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12 easiest vegetables to grow for beginners
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The easiest vegetables to grow are quick, pest-resistant crops that don’t require much maintenance in the garden. Here are 12 easy veggies to plant if you’re planning on gardening this spring!
Zucchini is well known as one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. These plants have few natural pests and also happen to produce more fruits than the average gardener knows what to do with. You’ll have enough for the grill, for your zucchini noodles, and for your neighbors!
Zucchini is an easy plant to grow directly from seed at home. Zucchini seeds are large in comparison to some other veggie seeds, making them easier to handle and plant (especially for children). You can also purchase small potted seedling zucchini plants at the garden center.
Plant your zucchini seeds or potted seedling plant into a large container like a plant grow bag, or directly into the soil of your raised garden bed or in-ground garden soil.
Recommended Types Of Zucchini: Desert, Spineless Supreme, Yellowfin, Black Beauty, Dunja, Fordhook, Noche, Eight Ball
Kale is another staple easy vegetable for the beginner’s garden. Kale is quite cold-hardy and can be grown in cooler seasons (sometimes right through the winter). Watch this YouTube video on 3 Types of Kale for Beginner Gardeners for more information on the easiest types of kale to grow (and which seeds to order).
Kale can be grown from seeds or by planting potted seedlings from the nursery. There are typically more varieties to choose from if you grow your kale from seed, but the time-to-harvest is quicker if you opt for planting starter plants. You can get a head start on your garden by planting a few potted kale plants, and also planting some kale seeds every few weeks to create an ongoing harvest.
Recommended Kale Varieties: Winterbor, Darkibor, Lacinato, Blue Ridge, Scarlet, Dwarf Blue Curled, Red Russian
Peas are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. They germinate easily, grow quickly, and are ready to harvest before you know it. Fresh peas from the garden taste nothing like the frozen ones, and they don’t take up much growing area either. They’re more than worth growing in your own garden!
Peas are most commonly grown directly from seeds. The seeds for growing peas are simply dried peas that have been selected and packaged for growing at home. Plant the seeds, water, and provide some sort of vertical stake or trellis for the stem to grab onto with its curled tendrils. You can also grow peas from baby seedling plants found at plant nurseries.
Plant your peas in a plant grow bag, raised garden bed, or in-ground garden soil. For the vertical trellis support, choose a DIY twig trellis, a simple metal trellis, or hang some mesh that the tendrils can grasp.
Recommended Types Of Peas: Sugar Snap, Super Sugar Snap, Sugar Ann, Oregon Giant, Green Arrow, Mr. Big Pea
Pumpkins, particularly small types of pumpkins and truly mini pumpkins, are a joy to grow in the garden. Many of the newer varieties are quite resistant to insect pests and squash diseases, making them a low-maintenance crop that you’ll be glad to have once autumn rolls around (learn more about when to plant pumpkins for Halloween).
Like zucchini (another squash), pumpkins tend to grow best when the seeds are planted directly in the soil. There is also much more variety available in pumpkin seeds (as opposed to buying starter seedling pumpkin plants). And if your young pumpkin plants do run into trouble early on, its always possible to pick up a couple seedlings from the plant nursery to take their place. Here’s a detailed guide on how to grow pumpkins organically in your garden.
Recommended Small Pumpkin Varieties: Half-Pint, Hooligan, Wee-B-Little, Jack Be Little, Small Sugar, Baby Bear, Casperita
5. Green beans
Green beans are a simple-to-grow garden veggie. Bush-type green beans grow in a nice rounded shape, while pole-type green beans grow as long vines (typically up a trellis). Bush beans are the easiest to grow as you don’t have to assemble a trellis structure. That said, if you already have a vertical gardening set-up, pole beans are very simple to grow too!
Green beans grow easily from seed. Similar to peas, green bean seeds are simply dried individual beans which can be planted to grow your very own beanstalk! Potted baby green bean plants are also easy to find at the garden center.
Recommended Green Bean Varieties: Blue Lake Bush, Blue Lake Pole, Top Crop Bush, Contender, Provider, Ferrari, Dragon Tongue, Kentucky Blue, Seychelles
Cucumbers are an easy vegetable crop for beginner gardeners and experienced growers alike. There are many types available, from pickling cucumbers to field cucumbers and even some fantastic specialty types of cucumber.
Cucumbers can be grown easily from seed in the garden or can be grown from starter plants purchased at the garden center. Take care to pick a variety that suits your needs, such as choosing a pickling type if you plan to make your cucumbers into pickles.
