I love carrots. They also disappoint me a lot. They’re some of the most challenging vegetables to grow in your garden. They’re also among the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow. That doesn’t make sense at first glance. It’s complicated.
Carrots can be easy to grow. In the right conditions, you can grow some enormous and healthy carrots. But they can also be very fickle. They won’t sprout if the soil is too dry. Or they could go to seed if you get a cold snap. And there’s the infamous root knot nematode, which will pretty much move in and eat your carrots faster than you can imagine. I don’t care how experienced or novice you are, when your plants die or get eaten by pests, it’s a bummer.
That’s one reason why my garden always includes a variety of the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow. I think this is especially important for new gardeners, too. The first time I tried to grow tomatoes, it didn’t go well – at all. It didn’t for a few years. Instead, I had a bunch of plants and still spent a small fortune on fresh summer tomatoes at the farmers market.
5 of the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow in any garden
Some plants will grow no matter how poorly you treat them or how much you ignore them. I’ve seen mint grow through cracks in a driveway. And we all know dandelions could probably grow on Mars. (And yes, a lot of people consider them weeds, but have you tried dandelion greens sauteed with a little salt and fresh garlic? Seriously good.)
But one of the things I love about gardening is taking care of something and watching it grow. Here are some of the plants that can help you feel successful in that endeavor.
As long as you have a sunny spot and your soil isn’t too wet, garlic is happy. You can plant it in spring or fall, but a lot of gardeners insist that garlic builds up more flavor if you plant them in the fall, about 6 to 8 weeks before your first hard frost.
To plant garlic, separate cloves, keeping the papery husk on them, and plant root-side down in about an inch of soil. If you’re in colder climates, add a six-inch layer of mulch to protect the plant over the winter.
2. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are fun to grow. They work in containers and outdoor gardens, and they add lovely splashes of bright yellows, oranges, and reds to your garden. You can start them from seed and harvest them in a little over two months for most varieties.
Bell peppers like lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, and though they aren’t immune to pests, they aren’t especially prone to them either.
Strawberries are among the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow as long as they get plenty of sunshine. They will sprawl and take up space if you let them, but they’re also known for thriving in containers. And because they are perennials, you can enjoy them year after year with little additional effort.
There are a wide variety of strawberry plants to choose from, so it’s easy to find one that is perfect for your climate and taste preferences. Just a word of warning; rabbits and skunks love strawberries just as much as you do. I learned this the hard way the first time I grew strawberries. All my nearly ripe berries would disappear from the plants and there would be little teeth marks left on the partial fruits that remained. I’d recommend covering your young plants or placing them somewhere away from those cute and fuzzy bunnies.
Squash and zucchini plants don’t do well if it gets cold, but otherwise, they are prolific producers. Give them sunshine, plenty of water, and fresh air and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful vegetables.
Be aware that once the zucchini starts to fruit, it can grow an inch or two every day! Don’t let them get overripe or you’ll lose all that wonderful flavor.
Radishes are especially nice for any gardener who wants a vegetable that grows quickly and easily. They can go from seed to salad bowl in about three weeks. There are dozens of varieties of radishes, and they can be very mild or quite peppery. For example, the Black Spanish Round Radish is crisp and spicy, while the Purple Plum Radish is mild and sweet.
A lot of gardeners will grow radishes alongside carrots to help aerate the soil. In cooler climates, you can actually plant radishes twice in a growing season – once in the spring and again in the fall.
These aren’t the only easy plants to grow, and they will need at least a little care, like watering and occasional weeding. For the most part, though, you really can’t mess up with them. They’re the perfect plants for gardeners of all experience levels.
In your experience, what are the easiest fruits and vegetables to grow? Are there others I should try? Share your ideas in the comments; I’d love to read them.