What are good vegetables for beginner gardeners?


yellow squash plant

QUESTION: What are good vegetables for beginner gardeners? I’d like to grow a few things, but I’ve never really had a vegetable garden before so I’m looking for EASY. – Tonette W

ANSWER: There are a variety of vegetables which work great for beginner gardeners. Some do better in warmer climates, while others prefer to grow in cooler conditions.

If you’re new to gardening, here are a few options to help you start growing your own vegetables anytime of the year:

1. Radishes

Radishes aren’t only an easy crop to grow, but they’re also fast. You should be able to receive a harvest from radishes in approximately one month.

However, keep in mind that radishes do best during cooler times of the year. Plus, they need a growing location with well-draining, aerated soil that’s also high in nutrients.

2. Summer Squash

When growing summer squash, it’s almost as easy as planting a few seeds and waiting for a harvest. Be sure to supply what the plant needs to ensure the crop flourishes.

As you grow summer squash or zucchini, be sure to plant in a location with ample sunlight, well-draining soil, and be sure the plants receive adequate nutrients. Don’t plant too many squash plants as each can produce six or more pounds of squash per plant.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce is a great beginner crop because it can be grown using a variety of methods. If you’re new to gardening, it might be best to go with a leaf variety of lettuce. The reason being is you can grow leaf lettuce in raised beds, containers, or traditional garden plots.

Spacing isn’t quite as big of a concern with leaf lettuce as it is with head lettuce, and it produces faster. Be sure to supply the lettuce with well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients. Lettuce also prefers cooler temperatures as a warm snap can cause the plants to bolt.

early season green beans before beans

4. Green Beans

Green beans are another great plant for the beginner gardener. Some people prefer to grow running varieties for easier picking. I, personally, prefer to grow bush beans because I think they’re more tender.

No matter the variety you grow, as long as you plant in well-draining soil, provide an area with plenty of sunlight, and supply water and nutrients to your green beans, they should produce without issue. Remember, the more you harvest green beans, the more they produce.

cucumber plant on a trellis with cucumbers

5. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another personal favorite of mine, and they’re wonderful for the new gardener as well. This crop is low-maintenance and produces a large harvest. To begin, pick the variety of cucumber you desire. This can range from burpless, pickling, or slicing varieties.

Be sure to plant cucumbers in nutrient-rich soil that drains adequately. They need sunlight and a trellis to help control disease. As long as you water your cucumbers and feed them periodically, they should provide a harvest in less than three months.

6. Carrots

Carrots are easy to grow, but it’s vital that you start them the correct way. If you plant carrots in a location with well-draining soil that’s also rich in nutrients and aerated, they should do fine. After you sow the seeds, thin them once they sprout, water consistently, and be ready to harvest in a few months.

However, if you don’t have these ideal growing conditions, it’s best to grow carrots in deep containers or grow a shorter variety of carrot, so they won’t need to dig as far in the ground to grow properly. Consider the growing conditions you can provide prior to picking your carrot variety to ensure you have a positive growing experience.

7. Spinach

Spinach was the first crop I ever grew. My husband built our first greenhouse in the dead of winter, and I needed something that could grow in a cold frame.

I chose this plant because it’s cold hardy, has shallow roots, and is low-maintenance. As long as spinach grows in a location with nutrient-dense, well-draining soil, and you thin the plants as needed and supply water, you should have a harvest in approximately one month.

8. Basil

Basil is a great plant to keep around your kitchen or in a nearby kitchen garden. To keep this plant happy, it needs well-draining soil, water, and plenty of sunlight.

However, should you choose to grow basil in a container inside your home, be ready to provide supplemental lighting as needed throughout the year. As long as the growing conditions are right, you can harvest basil year-round.

9. Chives

I love chives. They’re fresh, green, have a wonderful flavor, and are easy to grow. I’ve grown chives in the ground, in raised beds, and even in containers in a greenhouse.

Which gardening method you’d like to use is up to you. The main thing is to ensure you provide adequate growing conditions. Chives should be grown in a location with well-draining soil, receive regular watering, and be given full sunlight.

10. Mint

Mint is an easy crop to grow, but it does come with a warning. You must plant this herb carefully or it will take over.

In most cases, it’s best to grow it in a container. It’s a hardy crop, so in some milder locations, this herb should return each year. Be sure to supply mint with quality soil, water, and plenty of sunlight.

bed of oregano plants

11. Oregano

Oregano is another easy herb for the first-time gardener to try. This herb is hardy in planting zones four through ten and will spread if given the opportunity.

Like mint, it’s best to grow oregano in a bed where it can return year after year or in a container. As long as the herb is given water, sunlight, and quality soil to grow in, you shouldn’t face many problems with this plant. Remember to harvest it regularly to encourage more production.

corn growing in home garden

12. Corn

If you have a larger garden plot, corn could be a great crop to grow. It isn’t difficult to plant or care for, and it’s rather forgiving which is important for first-time gardeners.

When growing corn, be sure to plant it in a box formation instead of long rows as this protects it from wind damage. Corn should be sown directly in well-draining soil. It also prefers full sunlight, regular waterings, and should be provided nutrients throughout the growing season.

13. Tomatoes

Our last two options are great for the beginner gardener if you’ve purchased a seedling. Starting tomatoes from seeds might be tough for someone who is beginning to learn about gardening.

However, if you purchase a seedling, they’re simple to grow from this stage. Tomatoes need full sunlight, well-draining soil, and should be fed regularly. Be sure to stake your plants as well. Some tomatoes will face pests and diseases, but this is a great opportunity to learn more about proper plant care. Otherwise, you should be able to grow these plants and enjoy a lush harvest.

14. Peppers

When I was teaching my kids how to garden, I started them off with pepper seedlings. The reason being is they produce a harvest that kids enjoy picking, they come in a variety of colors, and peppers are forgiving.

Therefore, if you plant them in well-draining soil, supply them with water and nutrients, and plant in direct sunlight, you shouldn’t have many problems with peppers. Even if you forget to water peppers from time to time, they love heat, so they tend to bounce back after receiving the water they need.

You now have fourteen different options for plants you can grow as a beginner gardener. Pick a few that you enjoy eating and add them to your new garden as you develop important gardening skills.

More About Beginner Garden Crops

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/home-vegetable-gardening-a-quick-reference-guide

https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/gardening/gardening-101/vegetable-gardening-for-beginners

https://extension.psu.edu/beginning-a-vegetable-garden

corn in home garden with text overlay vegetable gardening good vegetables for beginner gardeners

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