Walking Guide

The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow

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 living in a geographic region that experiences a summer climate who want to increase their chances of gardening success. These 10 plants will flourish easily in a backyard garden or in containers--just add sun and water. Here's a list of the top 10 easiest vegetables you can grow, regardless of skill level or age.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Tomatoes

With a little water and a lot of sun, tomato plants will bear 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.
 

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.


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 complement to kabobs. Try California Wonder, Gypsy and Big Bertha.


Summer Squash

Squash is a high yielding plant, so you will probably only need a few 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.


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

good to know best ones for people like me who have a brown thumb to try Report
Time to get my garden going. Report
I used to garden. I don't have time for it now. It wears on me more than it's worth. Report
I grow my own my own vegetables. Report
I don't find any of these plants are easy to grow in North Texas. If the weather doesn't get to my plants the animals do. Report
i've grown many of these when ever i had a good place to do so Report
I wish I could grow all those. Instead, I am lucky if I can get some tomatoes to grow and maybe a couple of zucchini. Nothing else ever seems to grow. Report
Love growing some of my own veggies. Report
Very informative Report
Great article! Report
My DH built me raised waist height planters that I can do from my wheelchair. I plant tomatoes, beans, radishes, green onions & lettuce. Report
I've been growing and preserving food over 30 years. Here are a few things I've learned:

When you grow bell peppers remember to let the peppers change color before picking them because they're better that way, and having ripe peppers instead of green ones is one of the advantages of growing a garden. And grow hot peppers too. One of my favorites is jalapenos, which I pickle (using the same liquid I use to pickle cucumbers). Cayenne dries really well. I dry it in a dehydrator, pulverize it in a food processor, and run it through a screen to make cayenne powder. I use it in all kinds of things, even put a little in my fruit smoothie I have for breakfast.

Tomatoes are good for making and preserving excellent salsa and pasta sauce (among other things), so grow all you have room for (and grow lots of peppers too because they go in these sauces). I also slice them thin and dry them on a dehydrator, pulverize them in a processor, and run them through a screen. This preserves them very well and keeps the nutrition intact, and it doesn't take up much space in the pantry since it's concentrated. A 1:1 mix of this powder and water makes tomato paste; a 2:1 mix makes tomato sauce. I also add this powder to my salsa and pasta sauce to thicken it. This powder will last forever as long as you keep it dry. Also, don't forget that the greatest honor a tomato can have in life is to be featured on a BLT. And remember that cherry tomatoes have a better taste than grape tomatoes; the latter are a Roma variety, and while Romas are good for cooking, they don't taste as good as other varieties.

Kale is one of the best greens to grow, being a hardy plant and a superfood. I like to cut mine up and steam it and eat it with oil and vinegar dressing. I also dry it and pulverize and screen it, and when I don't have fresh greens I put a tablespoon of this powder in the fruit smoothie I have for breakfast. Based on informal experimentation, a tablespoon is roughly equal to a kale leaf the size of a dinner plate. So it's like adding a small sal... Report
NANAW12001
Now that we are older we went to container gardening. It’s easier on the back.
Thanks for the great information. Report
I should try this. I bet it is very satisfying. Report
PLCHAPPELL
I am going to try a couple in containers. Report
Walking Guide

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.