One of our favorite things about summer is working, playing, and enjoying the beautiful bounties of our gardens. Whether it’s a freshly picked bouquet of flowers or fresh crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes– growing your own plants is one of the most gratifying things.
Gardening can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Even the most inexperienced gardeners can be successful in cultivating a garden with these 10 easy-to-grow vegetables.
If you are new to vegetable gardening or needing a bit of a refresh this season, today’s post is for you. Here are the 10 easiest vegetables to grow in your garden to ensure a successful harvest. You might also like how to start an herb garden and a round-up of the best gardening tools.
Make Use of Companion Plants
Companion plants are flowers and vegetables that pair well together in a garden. They help to promote healthy growth, reduce pests, and attract pollinators. A few examples of companion plants are tomatoes and basil, garlic and potatoes and nasturtiums with kale, cabbage or broccoli. Look up companion plants for the vegetables you would like to grow in your garden and plan accordingly!
Designate a Garden Space
It is important to find a good spot to designate for your garden. You will want to be sure your plot is on flat land, has good soil quality (not too sandy or acidic), there is enough space for all of the seeds you want to plant and an ample amount of sunlight. You may also want to consider building a fence to keep critters out of your garden. If you are making your own garden plot, you will want to be sure to use a rototiller to turn up the soil in your garden and get rid of the top layer of grass if need be.
Prepare the Soil
It is important to make sure the soil in your garden is going to provide a healthy environment for your plants. If you notice worms in the soil this is a good sign. You can have your soil tested or observe the consistency of it. If it seems too sandy, you will want to add fertilizer to give it more nutrients. You can consult a local gardener to help determine what your soil needs to be successful.
Choosing A Gardening Zone
You can easily determine your gardening zone by googling “gardening zone” with your zip code. You can get further information by going to your local gardening store and inquiring from knowledgeable staff or buying a book that goes into more depth for your gardening zone. It is important to learn about your zone prior to planting to understand what to plant and when to plant it. Different zones have different climates and varying plants thrive and struggle in different temperatures. Do the research before you get started so your garden will be successful.
10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow In Your Garden
Lettuce may be one of the easiest vegetables to grow and is also conveniently a summer vegetable staple. There is nothing better than a crisp salad on a hot summer day, made with lettuce freshly harvested from your garden. Lettuce does well in cooler weather and can be planted with seeds or you can get starter plants with sprouts. If you don’t have the option of an outdoor vegetable garden, lettuce has shallow roots so is a great vegetable to plant in a pot or window box. Try a mesclun mix with lots of different types of lettuce and harvest your lettuce when it’s a few inches tall. Plant your lettuce in the late spring and then again late summer for a fall harvest.
The only thing you need to worry about with beans is overgrowth! We suggested planting your seeds, as transplants aren’t always effective. If you choose pole beans you will need a trellis for them to climb as they grow. Again be sure not to plant until after the last frost and harvest them while they are still fresh. If you wait too long they will toughen up.
I love a good crunchy, sweet carrot fresh from the garden. They are always sweeter when fresh. Carrots can be a little trickier to grow, but as long as you keep the soil moist and mulch, they should grow just fine. Also be sure not to plant your carrots too soon. Wait about two weeks after the last frost to put these babies in the ground!
Another heat-loving plant, cucumbers grow in vines and will need space and a trellis to climb. Be sure to plant these from seeds as the transplants can be finicky. Again, wait until the last frost before planting. We like the round, yellow and mini varieties!
Vermonter’s love the hardiness of kale, because it can withstand our wild seasonal climate. Some kale can even survive the winter and will begin growing again come spring. This is another one you will want to plant mid-spring and then again late summer for a fall harvest. Plant your kale seeds directly into the ground or use transplants, both work great!
I only recently became a Swiss chard fan last summer when my dad shared some from his garden. It’s so delicious cooked in a pan with butter or olive oil. Swiss chard is another one that grows prolifically and the leaves get huge if you don’t harvest them soon enough. This will keep producing leaves as long as you keep picking them, until the first frost. If you live in a hotter climate, try giving your chard some afternoon shade to help it continue growing through until the first frost.
Zucchini (Summer Squash)
Summer squash or zucchini are always a fun surprise come the end of the summer or beginning of fall. It’s always exciting to gather up the bountiful harvest and pull out all your favorite seasonal squash recipes. Squash is easy to grow and usually grows prolifically so you will have plenty to keep you full all season long. You can plant them as seeds or transplants as long as the last frost is past. Just be sure to pick them before they get too large.
Beets are a beautiful root vegetable to add to your garden and they tend to be super hardy so they make an easy addition. Unlike the others in this post, beets can be planted early spring and you can continue to plant every two to three weeks, until mid summer to continue to enjoy their harvest all season long.
We buy a variety of tomato transplants each spring and they are one of my favorite to grow and harvest late summer. Technically tomatoes are fruits, but I’m including them here, because you will most likely want to include them in your vegetable garden. Tomatoes like heat so you will want to be sure they get a lot of direct sunlight. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow for beginners, you will just want to be sure to get a stake or cage to help guide growth. Be sure not to plant your tomatoes until after the last frost.
Peppers are another favorite of mine to grow. I find buying transplants and planting after the last frost to be the easiest personally. You can also grow your own from scratch indoors and plant them when it’s warm enough. Peppers, like tomatoes also love heat so you’ll want to make sure they are in a nice, warm sunny spot!
Additional Gardening Tips
Composting is good for the environment by reducing the amount of waste your family produces each week and it also creates an amazing fertilizer for your garden. Compost adds great nutrients to your soil, can prevent weeds and adds moisture to the soil. It does take time to get your compost decomposed enough to add to soil. Learn more about how to start a compost here.
Fertilize and Water
Be sure to add fertilizer to your soil at the beginning of the season and then every three to four weeks throughout the season. This will help keep the soil nourished and plants happy all season long. Continue to water your garden regularly as well.
Monitor and Weed
Keeping on top of your garden throughout the season is probably one of the most challenging parts. Keep up with maintenance monitoring soil, moisture, harvesting crops, replanting seeds and weeding and it will be so much easier to manage. A little maintenance each day goes a long way.
The very best part of gardening is reaping the benefits of your hard work and harvesting the delicious vegetables. Be sure to keep up with your harvesting as the season goes along. Overgrowth can create waste and vegetables will rot or lose their flavor once they get too big. Enjoy those delicious fresh vegetables!
Let us know what you’re growing this summer!
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