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Easy Vegetables to Grow as a Beginning Gardener

I strongly believe that everyone can garden, and everyone should! It is the most rewarding and exciting activity to cultivate the earth and grow your own food. There is a bit of learning curve, however. Each vegetable needs a unique method of growing, harvesting, and time for planting. Some crops are more challenging than others, so I compiled a list of easy vegetables to grow that will be straightforward and rewarding when you’re just getting started!

A closeup of parsley leaves

A few notes: 

  • “Direct-sow” means that you plant these seeds directly into the ground. With some crops, it’s recommended that you either start seeds indoors or buy seedlings to transplant into your garden. Each of these three methods can be great options, but I think direct sowing is better for beginners because it is cheaper, easier, and a little bit more fun when you can see the entire process of seed to harvest. 
  • “Successive sowing” means that you plant another batch of seeds on some sort of schedule, so when one batch of a vegetable is ready to harvest, you don’t have to start over from the beginning, you already have another batch partially grown. Instructions for this are usually on the seed packet if it’s applicable to a vegetable and it’s a great option if you want to harvest all summer long!
  • Just because a vegetable is on this list doesn’t mean it’s foolproof. Everyone has different weather conditions, soil, light, and extraneous factors (such as pests of hail) that can make gardening more or less easy depending on the plant. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work out, it happens to every gardener no matter how long they’ve been working at it.
  • Lastly, if you have a vegetable that you love and really want to grow, do it! Research how to best care for that type of plant and go for it — most vegetables can be grown at home with a little bit of preparation and knowledge. Don’t feel like you have to stick to this list; it’s merely a starting place for anyone who wants to get started but feels intimidated. 

Radishes

Radishes are one of the most fun things to grow because you can direct-sow them earlier than most other plants and they are ready for harvest before anything else! In ideal conditions, radishes are mature for harvest in about 30 days and they can withstand freezes and snow storms. There are a few fun varieties and you don’t need much space to grow these root vegetables. Simply plant them according to the seed packet directions, thin them so they have room to grow, and keep them watered. You’ll know it’s time to pull them when you see the bright pink orb popping out of the soil.

Mesclun Baby Greens

If you want something that’s easy to sow, these are the crop for you! Mesclun seeds are “broadcast planted” which means you grab a handful and scatter them in your garden bed. They grow fast, look beautiful, and the tender baby leaves taste amazing! You can cut leaves off of these small lettuce plants continually and the plant will keep producing more until the summer heat causes them to bolt (flower). Harvest in the morning for the sweetest tasting lettuce.

Peach colored bean blossoms, growing on a trellis in a small space garden

Cilantro and Parsley

This tasty pair includes the best herbs for direct sowing. They are fun and easy to grow and they’re very resilient to cold weather and pests in my experience. I left some cilantro in my garden last fall and it successfully overwintered in my cold climate! I love these herbs because you can plant them into a full patch and trim what you need as you need it. If you see a little caterpillar on your parsley, let it be. It will munch your leaves a big, but it is most likely a tiger swallowtail butterfly-to-be and giving it some of your harvest is so worth it!

Green Onions

Green onions are another direct-sow, cold resistant, cut and come again crop. They don’t need a lot of space or tending to and they bring a delicious pop of flavor to just about any meal!

Green Beans

There are two types of green bean plants- bush beans and pole beans. For the beginning gardener I would always recommend bush beans! They are direct-sow summer crops (meaning they need to be planted after the last frost!) that give you a bounty of fresh green beans. These are so fun because it feels like everytime you check on the plants there are more beans ready to harvest! If you have a long growing season you can successive sow these, but I personally get beans all summer long with one sowing where I live. 

I hope this list inspires you to take your first steps in growing your own garden! Even if you just grow one of these in a pot, you will have so much fun seeing a tiny seed transform into a part of your dinner. If you have any questions, always feel free to ask me!

 Happy gardening!

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