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8 Easiest Vegetables to Grow Even If You Don’t Know Anything About Gardening

Raising a garden offers many benefits to the gardener.

It is much healthier to grow your own food. You are fully aware of what has gone into the product and know what you are eating.

Raising a garden also saves a lot of money.

Many are intimidated to take on the task, but starting a garden can be simple if you grow the right crops. There are many that yield a great product and don’t require a ton of work.

1. Lettuce

There are many types of lettuce that can be grown. You can grow leaf lettuce which is great for a mixed green salad.

You can also grow head lettuce such as Romaine or Iceberg.

The seeds can be found at most any general store and are very inexpensive. You also have the option of picking up lettuce plants at your local nursery.

Lettuce is a cool weather plant so it can be planted in early spring or fall. Lettuce seedlings can actually handle a little bit of frost. As long as the temperatures don’t dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit then the plants should do just fine.

If by some chance the temperatures do drop or if you experience some snow, just cover the plants with plastic or a sheet, and they should be fine. Lettuce can actually be grown year round in a cold frame greenhouse because of its hardiness in cold weather.

What makes lettuce so easy beyond the fact that it is cold resistant, is that it can be direct sown. When first learning how to garden, starting your own seeds can be a difficult task.

If you’d like to learn more about starting your own seeds, click here.

Planting items that can be directly sown makes planting a lot easier. Just be sure to go over where you directly sowed a few weeks later. You’ll notice that some areas probably have too many plants clustered together.

It is important to thin a few of those out so the plants have room to grow.

The key to lettuce is that you can plant small crops at a time and keep fresh lettuce coming in for months. This technique also keeps you from being overrun with too much lettuce at once.

It is a good idea to plant a fresh crop of lettuce every two to three weeks during the growing season.

Planting chives or garlic between lettuce crops will help with keeping pests off of your crops as well.

Be sure to plant your lettuce in well-drained soil with compost. It will be ready to harvest when the lettuce appears full grown. It is best to harvest lettuce early in the morning.

As the day goes on the sun will cause your lettuce leaves to go limp which is not prime for picking.

For more information on growing lettuce, click here.

Harvest time

65-80 days (depending on type)

Ideal temperatures

45-75 °F

Planting time

Spring, Fall

Spacing

6-18 inches (depending on type)

Germination time

2-15 days

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade

Best companion

Carrots, radishes, beetroot

2. Spinach

Spinach is a very easy crop to grow.

It is much like growing loose leaf lettuce. You will need to plant it in well-drained soil with compost. It can be planted in full sun or light shade. It is best to direct sow spinach.

When you plant your spinach seeds, you will need to go through and thin where you planted a few weeks later. Just be sure to remove any area where you see clusters appear.

Spinach can be planted year round in most climates as it is very cold weather friendly. It can actually survive in weather as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more information on growing Spinach, click here.

Harvest time

40-50 days

Ideal temperatures

35-75 °F

Planting time

Spring, Fall

Spacing

8 inches

Germination time

6-21 days

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade

Best companion

Cabbage family, strawberry

3. Green beans

Green beans are a simple plant to grow with an abundant harvest. They are another plant that you will need to direct sow.

There are many different types of green beans so you’ll need to decide what you are looking for. Some people love half runners. They are very tender beans, but they literally run along a vine.

You’ll need to be sure to grow these along a homemade trellis for easier picking.

You can get an idea of how to make a trellis here.

If you decide to plant half runners be advised they have strings. This means when you pick them and are going to fix them to eat you will have to string them.

You can learn how to do that from this video:

Other than learning how to do these few simple tasks, they are very simple to grow.

For those that don’t want to worry about stringing beans or picking beans from a vine, then a bush bean might be right for you.

The name explains them completely.

They are beans that the plant bushes out instead of running along a vine. You can just go along your row of green beans and pull them directly off of the bush. They also don’t usually have strings on them.

In order to plant green beans, you will need to plant them in well-drained soil where they will get adequate sunlight. Place a thick layer of compost over the row. Then you will directly plant the seeds into the compost.

