If you’re an aspiring gardener and taking the first steps toward planting, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of vegetable gardening. But the truth is, you have nothing to stress about. Gardening can be fairly simple and oh-so gratifying, especially when you know which are the easiest vegetables to grow.
Although the idea of starting your home garden may feel daunting, there are millions of people around the world doing it, and they do it successfully. If they can do it, you can too!
With that in mind, we’ve created this beginner’s guide filled with top tips and tricks on how to get started, plus a list of the 11 easiest vegetables to grow. You’ll learn the best time to start sowing seeds, harvesting methods, and hacks to get the most out of your veggie garden.
Tips To Get You Started
The first thing to do is assess your space. Do you have a backyard, a small terrace, or a balcony?
If you have ample space, then a garden bed or a raised bed may be an option. Garden beds are box-shaped wooden structures specifically made to grow plants. All you have to do is add your preferred potting soil, sow your seeds, and you’re good to go.
If you’re worried because you only have a tiny balcony or a small space, fear not. The veggies on this list also thrive in outdoor planters — large containers designed to grow veggies, herbs, and flowers.
When you’re just starting, it’s best to opt for a potting mix instead of using the soil in your garden. These blends are engineered to provide the best growing conditions and appropriate nourishment to your baby plants. Plus, garden soil may contain pathogens or be depleted of essential nutrients that play a vital role in your veggies’ health.
Therefore, the safest course of action is to go for a veggie potting mix, which is readily available in any garden center.
Now, keep in mind that every plant has different soil needs. Some require soil with a higher water drainage capacity, while others prefer a more humid environment. So before you pick your potting soil, you should select the veggies you’ll be growing.
When you decide to start your own vegetable garden, you can begin by either planting seeds or seedlings (young plants). If you’re a beginner, consider seedlings instead of seeds. Seedlings don’t require you to go through the whole process of germination — that is, when seeds start sprouting from the soil.
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to start with seeds, it’s vital that you read the seed packets carefully. They contain important information about your plant.
Most seed packets will tell you:
- The depth you should sow seeds
- The spacing between seeds
- The recommended soil type
- Special instructions
- When to sow
- When to harvest
If some of this information is missing, don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who works at your local plant nursery.
If you’re looking for an easier way to grow your veggies, grab yourself a beginner-level growing kit. They provide you with all the elements to get started, don’t take up a lot of space, and are engineered to grow indoors!
Back to the Roots has three fantastic kit options that will allow you to grow your own organic cherry tomatoes, spicy chili peppers, and even gourmet mushrooms. If you love fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of your favorite dishes, check out their super cool garden-in-a-can that’ll grow year-round!
11 Easiest Vegetables To Grow At Home
Now that you’ve got the essentials covered, it’s time to find out the best veggies to start your home garden. Planting easy vegetables will give you the chance to master the basics and feel more confident before you shift towards more challenging varieties.
The following veggies are on this list because they’ll help to drastically reduce your workload while still rewarding your efforts with a bountiful harvest.
Also known as rocket, arugula is a versatile leafy green. You can add it to salads, make soups, or sprinkle it on top of your Saturday night pizza. It has a spicy, peppery taste that will take your dishes to the next level.
Arugula is a late summer and early fall crop, and it doesn’t do well with scorching hot temperatures. So wait until the temperatures go down a bit before planting your arugula seeds or seedlings.
Sow new seeds directly into the soil every 2 to 3 weeks during their growing season so you can keep harvesting continuously. Wait until the leaves are about 2 to 3 inches long before picking them.
The leaves taste better when they’re young. When you’re collecting arugula, you can either opt for pulling the whole plant or cut individual leaves, as they’ll grow back again.
They love well-drained, moist soil, and thrive in either full sun or partial shade.
When you sow arugula seeds, make sure you plant them 1 to 2 inches apart to allow for enough space for them to grow.
Carrots are not only one of the easiest vegetables to grow but they’re also one of the most fun, especially for kids.
Remember when your mom used to tell you that eating carrots made your eyes pretty? Well, she wasn’t wrong. Carrots contain a substantial amount of vitamin A, which plays a vital role in maintaining good eyesight. It also boosts your immune system and supports your liver, heart, and lungs.
