The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow at Home


onions

Gardening is hot, hot, hot. And why not? Planting a few seeds on your deck or in your backyard yields delicious, organic results – and money savings, too. Besides, April is National Gardening Month! You know the basics of how to start your own vegetable garden, but where do you go from here? Here are some crops that even the least green thumbed among you can tackle, and tips on how to make them flourish.

PhotobucketTomato

tomato

Originating in South America, this plump red herbaceous perennial is rich in nutrients like niacin, potassium and phosphorous, antioxidants like lycopene, anthocyanin and carotene, and vitamins A, C and E. Tomatoes can add a juicy shot of flavor to a variety of dishes, such as salads, sandwiches and pasta.

After the last frost of winter has thawed, pick a spot in your yard that receives ample sunlight and test the soil’s pH level – you want between 6 and 7. (To increase the Ph level, add lime. To decrease it, add sulfur.) Spread compost over this area and mix it with the soil. Dig a hole for each seed, leaving at least a foot in between for growth, cover them and firmly pat down the soil. Water them with a spray bottle a couple times per week.

PhotobucketRadish

radish

Existing in shades of red, purple and white, these root vegetables were first cultivated thousands of years ago in Europe. Radishes are a great source of potassium, folic acid, magnesium and calcium, and are commonly used in salad dressings or as a garnish for salads.

Radishes thrive in soil with a pH level of around 6 or 7. Till a sunny patch in your garden and plant the seeds ½ inch below the soil’s surface with one inch of space between each. Water them lightly every couple days. Radishes are fast growers and should be ready to pull in several weeks. Don’t wait too long, or they’ll begin to deteriorate.

PhotobucketZucchini

zucchini

In the late 1800s, spontaneous mutations of summer squashes yielded the first zucchini in Italy. Typically shaped like a cucumber, this yellow or green vegetable is low in calories and chop full of potassium, folate and manganese. Zucchini can be boiled, fried or steamed as a tasty side or stuffed and baked as a delectable entrée.

In a mound of composted soil a foot high and a couple feet wide, sow several zucchini seeds. Space each mound approximately 3 feet apart, water them heavily every other day and wait for them to sprout in a couple weeks. They should be ready to harvest about a month later.

PhotobucketBeet

beets

Evolving from wild plants in the Mediterranean, the beet, or beetroot, has a fleshy root that can be boiled and eaten plain, tossed in a salad or used to make borscht. Betaine, one of the primary nutrients in this deep red or purple vegetable, is known to improve cardiovascular health.

Clean and strengthen the seeds by soaking them in water at room temperature for a day. Plow the soil and remove any stones from the top 3 feet. Plant each seed 2 inches apart and water them at least once every day.

PhotobucketCarrot

carrots

This biennial root vegetable was first domesticated during the 10th century in modern-day Afghanistan. Rich in vitamin A, antioxidants and dietary fiber, the carrot’s orange color is a result of the carotene it synthesizes when growing. Carrots are equally delicious as a healthy snack, in a side of steamed vegetables or even baked into a cake.

Leaving several inches in between holes, dig less than an inch deep and plant a couple of seeds in each. Make sure that the soil stays moist but remember to water the carrots less as they begin to reach maturity.

PhotobucketSpinach

spinach

Early forms of this annual flowering plant were first found in the ancient world on the Indian subcontinent. High in both iron and calcium, this green leafy vegetable is eaten plain, cooked in a quiche, used as a pizza topping and made into a chip dip.

Turn over the soil with compost and plant seeds less than an inch deep, placing them at least 2 inches apart to give room for growth. Sow the soil a couple more times in the first month and keep this area well-watered.

PhotobucketPeas

peas

Dating back to the Neolithic Age in Jordan, Syria and Turkey, peas grow in the seed-pod of a legume. A good source of vitamins A, B and C, these small green spheres can be roasted for a tasty snack or thrown into stir-fries, casseroles and soups.

Cultivate the soil with nutrient-rich compost. Keep in mind that your soil must drain well in order for peas for flourish. Space each seed several inches apart and sow them one inch deep. Freshly planted seeds require ½ inch of water every week, while more mature plants need a full inch.

PhotobucketPepper

peppers

Native to Central and South America, these green, yellow, red or orange vegetables range in flavor from spicy to sweet. Containing nutrients like thiamin, folate and manganese, peppers can be stuffed with rice and meat or give salads, salsa and pasta a zesty kick.

Till the soil with both compost and Epsom salts, which will make it rich in magnesium to help the peppers develop healthily. Since they grow best in warm soil, sow the seeds a foot or more apart in raised beds. Water them frequently, keeping the soil moist, or they may taste bitter once harvested.