Recommended Cucumber Varieties: Corinto, Muncher, Parisian Gherkin, Green Light, Saladmore
7. Cherry tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes are a surprisingly easy vegetable to grow in the garden. While some giant heirloom tomatoes can be a challenge, modern hybrid cherry tomatoes are generally quite low-maintenance and forgiving. The key is to find a cherry tomato plant that grows vigorously and produces tasty tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes grow well in larger planters or in raised garden beds.
While tomatoes can certainly be grown from seeds, the process is not easy. Most beginner gardeners (and a fair share of experienced gardeners) choose to purchase potted seedling tomato plants instead of growing the plants from seeds themselves. Buy starter tomato plants at the garden center this year and save growing from seed for when you’ve got a dedicated indoor seed-starting setup (complete with plant lights).
Recommended Cherry Tomato Varieties: Sungold, Sparky, Candyland, Sakura, Cherry Bomb, Sunpeach, Super Sweet 100, Crokini
Tip: Sungold is commonly known as one of the overall top-tasting types of tomatoes (even in comparison to some giant heirlooms)!
8. Swiss chard
Swiss Chard is a low-fuss fresh specialty green to grow in the garden. These nutritious leafy plants can be grown in full sun, but can also be grown in partial shade. They’re lovely in salads and smoothies alike.
The colorful stems grow easily from seed at home. There is also usually an abundance of seedling plants available for purchase at garden centers (particularly Bright Lights Swiss Chard).
Recommended Types Of Swiss Chard: Bright Lights, Charbell, Ruby Red, Magenta Sunset
Lettuce can be easy to grow in the garden, depending on the type you grow. Some types of lettuce grow as loose leaves rather than a dense head of lettuce, which makes it easy to harvest a few leaves here and there. Many varieties grow as compact plants that can be grown in small-space gardens (even window boxes and patio container planters).
Lettuce is most commonly sown directly in the garden from seeds, but there are also seedling plants available at the garden center. Seedling lettuce plants are often nearly large enough to enjoy as baby greens! Some types of lettuce easily regrow new leaves (called cut-and-come-again varieties).
Recommended Lettuce Varieties: Red Sails, Tom Thumb, Buttercrunch, Green Saladbowl, Red Saladbowl
Carrots are another root crop that grows easily in the garden. These root vegetables are a favorite for kids gardens due to the pure joy of harvesting them in the late summer and early fall. Carrots grow particularly well in raised-bed vegetable gardens, where the roots are less likely to encounter dense, hard soil or rocks.
Carrots are most commonly planted from seeds. There’s a wide variety of types to choose from, including some varieties that store well for a long time, some gourmet types, and others packaged in a rainbow of colors.
Recommended Types Of Carrot: Nantes, Danvers, Bolero, Sugarsnax, Kuroda, Purple Haze
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetable plants to grow. Sometimes they even start growing on their own in the bag from the grocery store! One of the easiest ways to grow potatoes is in a grow bag planter. By growing potatoes in a container like this, you avoid the arduous process of digging into the hard ground to find and harvest the potatoes. It is terribly disappointing when you’re digging up potatoes and accidentally slice a potato with your shovel! Skip the digging and grow potatoes in a 42-quart/40L size grow bag (about 18″/45cm tall).
Potatoes are grown in the garden from “seed potatoes”. Seed potatoes are just regular old potatoes that have been grown and selected to be disease-free and suitable for producing new plants. That said, regular old grocery store potatoes that have sprouted can also be planted as an experiment. Look for small bags labelled “seed potatoes” at your local garden center or hardware store.
Recommended Types Of Potatoes: Yukon Gold, Adirondack Blue, Kennebec, French Fingerling, Caribe, Red Gold
Radishes are one of the quickest-to-harvest veggies to grow in the garden. These tasty roots develop quickly from seeds into flavorful vegetables. Many varieties are available in addition to the grocery-store favorite types.
Radishes are most often grown in the garden directly from seed, but starter plants are also sometimes available from the garden center. Starter plants may only need to be in the garden for a month before harvest!
Recommended Varieties Of Radish: Rover, Cherry Belle, Bacchus, Sora, Easter Egg, Roxanne, Rivoli
More vegetable gardening tips for beginners
Check out more veggie garden tips from Home for the Harvest:
This article about the easiest vegetables to grow, by Mary Jane Duford, was first published on the gardening blog Home For The Harvest.