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.

7. Radishes
Radishes are ideal for beginner gardeners. Plant seeds directly into the garden in early spring or fall for a peppery addition to your favorite salads. Choose from Cheriette, Cherry Belle and Scarlet Globe.

8. Bell Peppers
Like tomatoes, starter bell pepper plants are widely available at nurseries and home improvement stores. They make a crunchy additive to salads, add a pop of color to soups, and act as a nutritious compliment to kabobs. Try California Wonder, Gypsy and Big Bertha

9. Summer Squash
Squash is a high yielding plant, so you will probably only need a few plants to feed an entire family. Squash plants dislike the wind, so be sure that your plot has some protection. Harvest when the plants are about 8-10 inches long. Your family will love Green Bush, Gold Rush and Sure Thing varieties.

10. Basil
An essential additive to cooking, this aromatic herb isn't just for lovers of Italian cuisine! You can grow basil in pots or in the ground—even indoors on a sunny windowsill. Sow seeds directly into the garden in early June in a sunny, well-drained area. When the leaves reach a desirable size, just pluck them from the plant and wait as the basil continues to provide fragrant and flavorful leaves that you can also dry and use long after summer is past. Genovese, Sweet and Magical Michael basils are good varieties to try.

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Member Comments

  • I love my veggie garden! Kale, lettuce, onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers.
  • I wish that I could get down onto the ground to be able to dig and plant a vegetable garden. Then again, I would probably have way too much produce in the end - especially since most of the veggies would be eaten by me :) I guess I will have to stick with the produce stand around the corner once they open up for the season.
  • Down here in hot Florida, we grown okra, banana peppers, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant! They love the hot, humid environment, and produce for a long growing season.
  • I need you get my basil planted. I love basil on tomatoes with a little balsamic vinegar. Last year I had no luck eithvtomatoes. I planted 5 in containers and got a total of 2 cherry tomatoes. I hope this year is better!
  • My favorite green beans are Fortex!
    I tip I learned a long time ago: When you plant carrot seeds, plant radish seeds in the same row. The radishes will sprout quickly so you can see the row, and you can harvest them without disturbing the carrots too much. By the time you harvest the radishes, the carrots will be sprouted.
  • As I was growing up we had about an acre for a garden. Raised all our own foods on our farm. Hard work but good foods once the crops were brought in. We also had our own meats that we butchered during late summer.
  • Dill so easy and spreads like wildfire. Anneheim peppers very very easy i also like a sunflower or two to shade the radishes. Bunnies always like to get into my mint and carrots. Im try some container gardening for the carrots and potatoes and strawberries this year to high for bunnies maybe. Easy yellow squash and cukes. As well as teacup herbs on picnic table.
  • Watch out for the "critters", especially deer, that will munch your growing vegetation before it gets a chance to produce anything.
  • "Easy to grow" depends entirely on what zone you live in. Squash will not grow for me because we are too humid.
  • Today it is easier to garden with sales of potting soil. You can even grow right in the bags in a pinch. I love harvesting from our container & plot garden. In FL we grow something every month except July-aug.
  • The most important things for me to grow are peppers and tomatoes because store bought can't even come close to comparing. I also love growing our own pumpkins for Halloween.
  • I used to love gardening in Florida, grew several of the items listed but now I'm in Arizona, and we don't seam to have dirt-- just hard packed clay. You can't even get a shovel into it. I just tried a potted tomato plant and it did alright, but had to fight the birds as soon as the tomatoes got any color.
  • These are great suggestions, though the best things to grow are what you and your household like to eat. Please do not use harmful chemicals, and do start your own compost pile or worm bin to reduce solid waste while making your own plant food.
    My dad and grandfather are/were both great gardeners, but I seem to have inherited my mother's less-than-green thumb. I did get few lovely tomato plants to grow from seeds and harvested two - yes TWO! - cherry tomatoes before my dog decided he needed to re-cultivate the dirt for me. Maybe I'll try radishes or carrots. If I recall, those seemed to grow with little fuss....

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.

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