PhotobucketLettuce

lettuce

Enjoyed in ancient Egypt as an aphrodisiac, lettuce is a good source of folic acid and vitamin A. Used as the primary ingredient in most salads, this green leaf vegetable, of which there are dozens of common varieties, can also be stuffed with various ingredients to make a lettuce wrap or top sandwiches, hamburgers and tacos.

When cultivating the soil with nutrient-rich compost, break up any chunks and remove debris. Make sure that seeds are planted between 8 and 16 inches apart and water them every morning. Avoid doing so at night because this could cause disease.

PhotobucketOnion

onion

Archaeologists have traced the first known onions back to the Bronze Age in early Palestinian settlements. Rich in dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C, these bulb-shaped vegetables add flavor to an assortment of foods, like dips, soups, salads, casseroles and much more.

Plow the soil a foot deep and get rid of debris. Use parasitic nematodes to prevent maggots and cutworms from destroying the crop. Plant the seeds a couple centimeters deep and several inches apart. Weed this area frequently but gently and provide them with about an inch of water every week.

P.S. Bring out that green thumb with the complete guide to composting and tips for healthy soil.

Images: Ron1478, Manjith Kainickara, clayirving, whitneybee, Nikki L., colorline, ms.Tea, Mzelle Biscotte, John of Austin, bcballard, Darwin Bell

Source: wikipedia

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DISCUSSION

34 thoughts on “The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow at Home

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  9. Maybe a little trite but we live in an apartment with a deck and the very best and easiest thing (besides basil – a veritable WEED!) have been tomatoes in TopsyTurvy’s. They hang so no used up small deck space, as they grow they create privacy, and as long as you water them regularly they’ve grown like gangbusters! No trimming, no nothing. We tried making our own “TopsyTurvys” with minimal results so resigned ourselves to using our old ones multiples times and they’ve held up well. You DO have to be viligant about watering though. But otherwise, plant (early!) with organic soil, make sure they get lots of sun, water water water, and eat! (Preferably with that basil, a little olive oil/salt/pepper – divine!)

  10. I’m new to growing own veg. I’m looking to grow veg in my home in pots but not sure what is best to grow and if there is particular veg to grow at this time of year? any comments would be appreciated!!

    thanks

  11. Great post! i love growing my own food. Nothing better than natural whole foods! thanks

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  13. Great list! I tried my hand at gardening but failed miserably. I’d love to give it a try again. We love your site!

  14. Pingback: The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow at Home

  15. Any suggestions for what I could grow in Las Vegas during the summer?

  16. only grew radishes succesfully in cape town must have weedkiller for blood like Aliens tried tomatoes but bugs got them all.

  17. I live in a village and work in agriculturing. We produce vegetables in our farms and i try to read everything
    about them. This information is very useful for me and i also found another useful guide about vegetables;

    http://agricultureguide.org

  18. Glad I stumbled upon this post — my mom has been looking for veggies to grow at home! Thanks for this list — the pictures are great too! today more than ever, we need to eat healthy and choose our foods wisely. It can be tricky when you’re in the grocery store and you have so many choices! On the other hand, when you grow your own stuff, it’s cheaper, healthier and more meaningful because you actually took part in growing it! I think my mom is going for tomatoes and carrots first. =)

  19. Another great post, have to agree with Jasons comment about the spinach, I put in lots a couple of years ago and it ended up everywhere, last year I got wise and only planted a little bit and still had plenty to eat fresh and some for the freezer too!

  20. @Irina – I LOVE the wheelbarrow idea. Definitely worth stealing, er, borrowing :).

    It is easier than most people think to grow veggies at home, and the payoff is tremendous. Herbs are also pretty easy, and if you grow them in portable containers, you can bring them inside for winter too.

  21. Where are the potatoes ? They are certainly easier to grow than peppers.
    Someone gave me some very rare seed potatoes this spring, I didn’t want to plant them in the ground and have them get lost among more vigorous varieties so . . . I planted them in a plastic wheelbarrow with a cracked tub.
    They are doing great ! As an added bonus, since we can get frost pretty much anytime in interior alaska, i can wheel the wheelbarrow into the garage on cold nights. Harvesting should be a breeze, too ! There have got to be lots of old wheelbarrows around that could easily be turned into planters with a few drainage holes drilled into the tub.

    This article should also have noted that carrot seed takes a LONG time to germinate.

    And radishes can be fussy. For that spicy flavor, I prefer nasturtiums, they are so easy to grow and they flower all summer and add a really pretty, bright vibe to your salads and sandwiches.

  22. Great top 10!

    But I recon beans are the most eeeaaasiest veggies to grow ever!

