An Invitation to ‘Pick All You Can Eat’

My Vegetable Plot
My Vegetable Plot | Source

What to Plant in your Vegetable Plot

The first ’pick all you can eat’ lunch we had was completely by accident. All of my guests arrived before everything was prepared.

I was so pre-occupied with preparing the desserts that I ran out of time.

After my guests arrived, they wandered around my garden and took particular notice of my thriving vegetable plot. Feeling quite proud that everyone seemed to be admiring my green-fingered efforts, I suddenly had an idea. Instead of admitting that I was terribly behind in preparing lunch, I invited everyone to pick whatever they would like to eat!

This created an instant buzz of excitement in my garden; I had several happy helpers cutting lettuce and herbs, pulling radishes, digging up carrots and onions, and picking tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. They also seemed delighted to wash everything and arrange the salad in my serving dishes. Lunch was a complete success!

“Picking all you can eat” can deliver a huge amount of satisfaction to both the growers and the pickers. For me, the most rewarding thing about growing my own produce is to be able to share the goods. There are also enormous health benefits of growing such fresh, organic produce right out of the garden.

We’re not talking big scale gardening here; I have a fairly average-sized garden and am learning new skills all the time. Very early on, I learnt two important things: firstly you can grow a great deal of produce in a very small area and secondly it really is much easier than you might think.

Also, if this is all new to you, don’t be afraid to have a go. I was very pleased by the amount of success I had in my first year alone. So why not try growing your own produce and reap the rewards of eating and sharing it?

My first guests to enjoy my ‘pick all you can eat’ experience seemed pretty impressed and are still talking about it now. Most of them don’t grow their own veggies and they all enjoyed the wonderful fresh taste of produce that had been freshly picked. If you find you have picked too much produce, you will be surprised how long it will keep fresh in a fridge, much longer than supermarket produce.

By planting a few seeds or young plants, you too can enjoy the rewards of picking your own lettuce, herbs, radishes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers or more. What you decide to grow and how much you want to grow will of course depend upon the amount of available space you have in your garden. You don’t have to have a greenhouse or vegetable plot. Vegetables will grow quite happily alongside flowers in your border, as well as looking great. But even if you only have a small patio or balcony area to work with, you can still take part in the ‘pick all you can eat’ fun! You will be surprised at just how much you can grow in a few pots or a grow-bag.

If you don’t have space at ground level, there are many varieties of tomatoes that you can grow in hanging baskets. A good variety to grow is called ‘Tumbling Toms’. They grow in profusion as the name suggests, and their lovely splash of color looks fantastic. Strawberries are also a good hanging basket fruit to grow.

Start with Mixed Lettuce

Now of course, once you get started you will want to see some results pretty quickly, so I recommend you start with a packet of mixed lettuce seeds.

You will be harvesting your first crop within 4 weeks.

Lettuce Leaves
Lettuce Leaves | Source
SimplySalad Seeds Global Gourmet Mix - Pellitized Seed
SimplySalad Seeds Global Gourmet Mix - Pellitized Seed

This mix includes lettuces, brassicas and Asian herbs and offers many different leaf textures in shades of greens and bronze. Various seeds in each pellet will germinate right around the same time, ensuring that they are all mature at the same time for a perfect harvest. In a couple of weeks, baby greens will be ready. New growth will regenerate in three weeks for a continual harvest and each planting can be harvested two to three times.

 
Seeds of Change Certified Organic Salad Mix, Mesclun - 900 milligrams, 500 Seeds Pack
Seeds of Change Certified Organic Salad Mix, Mesclun - 900 milligrams, 500 Seeds Pack

This mix of seeds is certified to be 100% Organic, free of genetically modified organisms, chemicals or pesticides. Create a delightful contrast of color, shape, taste and texture with this mix of Arugula, Osaka Purple Mustard Greens, Garden Cress, Red Russian Kale, Tres Fin Endive, Brune D'Hiver, Ruben's Red Romaine, Pirat Butter, Formidana and Simpson's Black Seeded.

 

Cut and Grow Again Lettuce

Growing an individual mix of lettuce leaves is far more fun than growing the traditional whole lettuce. A packet of seeds usually contain a superb mixture of loose-leaf lettuces with many leaf shapes and colours including reds and oak-leaf types. If you have the space it’s an idea to plant seeds at 4 weekly intervals to keep you going all summer. You can grow an enormous amount in an area of just one metre square. If you are limited on space, these seeds grow well in a pot. Don’t be tempted to plant loads of seeds, you just need a few. These plants can really spread!

One packet of seeds costing around $3.00 will probably be more than you can eat all through the summer. So, growing your own salad is pretty cost effective as well.

You simply pick the leaves as and when you want them and they just keep on growing!

"Cut & Come Again" Lettuce
"Cut & Come Again" Lettuce | Source

Radishes Grow Easily

The radish is a very easy seed to grow, and is especially good for a first time planting. There are several different varieties to try, all of which are good. Radishes grow quickly, so if you plant them the same time as the lettuce they should both be ready at the same time.

Lettuce and radishes don’t need any special treatment. They are happy in any soil type. If you are planting in pots, containers or hanging baskets then I recommend using good potting compost.

