Most of know of Mel Bartholomew from his Square Foot Gardening fame.
His latest book is "High-Value Veggies" in which he lists and describes the results of extensive testing on what veggies we should plant and why.
Mathematically inclined Bartholomew studied the return on investment for dozens of typical garden plants and calculated their worthiness for our gardens based upon #1 productivity, #2 cost per pound if you had to buy them, #3 other usefulness.
Here are some of the lists he and his staff came up with.
The bottom 10 (make the least sense financially to grow): Potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, Swiss chard, asparagus, okra, beans, celery and green cabbage.
The ten that have the most financial reward for your garden space: Herbs, parsnips, cherry tomatoes, garlic, heirloom tomatoes, turnip, leek, winter squash, spinach and hybrid tomato.
At our house we love parsnips and, based on his list, I'm planting seeds. But we don't need very many turnips to have a happy year so we'll just buy a few at the farmer's market even though they are highly rated in financial terms.
You have to plant what you love to eat fresh out of the garden, no matter what, according to Bartholomew. And, how much thyme can you use in a cooking year anyway? So, if something on his top ten doesn't make sense for your family, choose something that does.
There are other cool lists in the book, too. For example, the most beautiful veggies for the flower bed, veggies for children's gardens, best plants for specific challenging soils, best edible flowers, etc.
Pick this up for yourself or a gardening friend or your child's school. It's around $16 at online vendors. I spent a few days taking my breaks reading it and was reminded of things I had learned in the past (and forgot) plus learned several new tips along the way.
Quick! What are the healthiest veggies you can grow? Get the book to find out.
It's published by the cool people at Cool Springs Press. 2016, paperback.