When you’re selecting your carrot soil, make sure to choose a loose variety that does not compact easily, as carrots need freedom of movement to grow straight. Add plenty of soil to your carrot planter as they must have space to grow downwards.
Carrots can be sowed straight into your garden bed or container of choice, and they thrive best under full sun or partial shade.
When you sow carrot seeds, keep a distance of 3 to 4 inches between each one. Place them on top of the soil, gently sprinkling a few more pinches of potting mix to cover them.
The best time to start planting carrot seeds is 4 to 6 weeks before your average frost date. If you have no idea when that is, use the Back to the Roots grow calendar to find out.
Most carrot varieties take 60 to 80 days until they can be harvested. Carrot leaves can also be eaten when added to a salad or a nice, warm veggie soup.
Chard — also known as Swiss chard — is incredibly easy to grow and it’s super productive, making it a perfect veggie for beginners.
Even though it belongs to the beet family, chard is grown and much appreciated for its delicious and nutritious leaves.
When you’re selecting your chard variety, it’ll be tempting to go for the pretty rainbow variety with its purplish, red stems.
We can’t deny it will give a vibrant touch of color to your small garden, but if you prefer productivity over beauty, then white-stemmed chard is the way to go. Not only will it grow and mature faster but it will also produce more leaves.
Plant seeds 3 to 4 inches apart, 2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. When you harvest, collect the outside leaves and leave the rest intact as the plant will grow new ones. This will ensure you’ll have a continuous harvest while the season lasts.
4. Green Beans
Beans come in so many sizes and shapes you’ll have a hard time picking just one.
When selecting your variety, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Beans fall into one of two categories: bush beans or pole beans.
Pole beans grow vertically as climbing vines, and they can reach up to 10 to 15 feet. For that reason, they require some sort of support structure, such as a trellis or a pole, hence the name. They produce continuously and usually need to be harvested every 2 to 3 days during their growing season.
On the other hand, bush beans grow more compactly — usually up to 2 feet tall — and do not require any significant extra support (although small wooden sticks may be helpful). They have a shorter growing season and produce less than pole beans.
If you’re just starting your garden, then green beans are one of the best choices. They’re versatile and can be grown as both bush or vining pole beans, whichever is most convenient for you in terms of space.
No matter which type of bean you go for, they all love warm soil, so make sure you pick a sunny spot for them. Green beans are one of the varieties that thrive in container gardening, so they’re a fantastic option if you go this route.
When sowing bean seeds, keep a 6-inch distance between them and water regularly. Most species are ready to be harvested 50 to 60 days after germinating.
5. Leaf Lettuce
Of all the salad greens, leaf lettuce is probably the most popular one. The great news is that they’re also one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They don’t require a lot of space and grow really well in containers and garden beds.
Leaf lettuces are early spring veggies, and even though they don’t like hot temperatures, they can grow in the summer months as long as you water them consistently. The best time to start them is two weeks before the last spring frost.
Leaf lettuce loves plenty of water and full sun or partial shade. When you harvest, pluck the outer leaves and leave the inner heart intact, instead of pulling the whole plant out of the ground. When you do so, you’re encouraging it to produce more leaves, which will ensure you have fresh salads for a longer period.
Wait until the leaves are 3 to 4 inches long before harvesting and start a second crop once the hot summer sun is gone.
Peas are the perfect veggie to grow in cool weather. Just picture yourself picking fresh peas from your garden, opening their pods, and finding these beautiful green jewels.
If you usually buy frozen or canned peas, we guarantee that once you try them fresh, you’ll never go back.
There are three main varieties of peas: shell, snow, and snap peas. One of the coolest things about this veggie is that the more you harvest, the more they produce. They’re the gift that keeps on giving!
If you have too many peas (is that such a thing?) and don’t know what to do with them, pop them in the freezer. You’ll have your own homegrown peas ready and available whenever you’re craving a creamy and rich pea soup.
Just like beans, peas come in both vining and bush varieties, so make sure you select one that fits your needs. Check the seed packets to confirm what you have.
You can sow them directly into your outdoor container or garden bed, keeping 4 to 6 inches between the seeds. Start 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost.
Most species take 40 to 60 days to be ready for harvesting.
A quick tip: Pick the pods when they’re young for sweet and tender peas.
Along with tomatoes, peppers are the ultimate hot weather veggie. They always start green and then — depending on the species — ripen into red, yellow, orange, or purple.
