I don’t know about you, but as a beginner, not very serious gardener, I used to go to the store, look at the seeds, and just pick the vegetables and herbs I liked. I didn’t give much thought to whether or not it was too late to plant tomato seeds in July or if my garden had enough sun for eggplants to grow. Certainly, I had some luck and once in a while would pick something easy to grow (yay for radishes!) but I also had my share of disappointments. In fact, I mostly had disappointments in those early days. I didn’t know the easiest vegetables to grow, let alone from seed.
It turns out that, at least in New England where I live, you won’t get great results if you decide to plant cucumbers in August. Fortunately, I’ve learned a few things since then.
Yes, it does take a little more work to grow your garden from seeds. It’s more planning, more time, and even a bit more hope. But there are lots of good reasons to start with seeds. For one thing, it’s a lot less expensive to buy a pack of seeds than it is to buy seedlings at the nursery or farmstand. Plus, some vegetables just don’t take too well to being dug up and moved.
Another good reason to start with seeds is that there are so many amazing varieties of vegetables that you simply can’t get as transplants. Ever see anyone selling Padron pepper seedlings? Probably not, but this Spanish heirloom pepper is a divine appetizer; just sauté them in a bit of olive oil and add sea salt. A word of warning, though: While most of them are mild, you will get a hot one every now and then. Just be prepared!
What are the easiest vegetables to grow when you start with seeds?
Of course, seeds are only fun when they’re successful, so what are the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden?
1. Radishes. The aforementioned radishes are excellent starter plants. They go from seed to salad in about a month, and they don’t take much on your part.
2. Beets. You don’t have to be a fan of The Office to appreciate beets. They can survive near-freezing temperatures, and you can get both a spring and a fall harvest if you plan correctly. And the beet greens are sublime!
3. Beans. As long as beans have sunshine and water, they can be one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden. Most varieties grow quickly and will continually produce more beans as you harvest them. And if you get bush beans (vs. pole beans) you won’t even have to worry about setting up a trellis.
4. Pumpkins. If you have the space, pumpkins are fairly easy and fun to grow. Who doesn’t love seeing a few big orange pumpkins in the yard? Did you know there are dozens of varieties of this winter squash? And in fact, they aren’t just orange. Pumpkins may be shades of white or green, too.
5. Kale. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, and it’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. Kale happens to appreciate a little frost, too, so you can plant it fairly late in the season and still get a nice harvest.
Remember, even the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden will need your support. After all, they can’t water and weed themselves. And be sure to enjoy the process. Gardening is a journey, not a destination.
What vegetables have you had the most luck with? I’d love to read about your experience in the comments below.