If you are new to gardening, you are probably curious about what garden vegetables you should start your brand-new garden with. In fact, you may have even wondered what the ‘easiest’ or ‘best’ vegetables to grow are.
Well, that’s hard because we love every single vegetable! But there are some great crops that are friendlier to beginner gardeners than others.
So keep on reading to learn about the best vegetables to grow in your garden – and some tips for getting started!
General Tips for Growing Garden Vegetables
Here are some basic tips for growing any kind of garden vegetables.
Start With a Small Space for Your Garden Layout
If you are a beginner gardener, no matter what kind of garden vegetables you choose to grow, it is important that you start out small.
It’s more fun to be excited about the small amount of food you can grow than to be demotivated by a large and unruly garden.
Plus, with a small garden, it’s much easier to improve at gardening basics than when a large garden you can hardly keep up with.
We recommend a 6×6 foot garden. For that space, you can select 5 different types of vegetables, and plant a few of each.
And once you get the hang of things, then you can expand next season.
Plant What Garden Vegetables You Will Eat
This may sound like common sense, but plant only what you will be excited to eat.
It’s much easier to stay motivated, and on top of your gardening chores when you are excited to eat what you are growing.
Once you’ve picked what vegetables you want to grow based on what you love to eat, pay close attention to varietal types.
Choose the best variety for your location and gardening needs.
Choose Your Garden Location Strategically
When trying to decide where to plant your garden, you need to be thinking about two things:
- Access to sunlight
- Convenient water source
- Unique climatic conditions that vary on a certain property
If your garden space receives a lot of sunlight, you will need to consider sun-loving vegetables.
But if you only have a space that gets partial sun, you will need to plant vegetables that enjoy some shade.
You also want to make sure that the location you choose has convenient access to a water source.
Make sure your garden hose can reach, or have a plan for watering if you are doing a balcony garden.
Also, know that certain properties might have frost pockets in various areas. Watch out for low-lying sections of your yard and try to avoid planting your garden here.
This area may experience a frost sooner than other areas might.
Plan The Garden Layout Ahead of Time
The layout of your garden will depend on the location you have available, the sunlight it receives, and the vegetables you want to grow.
To plan your garden ahead of time, we recommend making a sun map. Sun mapping is helpful because it allows you to monitor how much sun, and for how long, certain spaces in your garden receive sunlight.
With an accurate sun map, you can plant vegetables in locations where they can be the most successful.
Prepare Your Soil Appropriately for Your Garden Vegetables
The soil you plan to use is incredibly important. Depending on whom you talk to, there can be up to six soil types. But in general, the most common are:
- Clay-like soils
- Loamy Soils
- Sandy Soils
Figuring out what type of soil you are working with, and how you can prepare it for your vegetables, will make or break your garden.
So what does your soil feel like? Is it powdery? Does it feel gritty? What color does it have? Soil that is rich and healthy is often dark and crumbly, and it digs and drains well.
Get Ready for Pests & Plant Diseases
Insect pests and plant diseases are just part of the process. To think you can plant a garden and not deal with any pesky insects, or plants molds is simply unrealistic.
So plan ahead. Do some reading about what your vegetables may be susceptible to, and what you can do to protect them from pests and disease.
There are all kinds of tips and tricks to help you keep your plants healthy. But if you do begin to notice insects or mold on your plants, don’t panic. There is always a solution, and very rarely are your vegetables completely ruined.
And now that you’ve read some of our most useful tips for starting your garden, let’s get to our list of the best garden vegetables to grow. We’ve separated them into three categories:
- Root vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Vegetables that are actually fruits
Root Vegetables to Grow
Here are some of the best root vegetables to grow in your garden (especially if you are a beginner!).
Radishes tend to be overlooked but they are so delicious and nutritious. They are great baked in the oven or sliced raw over a salad.
Radishes are packed with minerals like copper, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Not to mention the vitamin B6.
Potatoes are everyone’s best friend. They can be sliced, grated and fried, baked, mashed or puréed.
There’s no limit to how you can prepare potatoes. And they are easy to grow. We also love them for their B vitamins and fiber.
Carrots are one of the most iconic root vegetables. And for good reason! What other vegetable can be blended into a nutritious and hearty soup.
Or grated into a delicious cake for dessert? Carrots are also great at providing our bodies with vitamins A, C, and K.
Beets are beautiful vegetables. They are relatively low maintenance and pop out of the ground with amazing color.
They can be pickled, or blended into juices. Roasting is another option. Beets are full of manganese, folate, vitamin B6, and other antioxidants.
Garlic is everyone’s favorite herb or spice – except for maybe vampires! And did you know that those tiny little bulbs contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6?
They also have calcium, magnesium, zinc, and sodium.
Scallions, also known as bunching onions, or green onions, are a fun vegetable to grow. They do not take up a lot of space and are perfect for smaller, beginner gardens.
They are easy to grow and serve as a very versatile ingredient in many types of dishes. Scallions are low maintenance and love to grow, even in a colder climate.
Add Leafy Greens to Your Garden Vegetables
Leafy greens are also top on the list of the best vegetables to grow. They can thrive in cooler weather and since they have a shorter growing season, they offer more bang for your buck.