Go over the row with a hoe or rake and lightly cover the seeds with the compost.

In a few weeks you will have tiny green bean plants sprouting in your garden.

Green beans require adequate water. You will notice when they need water as they start to shrivel up. If your green bean plants start to turn yellow it will be because your soil is lacking nitrogen.

You can buy blood meal or bone meal and place it around your plants. If you have rabbits, their poop will do the same job usually. Green beans are also a favorite for bugs to munch on their leaves.

If you see this, you can set bug traps like this one as a natural alternative to pest control.

Harvest time

55-65 days

Ideal temperatures

55-85 °F

Planting time

Early summer

Spacing

6 inches, 18 inches (row)

Germination time

8-16 days

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade where hot

Best companion

Potatoes, cabbages, radishes, peas

4. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another simple plant to grow. Some people really like them while others don’t. The important thing to remember about cucumbers is that even if you don’t like them on a salad, you might enjoy putting them in a jar as a homemade pickle.

When planting cucumbers, you can either plant them in your garden or plant them in containers.

Cucumbers can be planted directly into the ground, started indoors three weeks before planting, or you may purchase cucumber seedlings at your local nursery.

Either way, they are a warm weather crop that should be planted after the last spring frost.

If you choose to plant cucumbers in your garden, plant them in well-drained soil with ample sunlight. Be sure to use compost when planting them as well.

Cucumbers are a vine so as long as you give them ample space for their vines to run you will have ample amount of cucumbers. This is another plant that creating a trellis for their vines to run along would be a good idea.

If you decide to plant them in containers, you can plant regular full sized cucumbers or buy a different variety. They actually make a patio cucumber meant specifically to be grown in containers on a patio. If you decide to use this method, fill the bucket with dirt and compost.

Plant one cucumber plant per bucket. Be sure to place them in the sun and water the plant regularly. It is a good idea to fertilize your cucumbers every month or so.

Once the cucumbers grow to full size they are ready to be picked.

Harvest time

48-65 days

Ideal temperatures

70-85 °F

Planting time

Summer

Spacing

12 inches, 3 feet (row)

Germination time

4-13 days

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade

Best companion

Beans, carrots, parsley, cauliflower

5. Yellow Summer Squash

Summer squash is another easy plant to grow. It is recommended that you either start your squash seeds indoors or buy squash seedlings for a quicker harvest.

When planting squash be sure to plant them with compost into well-drained soil. Squash enjoy the sun so planting them in direct sunlight or where they will get majority sun throughout the day is important.

Squash grow on a vine as well so be sure to give them ample room for their vines to run. This can be done through a trellis or left to run along the ground.

Water your squash regularly and fertilize once a month or so and your squash should do just fine.

You will know the squash is ready to be picked when they have turned yellow and the stem is easy to break off of the plant.

Harvest time

48-65 days

Ideal temperatures

70-90 °F

Planting time

Summer

Spacing

12 inches, 3 feet (row)

Germination time

6-12 days

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade

Best companion

Peas, beans

6. Root Vegetables: Radishes and Carrots

Root vegetables are usually pretty easy to grow. Radishes and carrots are the easiest of them. I love to grow these vegetables because again, they can be directly sown into the ground or grown in a container.

I actually prefer growing these in containers.

The key to growing successful root vegetables is not overcrowding the seeds and have loose enough dirt for them to grow in. If you decide to plant these vegetables in the ground, you will want to be sure to really make the dirt loose when planting.

Be sure to plant in compost as well.

Radishes and carrots need to be direct sown. Once the seedlings start coming up you will need to go through and thin any clusters so your plants will have room to grow.

If you have clay or other really clumpy dirt, you will need to choose a variety of carrot that is stubbier so it can grow to full capacity without having to push through all of that hard dirt.

If you have good, loose dirt then you should be able to grow full size carrots with no problems.

Radishes can grow to full size regardless.

Maybe you have clumpy dirt but desire to grow full size carrots. That is where container gardening comes into play.

