If you are like most urban residents, that means you have limited space to grow your own food. So what should you grow? Farmscape’s summer and winter crop catalogs are good places to start. However, in many yards you have to be very selective. With that in mind, here’s my personal ranking of the top 10 crops to grow at home...
1. Tomatoes - Tomatoes are a no-brainer for home gardeners. For those who aren’t already convinced, I’d encourage you to read Sean’s recent post on different tomato varietals and the flavors they offer.
2. Herbs - Herbs such as thyme, cilantro, parsley, basil rosemary, and lavender belong in every garden. They are attractive, require very little maintenance, provide great flavor when harvested fresh from the garden and prevent needless trips to the grocery store when a single herb is needed to complete a dish.
3. Salad greens - Given the perishability of lettuce and other salad greens, freshness is paramount. It’s hard to get much fresher than harvesting greens only minutes before dinner is served. Plus, you can plant mixes, such as mesclun or red/green, that include an optimal blend of greens for your salad.
4. Carrots - Besides being tastier than store-bought carrots, homegrown carrots score bonus points for the magical experience of finding large, beautifully formed carrots hidden beneath the soil surface.
5. Peas - Peas are prolific yielders and their small, beautiful flowers (which can be white, purple or pink) add beauty to any yard.
6. Summer squash - The speed at which zucchini grow is awe-inspiring, and producing them at home allows you to harvest them while still very small, when they are tastiest.
7. Onions - While homegrown onions rarely form bulbs that match the size of grocery store onions, their intensity is unparalleled. I don’t usually cry when I slice onions but my eyes will water from even being in the same room as a freshly harvested onion when it’s been sliced.
8. Cooking greens - Cooking greens are ideal if you are looking for a space-efficient crop that will provide nutrient-dense year-round yields. I’m partial to kale but chard and collard greens offer the same benefits.
9. Jalapenos - I love the convenience of having jalapenos to harvest when I’m making homemade salsa or guacamole. Goat cheese-stuffed jalapenos  aren’t a bad option either...
10. Pumpkins - Growing pumpkins with limited space isn’t practical but it’s fun. Japanese pumpkins (kabocha) are a good alternative to butternut squash, and massive, carving pumpkins are sure to be a hit with kids like Weston.
Jalapeno image from Wikipedia user TilmanBaumann. "Immature japapeno capsicum annuum var annuum." June 25, 2012. Wikimedia Commons.