Each variety has a slightly different taste. While orange, yellow, and red bell peppers possess a fruitier, sweeter flavor, green and purple ones have a more bitter and almost “grassy” tang.
One of the great things about peppers is that you can eat them while they’re still green, and they’ll always be tasty and flavorsome. This means they can be picked at any size and whenever you prefer.
This heat-loving plant should be sowed directly into your outdoor planter once the danger of frost has passed.
All peppers, including bell peppers and their spicy relatives — such as jalapenos, chilis, cayenne, or the deadly Carolina reapers — prefer slightly moist soil and grow stronger when provided with a stake.
Plant bell peppers with an 18- to 24-inch distance between the seeds to allow for enough space for them to grow. For smaller, hot pepper plants, 6 to 8 inches should be enough.
Out of all the veggies on this list, radishes take the prize for the easiest vegetable to grow. They are the quickest to pop out of the ground and one of the fastest-growing cool-weather crops.
The best time to start them is in early spring or late summer, and they take about 20 to 40 days to be ready for harvest. This vibrant root vegetable is perfect for growing if you don’t have a lot of space, thanks to its small size.
If you prefer a sweeter tasting radish, harvest them when they’re still young. Be aware that if you grow them during the summer season, heat will make them spicier. If you’d like to avoid that, place them in an area with shade or partial shade to prevent them from becoming more pungent.
Like most veggies on this list, start seed sowing 4 to 6 weeks before your average frost date.
9. Green Onions
Also known as spring onions, scallions, and bunching onions, green onions are the ultimate crunchy and flavorful garnish.
No matter what you call them, they pack plenty of sweetness and tenderness. Unlike their famous cousin — the classic onion — they’re more pleasant to eat in raw form for their mild taste.
Spring onions are ready for harvesting in just 3 to 4 weeks after sowing, so you can chop and sprinkle them on your favorite dishes in just about a month’s time.
Make sure you sow them 2 to 3 inches apart and plant lots of them! If you do so, you’ll have a steady supply of this marvelous, flavorful veggie to add to your salads, soups, and Asian dishes.
The mighty tomato is undoubtedly the most popular fruit — yup, tomato is a fruit! — among gardeners. Even though they may not be as easy to grow as the other items on this list, they are well worth the extra effort.
The trick is to opt for a small, quick-growing variety. In other words, the larger the fruit, the longer it takes to grow. This means that there’s a higher chance it may run into trouble, like pests and mildew — which are common in these plants.
Grape, plum, and cherry tomato plants are the best varieties to grow, especially if you don’t have a lot of space. They require a lot of sun and benefit from some sort of support, like stakes or tomato cages.
These smaller species are less fussy than large-sized tomatoes and super versatile. They can be added to salads, chopped and popped on top of bruschettas, or as is for a healthy afternoon snack.
Plant them after the last frost, keeping a distance of 12 to 14 inches between them. As always, read the seed packet to double-check that as it may depend on the species of tomato.
All hail zucchini, the king of summer squashes! If you need a boost in confidence when it comes to gardening, this veggie will help you. It grows so fast that if you blink, you may find that your pickled-size zucchini has turned into a space rocket!
All jokes aside, these nutrient-rich veggies are incredibly prolific and grow like crazy. They are one of the most versatile greens in the plant world: they can be sliced and grilled, blended in soups, added to stir-frys, or stuffed with veggies. The possibilities are infinite.
Zucchinis grow really well in containers and do not require a lot of space. Plant them 2 to 3 feet apart — you read that right — as they can get quite big.
The best time to start them is just after the danger of frost has passed, and they take about 30 to 60 days to be ready for harvesting. To ensure new growth, you must harvest regularly; otherwise, production slows down.
A quick tip: Do not let them get super huge! The bigger they get, the tougher they become. Keep an eye out because they can have a growth spurt in literally two days.
Start Your Vegetable Garden With The Easiest Vegetables To Grow
If you’re a new gardener but aren’t sure if you have a green thumb to start your own veggie garden, then this guide can give you the info and confidence to give it a try. Start small, pick a couple of veggies, and venture yourself into the plant world. It’s easier than you think! Nothing compares to the feeling of putting food on the table that was grown and cared for by your own hands.