    Plus thet’re great for rotational plots (where you change where you plant the vegies once it’s next season) coz they have heaps of nitrogen which lettuces, cabbages and other leafy plant love lots of.

  23. Sorry, Dave! That was an error. It was meant to be 2 inches instead of feet, so I edited it . Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

  24. These instructions say beet seeds are
    supposed to be planted two Feet apart.

    Maybe in the Matuska Valley, with 20+ hours of daylight?

  25. I like that . Your own garden and all fresh and delicious with out hormones and all that staff they put on our everyday food and we get sick about it.
    Did you see on TV the hanging tomatoes? I order one so I can see how it going to be. Supposingly are delicious and healthy, especially you grow them on your home . You can have them inside or out side. They need a lot of sun and they give you directions of how to care for them. I let’s you know how it goes when I will receive them.
    I love fresh fruit and veggies.
    They are good for your body and mind.

  26. This is a nice list. I would quibble with one choice only: spinach. This is a tricky plant in many places because it bolts quickly in hot weather.

    A better green might be chard or kale, which can produce for a year before going to flower, and even then can be eaten. Spinach tastes bad once it flowers and it dies quickly afterwards. Kale and chard can be grown like perennials. I have plants right now that are 3 years old. Cut them back once a year and they resprout.

    Otherwise, the list is really good so nice work!

    Jason’s last blog post..A North American Energy Plan for 2030: Hydro-electricity the forgotten renewable energy resource

  27. Still eating beans from a bumper crop three years ago, canned and stored all this time out on the shelf! Did the same with a larger than average potato crop two years ago, and have just about run out of the best product ever for fast stews – canned potatoes. Beets! up to my purple navel in beets, they do can well, and keep like gangbusters on the same set of shelves in the spare room. Now, tomatoes, my pride and joy, we have some very fine juice left over from two years ago! and it still tastes like it did the day we canned it. Did some salmon we found on sale a year ago for a bargain price, and I still have three quart jars full on the shelf. Keeps good, makes casseroles, sandwiches, salads, just like the store boughten variety, only much, much cheaper if you catch the bargains. Gardening is great, and can save a lot of money, but until you can dry, freeze, and can all garden over-production, and any store bought bargains you find, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Do spices, I do basil, it grows like a weed, makes good Pesto, in small jars, can it and you’ve got a bargain again. Oregano is touchy in my soil, and may take some learning on my part, but garlic is a snap and can be dried and ground in an electric coffee grinder, stored on the shelf in jars, not consuming any power, just the way we want it. I do sauerkraut, and then can it. I used up the last of it a few weeks ago, and will try for a good big batch again this year. Carrots can well, and keep on the shelf, consuming no power, for at least two years and often three. Squash can be kept under a bed for at least six months if first you wash then in javex, and don’t touch them again until you use them. We have picked apples at a local orchard to get the “C” grade, for cheap, then sliced, and or sauced them and canned them and kept them for up to three years, no problem. Add a jar of applesauce to any cake recipe and watch the results. Onions hang dry behind the cellar door, and are good for a winter at best. Pumpkin is great stuff, makes cookies, pies from the can and keeps well, as does squash for baking. Spinach cans and keeps well, but pick early leaves for canning to avoid bitterness. Make beer! Good beer, home brewed is a different drink altogether when compared to store-boughten stuff, and very good. Do Wine, it is the easiest to quick good table drinking beverage – aim for a nice easy drinking table wine you like, and let the fancy-pants world go their way with exotics. Keep It Simple Sam, and Proest!

  28. Let’s hope my black thumb can go green this year.

  29. Peppers aren’t easy to grow… they need warmth, good water and can be very fussy if you want decent flavor and texture. Certainly not for the novice gardener, especially if you live more north.

    Carrots can also be a challenge. you need fairly loose soil so anyone with heavy soil or lots of clay will have a tougher time and need to loosen up the soil with compost and maybe even some sand.

  30. How inspiring! I’m going to branch out from just tomatoes, herbs and squash this year.

  31. No excuses, folks! Our yard is completely bricked over with pavers, but we got over 70 free 5-gallon pots on Freecycle, and have been filling them with dirt and planting away!!

    Yes, the dirt itself is a small investment (we’ve been digging and sifting regular dirt from a nearby hillside, transporting it in a wheelbarrow and then mixing with rich, fertile, organic potting soil from the store)…but a lot less than what we pay for organic vegetables over the year!!

    Wish us luck!

  32. I live in the Northeast and have always had great luck with bush beans. They never seem to attract any bugs and there are always plenty of beans to pick. I also have always had good luck with cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes.

  33. Great pictures and article. Just started some of my plants and they sit in what should be the sun. Can’t wait to see them sprout. Gardening is a therapy and a blessing.

 

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