Easy to Grow Vegetables
Set yourself up for success in the garden. There's no need to be an expert to grow your own veggies. Start with something bound to be plentiful. Here are 6 different vegetables that are easy to grow and are perfect for beginners.
This quick-growing vegetable is satisfying to grow because it's one of the first in the garden to mature. Plant when the soil is just thawed enough to work.
The seeds are a fairly good size and are easy to plant making them a good starter veggie for children as well. Plus the satisfaction of pulling root vegetables out of the soil is an experience we all need to have.
Remember that one seed equals one radish. In order to have plenty of radishes for munching, plant about 10-20 seeds in successions of two-week intervals. Harvest when they are small to avoid them becoming pithy. Don't be afraid to try a few varieties to see just how unique radish flavors can be.
Radishes have many culinary uses but our favorite is pickled radishes. Find our pickled radish recipe here.
Kale is a great plant to grow for beginners for several reasons. This "cut and come again" vegetable sets you up for success not only because it will boost your confidence but it will keep you and your family fed from fall through spring.
Since you well know, cooking kale makes it shrink quite a bit. Make sure you plant enough plants to keep harvesting over and over. 3 different varieties are nice to have on hand. Depending on the size of your family and just how kale crazed you are, consider growing about 4-6 plants per two people.
Kale plants do well in containers, raised beds, and directly in the ground. You can even tuck them into your existed flower beds.
Keep your eyes on the leaves underbelly for signs of aphids. Plant aphid-loving plants, such as milkweed, next to it to help deter them from the kale. Think of it as a sacrificial plant. Try to catch aphids early on and either hose them off with a strong spray or introduce ladybugs at the first sign. You will be surprised just how fast they will get these buggers under control.
Before I go on about how easy it is to grow cucumbers, let me say that cucumbers really do best in cooler climates that lack long hot summers. With that said, it's not entirely impossible to grow cucumbers in the hot southern states, but focus on varieties bread for those conditions and be mindful of when you start your seeds.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's talk about why we love growing cucumbers. Large seeds make them easy to plant, and as long as they are trellised and have sun and good soil you can almost guarantee success.
If you're like me and have any unsightly areas in your yard (for instance a run of chain link fence ) these are perfect for covering up such spots.
Be mindful of your spacing once your seeds are established to prevent over crowded plants. Also consider growing both a pickling variety and a slicing variety.
Of course, you can eat the cucumbers fresh and dipped in hummus, but when you grow them yourself you're sure to have extra to spare. If you find yourself in this predicament, find our quick pickle recipe here.
Surely everyone loves tomatoes. We also know that sometimes they are intimidating to grow. Try starting with a cherry tomato to set yourself up for better success. Cherry tomatoes grow faster than larger tomatoes and typically produce more fruit.
Try growing a variety that doesn't grow very tall in order to have more luck taming it in a tomato cage. We recommend using a Square cage as opposed to the round cone-shaped ones.
If you live in an area with a short growing season, consider starting your tomatoes inside using a seed starting kit. However, if starting seeds indoors sounds too overwhelming, head to your local nursery and purchase a nice large plant to get you started. When transplanting your seed starts or potted starts into a raised bed or the ground, we recommend burying 2/3 of the plant under the ground. Remove the side shoots on the lower 2/3 of the plant and bury the stem in good mix of soil. Every part of the plant under the ground will establish roots and make your plant stronger in the long run.
One last thing, if you live in a hot climate, make sure you grow varieties well suited for heat tolerance. Check your state university's agricultural website for tips on what varieties to grow and when to plant.
Lettuce in general is pretty easy to grow, but we love arugula, particularly for its many uses. It also takes up very little space and can be grown well in containers.
This fast-growing vegetable grows well in all climates and is shade tolerant. Plant in the fall in southern states. To plan these tiny seeds, cast them in the soil in clusters then thin them out once they are about an inch tall. I know it's hard to toss out your hard work, but try using them as a garnish. Thinning them out will help them grow more hardily and avoid bolting.
To enjoy a plentiful, always available harvest, plant in a 2-week succession. Harvest when the leaves are small for a sweeter taste or let them get large for a sharper spicier punch. Cut the leaves to promote more growth. They will generate more leaves if the root is left in the ground.
There are two types of green beans, pole beans, and bush beans. These terms refer to how they grow. Pole beans, as you might imagine grow in a vine fashion and require some kind of trellis or "pole" like structure to grow up. Bush beans are more compact and grow without support. Choose what form works best for your space, keeping in mind that pole beans actually take up less space because they grow vertically. Your trellis should be taller than the average height of the plant for the best success.
Beans are so so plentiful, and the more you pick the more they produce. Be sure not to let them get too big, the larger the pods the more fibrous they become. If you have more beans than you and your neighbors can eat, try blanching them and freezing them. You'll be surprised at how fresh they taste reheated in a skillet.
The large sized beans are easy to plant and good for children's gardens. Consider letting some pods go brown on the vine to save for future seed.
We hope you find this guide useful when choosing what vegetables to grow. Just remember that the best vegetables to grow are the ones you eat already. Grow your favorites and don't be afraid to mess up. Becoming a better gardener is all about learning as you go, and letting each season build your confidence. If you need help planning your garden, let us help you build a garden with our custom garden layouts. Or start with one of our seed kits that come with a garden layout design and a list of additional supplies needed.