Nutrition Articles

The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow

Ease into the Garden with These Plants

New to gardening? Worried that planting your first edibles will turn out to be a fruitless labor? Fear not, novice gardener! While not totally foolproof, certain plants are ideal for gardening neophytes who want to increase their chances of gardening success. Here's a list of the top 10 easiest vegetables you can grow, regardless of skill level or age.

1. Carrots
Find a plot of soil (or a deep pot) that is free from rocks and deep enough to handle this root vegetable. Rocky soil can result in crooked carrots that, while perfectly edible are not the most aesthetically pleasing. Carrots are ready for harvest when their tops breach the soil line. Scarlet Nantes, Danvers Half Long and Sweet Treat are three varieties to try.

2. Green Beans
There are many different kinds of beans, but "broad beans" are one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate. Bush beans are more productive, but broad beans are easier to manage. Pole beans, while easy to grow, also need a trellis. Beans freeze and can extremely well, too! Try Kentucky Wonder and Contender varieties.

3. Lettuce
A salad fresh from your yard is unbeatable! Luckily, lettuce--a vast category of plants that includes microgreens (tender lettuce greens that are chopped when barely a few weeks old), head lettuces, leaf lettuces, spinach, and arugula--is an easy plant to grow and maintain. Do successive sowings every two weeks to space out your harvest. Look for Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl or Rocket (arugula) seeds.

4. Cucumbers
If you let them, cucumber plants will sprawl, so provide your plants with ample space to stretch their roots. Try smaller varieties to make your own homemade pickles! Be sure to avoid planting cucumbers until all danger of frost has passed. My favorites are Diva, Straight Eight and Salad Bush Hybrid.

5. Spinach
Spinach is remarkably high in iron and is a wonderful addition to salads, omelets, and soups. You can pick it continuously once its leaves are of a reasonable size to encourage new growth. Check out varieties like Renegade, Melody Hybrid and Baby’s Leaf.

6. Tomatoes
With a little water and a lot of sun, tomato plants will grow and fruit all summer long! Most people prefer to buy starter plants from nurseries or home improvement stores, which is an easy, time-saving way to start. Tomatoes are fragrant and nutrient-rich, and nothing can beat the taste of a freshly picked homegrown tomato! You'll enjoy Big Boy, Beef Steak and Roma tomatoes.
Continued ›

Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

About The Author

Jenny Sigler Jenny Sigler
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Augustine and Olive. An avid gardener and baker, she enjoys writing about health and childcare topics to empower people to make healthy choices. See all of Jenny's articles.

Member Comments

  • EWAGNEV493
    My mom used to plant all of these except the basil in her garden every year, so this brought back a comforting memory for me personally! - 7/16/2015 6:46:29 PM
  • After many years of vegetable gardening I agree with most of the article. Personally though I have a very hard time with spinach in Maine It always bolts before I can harvest much or any. This year I started that in a container in a sun porch and was able to control the temperature better and managed to har vest a little - 7/16/2015 7:10:22 AM
  • Also, tomatoes need more than just "a little bit of water." Trust me on this, especially if you live in the south. Those plants, in my experience, need more water than any plant I've ever grown. - 6/20/2015 7:16:44 AM
  • Berries (which include peppers, according to biology) are easy to grow and very nutritious as well. I love growing jalapeņos and cayenne (and the others as well, but those are the ones I get every year). - 6/20/2015 7:15:38 AM
  • I want to add chives and mint to the list! Love them both!!

    There are also a whole lot of other plants that most people consider "weeds" that are not only edible, but delicious (dandelion & purslane). - 4/18/2015 8:48:57 PM
  • Don't forget chard! Love it! - 4/18/2015 5:48:32 PM
  • Wondering at the bean advice, it says to grow broad beans and then lists a pole bean, Kentucky Wonder and a regular bean, contender, no broad beans in sight. I have grown gardens for 50 years in all kinds of places and the best advice is to find out what grows best in your area and for your soil, everyone's soil is different and someone across the street may have great luck with one variety while you do not, keep experimenting! - 4/18/2015 7:42:01 AM
  • NAN130155
    Everything depends on your soil and the care you give them. Nothing as easy as this article suggests. - 4/18/2015 1:53:00 AM
  • Snap Peas & Snow peas are easy & a good use of vertical space. They're so good for snacks or stir fry but usually so expensive. I've tucked a short row at the end of a small raised bed of lettuce & it kept us in stir fry accents for a month.

    State home extension offices can be a great free source of info for plants that do well in your area. Can't wait til Spring! - 4/1/2015 12:07:31 PM
  • Oh, you left off the easiest, and the most rewarding. Beets, or beetroot, sprout quickly, are edible leaves stems and that precious bulbous root. It is very difficult to buy decent beets in the store and they are expensive and tiny, sold for the greens with golfball size roots. I get decent ones only in fall at the real farmer farmers market by the bushel. If I grow my own I can get not only nice roots for fresh hot veggies, and cold veggies, and pickled but I can also get better than spinach greens to cook. I've never picked very young leaves, but I bet I could make salad from leaves too. They are better than spinach cooked because they hold texture a little better steamed spinach gets slippery very quickly if you don't serve it real quick. - 4/20/2014 9:15:53 PM
    You guys forgot what is probably the easiest vegetable to grow of them all: the Sweet Potato. I've grown it in a desert in literally sand and triple digit temperatures, in Los Angeles with frost in hard pack clay (had to get the dirt wet to dig out the 30 lbs of sweet potatoes that grew from ONE potato). I've even grown them on the counter in my kitchen (I swear the vine coming out of it was growing an inch every two to three days just sitting on a shelf in the pantry). Just make sure it doesn't get too dry, and your sweet potatoes will grow almost like kudzu (which is actually probably the easiest edible plant to grow, just ask any southerner). - 4/16/2014 3:34:15 AM
  • Hey now, crooked carrots are pretty too! :D - 4/1/2014 11:37:09 AM
    I grow everything and anything, but find spinach to be my nemesis. It can be finicky to germinate, and can rot or damp off. Instead, substitute kale or swiss chard. Kale will fade or get buggy in the late summer. Chard on the other hand takes longer to get going, but will take you well into the fall and early winter, at least in the Northeast!

    For a super easy, charming radish, try Easter Egg. Kids will love the colors. - 3/13/2014 5:09:43 PM
    Where I live, In the cool coastal climate of the Pacific Northwest, basil is HARD to grow without the aid of cold frames. But CILANTRO is super, super productive, and so great to add to salads, salsa, etc.

    Also, peas and strawberries grow like weeds, much to the delight of my kids. - 7/1/2013 2:09:03 PM
  • I love this article! And it gives me some great ideas for what to do this weekend! How awesome would it be to have salads straight from your own garden! I think I'll start with pots, and see if I can move into an actual garden plot. I once grew tomatoes in pots and they were wonderful! - 6/11/2013 11:21:24 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 8! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.