Plant your seeds thinly and water regularly.

Tomato Tumbling Tom Red - Hybrid Great Garden Vegetable 30 Seeds
Tomato Tumbling Tom Red - Hybrid Great Garden Vegetable 30 Seeds

Perfect for hanging baskets, these seeds yield beautiful red cherry tomatoes within 70 days.

 

Tomatoes are Low Maintenance

There are many different varieties of tomatoes which can be grown in greenhouses, or outside in pots, grow-bags and hanging baskets.

So, choose the location and variety entirely to suit you.

Tumbling Toms
Tumbling Toms | Source
Tumbling Toms
Tumbling Toms | Source

If you are a first timer to growing tomatoes, I recommend growing ‘Tumbling Toms’ in a hanging basket.

Tumbling Toms can be grown from seed, or alternatively you can buy tomato plants from a nursery or garden centre.

This variety of tomatoes is very low maintenance. You don’t need to pinch out growing stems - just let them keep on tumbling!

When the first fruits start forming you can give them a tomato feed, just follow the instructions on the bottle.

Tomatoes smell and taste delicious picked straight from the vine.


Freshly Picked Straight from the Vine
Freshly Picked Straight from the Vine
Mini Belle Pepper Mix - 50 Seeds - GARDEN FRESH PACK!
Mini Belle Pepper Mix - 50 Seeds - GARDEN FRESH PACK!

Try these seeds for mini sweet bell peppers in 60 days. Most bell peppers can be harvested when they are still green, but when left to mature on the plant for a longer length of time, some peppers will turn shades of red, yellow or even purple.

 

Pick a Pepper

Peppers can grow from seed or as small plants obtained from a nursery or garden centre.

It is fascinating to watch peppers grow; as they get bigger they turn from green to yellow to red. As soon as the fruits start forming you can give them a feed once a week; a tomato feed is fine for peppers.

If you have a lot of small fruit forming, you can pick some of them off and the remaining peppers will then grow to larger fruit.

Green Pepper
Green Pepper | Source

Cool as a Cucumber

Cucumbers are absolutely delicious picked straight from the vine!

Also, they are surprising easy to grow. Please read my hub about Growing Cucumbers for some nice easy growing tips.

I wish you happy planting, eating and sharing!

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Comments 35 comments

Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Good Morning movie master...oh you have touched my heart this morning..this is my life..I love our garden..What a great idea for a party..I was intriqued by the lettuce..does it grow up like a vine..I planted some lettuce and while it is coming it..it is the black lettuce seeds and I really don't care for the taste. Rather bitter so the chickens have been getting a treat..lol Your garden is beautiful and isn't it such a blessing to have all those foods at your finger tips..

Thank you for sharing..speaking of..I have to go week..lol

God Bless,

Sunnie


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Hi Movie Master, what a great idea for getting all the family involved! I find that home-grown veggies taste so much better than anything you can buy from the supermarket. I feel hungry just looking at your pictures.

Voted up and awesome :-)


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Sunnie Day, you brighten my day when you visit my garden! the mixed lettuce seeds still grow at ground level, I grew a mild tasting variety, I just couldn't believe how much it produced!! so I was happy to share! hope you are enjoying retirement, take care and see you again soon.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Cloverleaf, I wish you could come for lunch and taste some!! thanks for calling in and leaving your lovely comments and voting up!


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Movie Master! What a great time the folks had, I am sure! I can "taste" just how good those fresh vegetables were. Great hub and beautiful photos! Voted up, up and away (as usual)!!!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Good morning Dexter, such a simple spur of the moment idea that was a huge success!!! grateful as always for your visit and super comments! have a great day.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

You are so Clever and Creative Movie Maker...and I'll bet Everyone had Fun!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi b.Malin, it was just a spur of the moment idea, that was a huge success, lots of chaos and fun!! thanks for calling by and your comments have a wonderful day!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

What a lovely description of happy guests making a "pick all you can eat" lunch! I love the taste of fresh-picked, home gown vegetables. Thanks for the useful growing instructions.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi AliciaC, hope you have a go at growing some veggies, they just taste delicous freshly picked and a 'pick your own' do is just chaotic fun!!! have a great weekend!!!


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

Your veggie patch is amazing, Movie Master, so much lush fresh produce. And the "Pick all you can eat party", what a delightful way to spend a day and a meal with friends. I love it!!!! Thank you so much for this idea and all the information you have provided. My aim is to have my patch looking as good as yours by the summertime!!! Got a lot of work to do - wish me luck.

Wonderful hub, voted up all the way!!

Warm wishes,

Fennelseed


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Fennelseed, I get so excited about my veggie patch! my strawberries are just ripening now - and I am pretty much out of control!! good luck with your planting and growing, have fun and let me know if you celebrate with a 'pick all you can eat' party! take care, always lovely to see you and read your wonderful comments.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

This is a very useful hub. Maybe one day if I have a yard, I can grow vegetables, too. For now, I am in an apartment and I can look at your hub to get a good garden daydream going. Voted up!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi jeannieinabottle, thanks for calling by, you are always welcome to visit my garden for a bit of daydreaming!! have a great day and thanks for voting up!


fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

I adore the idea to grow my vegetables and fruits. The pictures in this Hub are so colorful! I would see these colors from my window. Unluckily now I have not a garden but I am sure: I will have it!