If you love fresh salads, then you absolutely need to grow lettuce. There are all kinds of varieties to choose from, and all are relatively easy to grow.
Plus, the more varieties you have, the more colorful your salads become.
Spinach is the best protein source of all the leafy greens. It also comes with vitamins A, C, E, and K.
We love raw spinach in salads, as pizza toppings, or blended into a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
Kale is an incredibly popular ‘super food’. It contains vitamins A, C, and K, along with antioxidants, and iron.
It’s an extremely hearty plant, and depending on the variety, can withstand extreme heat and cold.
Swiss chard is the most beautiful leafy green you can possibly grow. Better yet, chard tastes as good as it looks.
We love to sauté chard or serve it raw as a colorful ingredient in salads. Chard is jam-packed with tons of protein and minerals like calcium, iron, copper, and niacin.
Best Fruit-Bearing Vegetables to Grow
These are some of the best fruit-bearing vegetables you can grow.
Zucchinis are like carrots in that you can cook them into your entrée and your desert. They are incredibly versatile! Plus, they are easy to grow.
They are happy to sprawl all over your garden and yield tons of fruit. Even better, they contain tons of vitamins like B1, B2, and B6.
Squash is notorious for yielding more fruit than you can eat. And yes, that is still true even if you plant one. They are beginner-friendly and fun plants to watch grow.
There are tons of different varieties to choose from and they can be used in all sorts of different recipes. Try roasting squash in the oven along with carrots, onions, and potatoes.
No garden is complete without tomatoes. And if you are low on space, you can choose a cherry tomato variety.
With the right conditions, tomatoes grow like weeds. They are easily harvested and taste amazing.
This may sound a little random, but pumpkins are excellent beginner plants. They love to grow and provide your garden with a unique twist. Pumpkins are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
They are wonderful additions to baking recipes and can also be used as seasonal decorations.
There is a reason why beans are the chosen vegetable for science experiments in elementary school. They grow so reliably fast, it’s incredible.
Depending on what you like to eat, there are tons of different varieties to choose from. Beans are high in minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
Like tomatoes, we are convinced no garden is complete without at least one variety of pepper. Most pepper varieties are low maintenance and hearty.
They can withstand the harshest conditions, and still yield fruits. So if you love fresh salsa or even plain raw bell peppers with hummus, then you simply cannot go without peppers in your garden.
Cucumbers are incredibly satisfying to watch grow. They love to sprawl and climb, so make sure you have a trellis or some sort of structure for them.
With the right amount of sunlight and water, you can literally sit back and watch cucumbers grow themselves. And if you can’t eat them all, no worries. That just means it’s time to make pickles!
Other Easy-to-Grow Garden Vegetables
In case the above list wasn’t enough, here are a couple more of our favorite vegetable types.
Okra may not be the most popular vegetable to grow, but its low-maintenance growing needs make it ideal for a beginner.
Before you know it, your okra will end up growing taller than you are. Okra is also very nutritious. Okra contains vitamins B and C, along with minerals such as potassium and calcium.
Broccoli literally contains it all– vitamins A, E, B6, B12, potassium, copper, zinc, niacin, iron, fiber, phosphorus, manganese, choline, and protein. When it comes to cooking, broccoli is extremely versatile.
You can eat it raw in salads, or dips, bake it into a cheesy Quiché or toss it into a delicious stir-fry. The possibilities with broccoli are endless.
If you like broccoli, then chances are you also enjoy its close cousin– cauliflower. Cauliflower’s nutritional package makes it a worthwhile addition to anyone’s garden.
Cauliflower is full of important minerals, and vitamins like B6, C, and K.
They are beautiful plants to watch grow and are totally worth the investment. Stir-fry your cauliflower, or mix it raw into a salad.
And if you are gluten-free, you can use it to make homemade pizza crust!
If you have never seen a brussels sprout plant, we suggest you look it up on Google right away. You know what, better yet, plant a brussels sprout plant in your garden.
You will not be disappointed. They are beautiful plants, and so incredibly nutritious. They have loads of vitamins like K, B1, B6, and vitamin C.
Brussels Sprouts may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but if you enjoy them, then grow them.
Brussels sprouts are delicious after being baked in the oven with salt, pepper, and olive oil. For an extra bunch, wrap them and bacon.
And hey – even if you don’t love Brussels sprouts, you can always grow them in your garden for your chickens!
Set Yourself Up For Success With the Best Possible Garden Vegetables
Learning to grow vegetables is incredibly rewarding. There is nothing like preparing a meal with ingredients that you started from seed, and have tended to for multiple months.
You will absolutely taste the difference.
To be successful as a beginner gardener, you need to do everything you can to set yourself up for success. This includes:
- Selecting beginner-friendly vegetables, and the appropriate variety for your circumstances
- Starting small, and expanding over time
- Planting only what you love to eat
- Plan your garden’s location ahead of time by considering your soil type, sunlight accessibility, and most convenient water source.
- Be prepared for the inevitable pest or plant disease
Garden Vegetables and Our Final Thoughts
Ready to grow your own food?
Between these helpful tips and our list of the best vegetables you can grow, we know you can be successful. Good luck!
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