedly, I should have rejuvenated my strawberries this year, replacing old plants with new runners. But I didn't...And even though I haven't mulched them and I keep forgetting to water the poor little babies, they are still producing some berries. The plants that are doing the best are these, in an overcrowded, broken down pot sitting in the shade. Go figure.
These really should be producing way more fruit, but they are being shaded too much by other plants. Even so, with no pruning, little watering, and no talking to, I am getting kiwi fruit.
Many people wouldn't consider nasturtiums food, but I love their peppery leaves in salad...and their seed pods? Amazing peppery goodness! These things self-plant every year - so long as I don't eat all the seed pods.
This plant is gargantuan! It's about 56 inches tall and 77 inches wide and produces like mad! In fact, it produces way more than my family can handle, so I often ask friends to come and take as much as they want. It's planted in terrible clay soil, too.
A couple keys to getting such prolific rhubarb: 1) Rumor has it that rhubarb plants with stalks that are more green than red are more prolific; my dinosaur certainly has green stalks. 2) Leave the plant alone the first year; don't harvest from it at all. 3) Remove all flower stalks as soon as you see them. 4) When harvesting, leave at least half the stalks in place. 5) Stop harvesting in August, to give the plant a chance to get ready for cold weather. 6) Instead of composting the very poisonous leaves, lay them down under the plant. This is the only fertilizer mine gets, and it loves it!
Many of my herbs don't die back, even when it snows in the winter. These include rosemary, chives, sage, cilantro (if put in a sheltered area), and thyme. Thank you, trusty little guys!