You can grow vegetables anywhere

VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

Here's a picture of Red Giant Mustard growing in a crack between the concrete garage floor and the asphalt driveway. I must have dropped some seeds there when carrying the mustard plants into the garage this fall to dry.

This picture was takens after at least four frosts, and 4 inches of snowfall that melted the next day.

Closer up view:

If mustard will grow in a narrow crack with lousy clay soil under the concrete and asphalt, it will grow just about anywhere.

What other plants will grow in extremely unfavorable conditions?


  • NarjissMomOf3
    NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Oh wow, so nice to see!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,407 admin

    I have seen a number of plants growing through cracks in sidewalks or pavement. Dandelion, Plantain, Burdock, Mullein, Chamomile. I'm sure there are many others. I have giant red mustard through out my garden. I planted it once and now it comes up everywhere. I usually leave a few plants where they have chosen to grown. Hard to keep hubby from weeding them, though. If its not in a row that he planted, out it goes.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had a borage plant that reseed itself and one of the seeds fell down a pipe that was supporting a fence 😂

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am constantly having to cut back weeds, grass, and even trees(!) that try to come up under my garage and house. If I didn't keep cutting the young shoots back, it wouldn't take long for the roots to start damaging the foundation. :-(

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    Makes me think of how for me when things are happy in my yard they'll grow anywhere with no effort and when they're not I can't get them to grow no matter how hard I try.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, and we sometimes make it harder by insisting on growing the things we want to eat instead of the things that grow best in our regions.

    Tomatoes are a little challenging this far north. They'll grow well and create a lot of tomato fruit, but the fresh tomato season is extremely short. You can't really put them in the ground before last frost (around May 23), and it takes heroic efforts to get them to survive even a light first frost (around September 23).

    I've never found a good substitute for the texture of a fresh tomato in sandwiches. :-(

    This year, for the first time, I planted two paste tomato plants, Granadero and Roma. Both did very well, cranking out fruit in quantity. So I canned some whole tomatoes and roasted others to make a sauce for freezing. The sauce has been wonderful on homemade pizza.

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When it gives you short summers, make tomato sauce. :-)

  • I have reseeded lanbs lettuce/corn salad, borage as @Lisa K already mentioned, calendula, Tomato, Salad, chive and pumpkins. especially the lambs lettuce is very hardy when it comes to growing conditions.

  • Slippy
    Slippy Posts: 117 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2020

    It is amazing how this great ecosystem can handle dang near every obstacle that we throw at it! God did indeed create a wonderful, marvelous rock on which we live!

    On our little slice of heaven, we are constantly amazed how things grow and regrow even after our efforts to make them NOT grow (brush hogging is a great example and weed killing in certain areas! Yes, I use glyphosate in some area, am very careful but it does its job and if you're safe its a great tool around the homestead)

    About 30 feet from my compost pile, down a slight hill and into a retaining "pond", my gray-water reclamation area exists. (My septic system is only for toilets and 2 vanity sinks, everything else goes into a gray-water reclamation area). Obviously, lots of undesirable things like cleaning detergents etc end up in our gray-water. And surprisingly, the area around the retention pond grow some of the most beautiful and vibrant plants. Doesn't make sense, but its true!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I didn't plant any claytonia (miner's lettuce) in my cold frames this year, but I have grown them there in past years. They are prolific self-seeders, and this year proved that.

    After I added compost during the summer and turned over the soil in those beds, a bunch of claytonia seeds started to sprout there, forming a thick bed of claytonia! I left them alone through fall, and they were still alive when I closed the cold frames for the winter.

    If all goes well, I will have salad greens very early next spring when the miner's lettuce comes out of dormancy and starts to grow again. A couple of years ago I had so much I was giving it away to friends at a time when most gardeners were still thinking about putting their first seeds in the ground.

    Grows what works well in your climate and soil!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We buy field peas for part of our fermented livestock feed. One day while loading something into the back of the vehicle we found a pea plant growing in the hinge area of our tailgate. One of the bags had torn and some was growing in the dirt that had accumulated in the space between the tailgate and the bed of the vehicle.

    Nature finds a way.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,131 ✭✭✭✭

    My experience with any mustard is that it will grow anywhere and is pretty much bomb proof.

    There is a crack between my basement slab and the patio. Night shade has decided that that's an ideal place to grow no matter how often I pull it up. Also cleavers love to grow all over everything.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bomb-proof edible plants that will grow anywhere are ideal for food resilience. We should all be working to grow more of them.

    Pea plants not only produce peas, but the young shoots and leaves can be used in salads. I grow some pea plants under lights in the winter and use them this way.

    Bulbing onions are hard to grow and quite fussy, but potato onions, shallots, walking onions, and scallions (spring onions or syboes) are easy. They are often perennial even in my cold zone 4 climate as long as I put a layer of mulch on them when winter arrives.

    Walking onions are thought to be close to the original wild onion that pre-dates human domestication.

    Strawberries are easier to grow than larger fruit plants, and they include wild alpine strawberries that are small but sweet. (These grow wild in my yard!)

    Check out less-known plants such as claytonia, mache, walking onions, alpine strawberries, and other hardy vegetables.

  • Silkiemamuska
    Silkiemamuska Posts: 99 ✭✭✭

    One of my favorite wild plants is purslane. Long ago I told my girls that it was "brain food" because it is so nutritious. From that point forward that was what it was called - BRAIN FOOD!😂