You will need a large container such as a 5 gallon bucket or planters that you could plant a tree in. Fill the bucket with loose dirt and compost. Then you will plant your seeds. You will have to go through a few weeks later and thin out the clumps of seedlings.

Be sure to water your vegetables as needed in the containers. Fertilizing once a month is a good idea as well.

Whether you decide to plant your root vegetables in the ground or in a container, knowing when to harvest is still the same. When the tops of the radishes or carrots get to be big, green, and bushy it is time to pull a few to test the size.

If you pull them, and they appear full grown then it is safe to harvest. If you pull a few to test, and they still have some growing to do then keep watering and fertilizing for a few more weeks.

Then go back and test your product again.

Harvest time

60-80 days

Ideal temperatures

60-70 °F

Planting time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Spacing

3 inches

Germination time

6-21 days 

Light preferences

Sun or partial shade

Best companion

Peas, lettuce, tomatoes

7. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a very flavorful vegetable that are terribly easy to grow.

Again, these plants are recommended to either be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outside or to just be purchased as seedlings from your local nursery.

Bell peppers love heat! Do not plant them until after all threat of frost has passed.

Be sure to place them in direct sunlight where they will get the most sun all day long. You will need to plant them 4-6 inches apart into well-drained soil and be sure to remember the compost. Then you water them regularly and fertilize on a monthly basis.

Be sure to keep down any weeds that grow around your pepper plants.

That is all there is to it!

In a few months you’ll see beautiful peppers. You’ll know they are ready for picking when they turn bright green (or yellow or red….depending upon what color you planted.)

When they are first starting to ripen they will have a lighter shade of their color. Once they turn that bright, waxy color then they are ready.

If you see them starting to fade then you have let them go too far.

Harvest time

60-80 days

Ideal temperatures

70-90 °F

Planting time

Early summer

Spacing

18-36 inches

Germination time

8-25 days 

Light preferences

Sun > 6 hours

Best companion

Basil, onions, carrots, radishes

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most sought after produces during the summer time. The reason is because there is no comparison when it comes to homegrown tomatoes. They taste like nothing on a store shelf anywhere!

The amazing thing is that tomatoes are super easy to grow too.

Just like peppers, it is recommended that they be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Otherwise, just pick up the seedlings that have already been started at your local nursery.

Tomatoes come in all varieties from Beef steak tomatoes, to yellow tomatoes, to purple Cherokee. The list goes on and on. Try all types until you find the one that thrills your taste buds because they all grow the same.

Once you have your seedlings, plant them in full sunlight in well-drained soil. It is important (just as with the peppers) to be sure that all threat of frost is gone before planting.

Tomatoes love the heat and hate the cold!

Be sure to add your compost around each plant when planting. Tomatoes will need to be watered regularly and fertilized monthly.

If you see your tomato plants turning yellow they are lacking nitrogen. All you will need to do is add some bone meal or blood meal around the base of each plant and water them. This should help add back the nitrogen that your plant is missing.

That is all there is to growing tomatoes. If you water, they will grow.

Once your tomatoes have turned their proper color and have grown to a good size then harvest them and enjoy.

The only thing that needs to be mentioned in planting both tomatoes and peppers is that you should never plant them together.

Bees will cross pollenate your peppers and tomatoes. This will ruin the flavor of your tomatoes. Be sure to plant a row of tomatoes, then plant another row or two of another crop, and then plant your peppers.

They can be in the same garden, but they need a few rows to separate them.

Planting your own garden can be so fulfilling.

Placing food on the table that you raised from start to finish is quite the accomplishment. Though growing a garden may seem complex, certain plants will give any beginner success.

Harvest time

60-100 days

Ideal temperatures

60-90 °F

Planting time

Early summer

Spacing

18-36 inches

Germination time

6-14 days 

Light preferences

Sun > 6 hours

Best companion

Chives, basil, carrots, peppers

Do you have any “go-to” vegetable that you plant in your garden each year? If you are new to gardening, what plant do you desire to grow the most?

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