Powerhouse Veggies
Healthy Eating

Powerhouse Veggies

Easy-to-Grow Nutritional Powerhouse Veggies

It’s so wonderful to eat well, and growing your own vegetables can be an exciting and rewarding experience!

I asked Master Gardener and super nice all-around person, Kim Nelson, to share some of her expertise with you here.

I know you’ll enjoy what she has to share!


Life is fast-paced, and it might seem logical to let limiting beliefs of time, space, and knowledge control your choice not to grow vegetables. If you do, you’ll miss out on the tastiest, least expensive, and most nutritious veggies you might ever eat.

Growing herbs and vegetables does take time, but not that much. The benefits of investing a small amount of time to strategically plan and prepare a garden will pay dividends in return.

The right selection of plants strategically planted in even the smallest space can yield a decent harvest. The rewards of this homegrown produce include higher nutrient levels, fresher veggies, and more flavor than even organic produce in your local grocery store.

Keep reading to learn how home gardening can be accomplished with minimal space. I’ll look at how to prolong harvests to make the best use of time. I’ll also compare the nutritional advantages of homegrown produce to store-bought.

My goal is to break down and replace any limiting beliefs you might have with knowledge that inspires you to grow your own nutritional powerhouses no matter the space available. Whether you’re a novice or expert gardener, I’ll show you how easy and beneficial it can be to grow your own vegetables.


Easy-to-grow Veggies and Herbs for Limited Space and Time

A successful garden begins with plant selection. Take the time to understand and choose plants best suited to your growing conditions. This is a key factor because no two plants are exactly alike.

Plants that offer high nutrition and yield, with low maintenance, and that adapt to small spaces include leafy greens, herbs, microgreens, scallions, tomatoes, and peppers.


Leafy Greens

There’s a reason Popeye ate spinach. It and other leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses. Most leafy greens are well suited to container gardens in partial sun and are easily adapted to small patios. Some lettuces will even grow well on sunny indoor windowsills.

These greens prefer temperatures less than 85°F and tend to bolt in higher temperatures. They will continue to grow, and will extend your harvest, if outer leaves are harvested first and inner leaves are left to grow.  All can survive brief mild freezes which “sweetens” the taste of kale, making it less bitter.



Microgreens are powerhouse veggies – they’re leafy greens on steroids! They are considered a superfood because of the massive nutrition they provide. When it comes to choosing which microgreens to grow, it can be difficult because there are so many options.

Three of my favorites include radish, arugula, and mustard. Radish microgreens are known for their peppery flavor and vibrant colors. Arugula have a distinctive nutty flavor and are a favorite among home gardeners, including me! Mustard microgreens tend to have a spicy kick which makes them a popular choice.

The best part about microgreens is they may be quickly grown year-round on a kitchen counter with indirect sunlight. This makes them easy to grab and use in salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.



Herbs are another excellent choice for both indoor and outdoor gardens. When grown indoors, they require a sunny window and will produce even more with supplemental light from a grow lamp. As with leafy greens grown indoors, herbs are easy to use and will continue to yield when continuously and carefully harvested.

Aromatic basil is a staple herb, available in multiple varieties, and can be used in more recipes than we realize, including drinks and desserts. It is suited to container gardening and transitions well moving from outdoors to indoors. This is good as it will not tolerate freezing temperatures or those close to freezing.

Mint is the most resilient herb I’ve grown and can quickly spread if left unchecked. Therefore, it is best grown in containers. I grow peppermint and spearmint as perennials where I live in hardiness zone 8, and they can survive winters in much colder climates.

A third easy-to-grow herb is parsley. It’s versatile and adds flavor, freshness, and nutrition to a variety of dishes. It will grow in containers or small garden plots. In cooler climates it’s an annual and in my climate it’s biennial, meaning the plants die each year but reseed and new plants grow the following year.


Scallions and Chives

Two of the simplest powerhouse veggies to harvest and use are chives and scallions. Both will grow outdoors, but chives are especially suited to an indoor windowsill garden. This makes them easy to use when preparing meals. Using kitchen snips, it’s easy to trim the amount desired by giving chives a “haircut”. As with herbs and greens, frequent harvests promote continued growth.


Tomatoes and Peppers

Compact determinate varieties of cherry tomatoes are well-suited to grow in containers and hanging baskets. Tomatoes require 6-8 hours of sun per day, so they prefer to be grown outdoors.

When choosing varieties, determinate are smaller, grow to a specific height, and have a shorter growing season than indeterminate. They require little to no pruning and are easier to handle in a small space, which makes them an excellent choice for a low-maintenance garden. The abundant sweet, bite-sized fruit is full of nutrients and can be enjoyed fresh or added to salads and snacks.

Peppers may be last on this list but are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can grow. Certain pepper varieties, such as bell peppers and chili peppers, thrive in containers or small garden spaces. Pepper plants like sun and moist soil that is not overly so and need occasional pruning. In return for this care, they will yield a generous crop of flavorful peppers for culinary use.


Nutrient Value of Vegetables

It’s no secret that vegetables are nutritious. And it’s probably not surprising to know that nutrition, along with health benefits, are the biggest driving forces prompting us to eat them. However, did you know the nutritional values of vegetables vary when we compare home-grown to store-bought, even if the store-bought veggies are organic?

Studies show that homegrown vegetables have higher levels of phytonutrients. This is due to several factors such as variety grown, ripeness at harvest, post-harvest handling, and time-lapse from harvest to plate. Freshness is a critical determinant of nutrient retention. The shorter the time from harvest to consumption, the higher the level of phytonutrients.

In short, home gardeners can optimize the nutritional quality of their produce by selecting nutrient-dense varieties, cultivating healthy soil, and harvesting at peak ripeness. Add to that the harvest-to-plate time can be minutes compared to days, weeks, and in some cases, even months to that of the commercial supply chain.

The commercial supply chain is challenged to preserve the freshness and nutrient content of veggies. They face challenges that include transportation time, handling and distribution, and the fact that the vegetables must be harvested before they are ripe to ensure they are not overripe when they reach the market.

This process exposes vegetables to conditions that can degrade their nutritional value. Couple these with further delays due to transportation distance, storage conditions, and market demand, and it’s easy to see how the commercial supply chain affects the nutrient values in vegetables.


Starting your Garden

The decision to grow vegetables is personal. I like the idea of providing the freshest, best tasting, and most nutritious food possible for my family. You have to make your own decision about why you want to grow vegetables. As with most new things, vegetable gardening may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.

Begin with a plan that includes what plants and vegetables you want to grow followed by the space you have available for the garden. Invest time in the beginning and make well-thought-out choices. This will allow you to enjoy the best-tasting, least expensive, and most nutritious veggies you might ever eat.


Kim Nelson was introduced as a young girl to vegetable gardening by her parents and grandmother. This left her wanting to learn more about growing plants so she became a Master Gardener in Colorado and more recently in Texas. Read more of her articles about gardening on her website, VeggieGardenHQ.com


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.



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