Plan your first vegetable garden with these 10 easy crops that offer great possibilities in the kitchen.
If you want to grow a vegetable garden, it’s never too early to start planning. One of the best ways is to “learn as you go” while experimenting.
If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 cultures described below. They are all easy to grow, and offer many cooking possibilities. Some of these crops are best grown using seedlings, but most are easy to grow from seed.
- radishes. Radishes grow well even in poor soil and are ready to harvest in just a few weeks. Sow seeds in spring and fall.
- Green salads (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Choose your favorite or try a mix: Many companies sell packs of mixes for summer and winter gardening. Sow the seeds in spring and fall and you can harvest salads almost all year round.
- Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big harvest, they freeze well and are just as delicious when pickled as green beans. Start seeds when all danger of frost has passed.
- Onions. Start with small plants and if they are doing well, you can harvest bulb onions. Otherwise, you can always eat the greens.
- Strawberries. Ripe strawberries are incredibly sweet and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare root plants in early spring. Place this perennial in a sunny spot and weed it well. Learn how to plant strawberries at home.
- peppers. Hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with the plants and let the peppers ripen on the same plant for different lengths of time for a range of colors and flavors.
- Courgette. It’s very prolific. Start with seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bountiful harvest.
- Tomatoes. There’s no substitute for a ripe, homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when starting with strong plants. If you have a big harvest, consider canning or freezing.
- Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it complements tomatoes well. Basil is easy to grow from seed or transplants, and you can reproduce it indefinitely by cutting it down.
- Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that keeps well if kept cool. A simple, low-maintenance method is to plant the potatoes in straw instead of soil, or you can plant them directly in bags. “Seeds” are whole or cut sections of potatoes, which can be planted in early spring.