Nutrition Articles

The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow

Ease into the Garden with These Plants

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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.
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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

  • 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
  • BUDDHAKWAKE
    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
  • TMARROCCO
    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
  • RUNNINGINOR
    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
  • I would like to add Swiss Chard to the above list. It is SO EASY to grow, and you can pick and eat leaves from the plant, and the new edible leaves grow back so soon.

    Also, Swiss Chard is so nutritious. We are growing a variety called "Bright Lights" is does super will in hot weather. It hasn't slowed down in the heat/humidity of North Central Florida; another plus is that it is bug-free (unless like my Kale, which the catapillers ate.)

    We are also growing Malabar Spinach, a tropical variety of a spinach-like plant. It is highly nutritious, grows wonderfully in the heat, and tastes great in salads or cooked.

    LOVE growing my own food! No chemicals, plus the joy of watching them grow! - 5/23/2013 10:06:33 PM
  • YOGACHRISTA
    Nice article to read, even though I don't have a garden. Makes me realize the wonders of nature. - 5/23/2013 3:34:03 PM
  • The one on this list we have trouble with is carrots; the tiny seeds take 3 weeks to sprout and either wash away or dry out during that time. Otherwise we do OK, although cabbages are often ravaged by moth larvae inside where you can't see them. Our favorite tomatoes are Sungold, Early Girl, and poor-yielding Brandywines and other heirlooms. Favorite cukes are English, Japanese, Armenian, lemon, and pickling. A couple plants I love are kale and Brussels sprouts because here in New England I can harvest them into December and their flavor improves after a frost, they turn super sweet. With B sprouts, cut off the top tip of the plant when the sprouts have formed; this will force the sprouts to develop, but if you don't cut the tip they won't turn into little cabbages, still tasty but not much to 'em. Another is Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan, hard to find but sweet and easy to grow. I agree about Romaine, easy to grow and tolerates heat. You can harvest the outside leaves and the middle ones will keep growing--cut and come again. We generally buy seedlings because the soil takes awhile to warm here, and growing your own seedlings is difficult without proper light and warmth. From seed, easy ones are beets, scallions, lettuces, peas, beans, various greens. One seed company I like very much is Renee's Garden seeds. She grows seed from unusual varieties based on flavor and ease of growing; many of them are from other countries and never seen in stores. The wonderful and fun part of growing your own IS to use varieties not found in stores, because store vegies are grown for looks, storage and travel, not flavor. Things we usually don't spend space on because they are cheap to buy and/or hard to grow and/or can be harvested wild or commercially are berries, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, winter squash and pumpkins. I would kill to be able to grow good melons! But we rarely have the right weather. This year, though, I am going to try again because we built raised beds for everything else and have unused garden space to devote to them. Th... - 5/23/2013 2:35:28 PM
  • Thanks so much for this article! I had not been planning to plant a garden this summer, but feel motivated to do so after reading this! Why not have fresh veggies at my fingertips through the summer?

    Gail - 5/23/2013 1:21:32 PM
  • I think tomatoes are by far the easiest. Then peppers and then squash. Although you do have to watch out for squash bugs. Once you get them, they can wipe out your crop! I had huge problems with lettuce and spinach. Too difficult to manage the balance with water and sun. Maybe the mid-west isn't the place to grow them. I tried cucumbers once and they just didn't get too big.

    I haven't tried radish since I don't care for them and I haven't grown any herbs either. I am not fond of raw carrots. However, I did try onions and potatoes once and it was difficult to know when they would be ready because they are buried under the ground. It was nice to have green onions readily available, though.

    Happy gardening!

    rumbamel - 5/23/2013 9:36:37 AM
  • I'm growing all of these, and more! I love growing my own food. - 5/23/2013 8:33:18 AM
  • I have been trying Organic Gardening now for three years in the Carolina's. I finally realized the Raised Beds is the way to go instead of planting in red clay. I am doing Raised Row Beds and growing Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Strawberries, Blueberries, Tomato's Better Boys, Roma and Cherry. I also plan to add Radishes, Carrots, Green Beans. Everything seems to be growing great so far... Have been enjoying the Lettuce and Spinach. And yes Strawberries.
    My biggest problem is keeping squirrels out. My garden is totally Fenced now with Bird Netting over the top. I hope this does the trick. They are smart critters.
    Thanks for the article. I am saving it for my reference guide.

    Sharon - 5/23/2013 7:53:01 AM
  • MARIAS2011
    I've grown tomatoes and basil before, but this year I want to add a couple of items - like spinach and peppers. - 5/23/2013 7:44:41 AM
  • I have a pretty big garden. Every year I plant squash, italian string beans, baby lima beans, blue lake string beans, purple hue peas, silver queen corn, tomatoes, hot green peppers, regular green peppers, zucchini and my different kind of hot peppers. I love my garden. - 5/23/2013 6:31:38 AM

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