Very nice your improvised party!

Great Hub.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi fucsia, I really appreciate you dropping by and thank you for your comments, I hope you get your garden one day and grow your veggies!


tebo 5 years ago

That was a great idea getting everyone to select their own salad vegetables. Lovely photos and what a great garden.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi tebo,glad you like my garden, we very often have 'a pick your own session' now when we have visitors, they expect it and it's loads of fun!!! thank you for visiting I hope you have a super day!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I always enjoy your hubs, so full of colour and life.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Eiddwen, thank you so much, I have really enjoyed your company in my garden this afternoon, you are welcome to drop in any time, take care and best wishes x


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Wow. This is great! That's a very clever idea you had to occupy your guests, and get them participating. And the information on how to grow basic things yourself is extremely useful. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but haven't yet gotten it going. I'm going to check back here if I ever make it happen. I'd love to start a garden. The health benefits are too good to be ignored, and saving money and having fresh food is very appealing to me. Thanks for such a wonderful hub.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Bud, this was a spur of the moment idea that everyone is still talking about, and now my guests 'pick their own' as a matter of course!! it really is fun, the children especially enjoy it. I hope you get to start your garden, if you need any tips give me a shout! I so appreciate your comments and follow and look forward to much hub sharing, have a wonderful day:-)


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Thanks :) You, too!


2uesday profile image

2uesday 5 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

I love serving food that is home grown, I sometimes do not mention that the roast potatoes are home grown and wait to see if they can spot the difference from shop bought ones and without fail they do. I think that starting out by growing cut and come lettuce is good, it is so much nicer to pick your own than to get it out of a bag. You have beat me on a couple of the photos here - I have never tried to grow cucumbers and my peppers for some reason are always a failure - I do not have a green- house so I am dependent on the weather being favourable maybe it is that (or just my excuse). Really enjoyed looking at and reading about your pick all you can eat page, thank you.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi 2uesday, I was surprised how easy cucumbers are to grow, they are happy outside and absolutely delicous fresh picked, I recommend giving them a go!

I started by growing cut and come lettuce, it's just the best!!

thank you so much for dropping by my garden and your great comments, Happy gardening! take care MM


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Can I invite myself to "pick all you can eat" fiesta? As you know, I'm quite crazy about anything natural and this is just the salad eater's dream. Love your garden and what green fingers you have. Thanks for sharing this fabulous hub.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi anginwu, eating salad freshly picked was delicious! now we are enjoying potatoes, leeks, parsnips and cabbage!

It's always good to see you, many thanks for dropping by, best wishes MM


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 5 years ago from Central Florida

My new 'back to basics' wish involves gardening but I am a big chicken and have not started. I love your stories. They take me to a place that I want to get to but have not been able to yet. As you can imagine, focus is hard for me these days. So are a list of other things. Besides, I don't know what to plant when. Hey maybe you can write a hub for me on that. :)


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Moms-Secret, firstly thank you for visiting my garden.

I am so pleased to see gardening on your 'to do' list, it's so theraputic - it's up there with writing!!

I understand the 'focus' thing, especially this time of year - I would be happy to help and support you and get you started, so bear with me, hub in progress....

watch this space!

My very best wishes to you MM


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

There is nothing like growing your own vegetables and you promoted that beautifully in this hub. Your 'spur of the moment' idea should be a yearly tradition...what fun to be able to pick vegetables if you don't have a garden of your own.

Your photos are beautiful. You must have some good earth to grow great produce like that! Voted this up, useful and interesting.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi tillsontitan, 'pick your own' was such a success, it is now a 'tradition'!!!

We do have some good earth here, nice and easy to dig and it seems to grow some good stuff!

Many thanks for visiting, your great comments and votes!

Have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Lesley, what a find! I am growing my own veg for the first time this year and my windowsill is still full of seedlings and started plants. My cucumbers are coming on a treat as are my pepper seedlings and tomato seedlings. Trouble is the blummin' weather we have in the north-east. My little plants will have to stay on my kitchen windowsill until the end of May - hope those cukes don't get too tall!

Voted up!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Jools, growing your own veg is so rewarding and so exciting! everytime I 'harvest' something, I still pose for photos with the produce like trophies!

The weather has gone crazy - ever since they announced we were officially having a drought - it's rained!

Good luck with all your plants, I shall look forward to updates!

Many thanks for your votes and happy gardening:-)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

What a great idea for a party! I especially like how you got your guests to clean the veggies, which is my least favorite part of gardening! We've done "harvest dinners" with other gardening friends where everyone brings what they just picked from the garden and then we decide on and cook the dishes together, but this is a great way to do a similar dinner with people who don't grow their own.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Deborah, I love harvesting the veggies, but like you I hate the job of cleaning them up!! fortunately our guests enjoy that too!!

I love your idea of harvest dinners!

Thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated, have a wonderful day, best wishes Lesley

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