17 Easy Vegetables to Grow at Home
Don't be intimidated—these are easy vegetables to grow! Try anything from classic favorites, like peas and tomatoes, to adventurous finds, like dinosaur kale and kohlrabi.
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Although a veggie garden isn’t a plant-it-and-forget-it endeavor, planning ahead can help you cut your time spent tending your plants. If you’re new to vegetable gardening, start small. As long as your chosen area receives at least eight hours of sunlight a day, a manageable 4×8-ft. bed is big enough for your first plot. If an in-ground garden seems daunting, remember that you can also grow most veggies in containers. Just stick with these easy vegetables to grow!
For new gardeners, it doesn’t get easier than bush beans. Find a sunny spot with decent soil, press the seeds roughly an inch into the ground, and presto! Within days, you’ll have seedlings. Bush beans are ready about 50 days from seeding. Green pods are the norm, but we’re suckers for yellow and purple varieties, too. Sow together for a rainbow of color, then make these green bean recipes!
Growing Tip: For a constant supply of homegrown beans, sow a new row of seeds every two to three weeks, starting in late spring.
Cucumbers grow on either bush or vining plants. Bush varieties have tidy growth, and you can easily pop them into containers. Alternatively, vining types produce long plants that sprawl on the ground unless encouraged to climb a fence or trellis. Our favorite cucumber is Lemon, a popular heirloom with delicious yellow-green oval fruits, and we especially love it in these summery cucumber recipes.
Growing Tip: The secret to bitter-free cucumbers is to supply even moisture. If rain is scarce, water thoroughly, giving plants 1 inch of water per week.
Cherry tomatoes have a high yield, bearing long chains of delicious fruits. They’re also a cinch to grow, thriving in large containers or garden beds. Can’t-fail varieties include Black Cherry, Supersweet 100 and Sungold, which all produce a large crop of sweet fruit. End up with a bumper crop by accident? Use them in these recipes for cherry tomatoes.
Growing Tip: Stake tall or indeterminate varieties of cherry tomatoes to keep plants off the ground and help prevent the spread of soil-borne diseases.
In terms of sheer production, it’s hard to top zucchini, which can be tossed into everything from omelets to soups to these desserts. One plant can pump out dozens of tender fruit during summer months. Zucchini come in a wealth of colors and shapes, with varieties like Zephyr and Eight Ball. Whatever type you choose to grow, harvest young for optimum flavor and texture.
Growing Tip: Zucchini grows best in rich soil, so be sure to dig a few shovelfuls of compost before planting.
Swiss chard is easy to grow, incredibly productive and ornamental, making it a great choice for vegetable and flower gardens. For gardeners more interested in yield than beauty, stick to the prolific—but less showy—white-stemmed varieties, like Fordhook Giant. (Hey, we can’t blame you if you want lots to use in these Swiss chard recipes!) Adventurous gardeners will be drawn to the hot hues of Bright Lights, Peppermint and Magenta Sunset.
Growing Tip: If you’re looking to pretty up your container garden area, you’ll definitely want to add chard. You can’t find a better, longer-lasting pop of edible color.
If you want a low-maintenance vegetable, look no further than garlic, which practically grows itself! In cool climates, hardneck garlic is the best choice, whereas those with mild winters should grow softneck garlic. Once you’ve got it harvested and minced, toss it into these garlicky dishes.
Growing Tip: After planting, mulch your garlic bed with straw to prevent weeds and hold soil moisture.
If you enjoy daily salads (or any of these ingenious lettuce recipes for that matter), growing your own will shave serious dollars off your grocery budget. Leaf lettuce is the easiest type of lettuce to grow, with varieties like Black Seeded Simpson, Red Sails and Red Salad Bowl; they’re all ready to harvest in just one month! Sow seed directly in pots or the garden beginning in early spring.
Growing Tip: Start harvesting when the plants are about 3-4 inches tall, removing the outer leaves and allowing the inner heart of the plant to keep growing.
Homegrown peas rarely make it into our house. Instead, we tend to eat our peas straight off the vines, enjoying their crisp, sweet flavor in the middle of the garden. There are three main types of peas: shell, snow and snap (these are some seriously tasty snap pea recipes!). Depending on the variety, they can grow on plants as short as 1 foot or as tall as 6 feet. Peas enjoy the cool weather, so sow the seeds in early spring. Then plant again in summer for a fall harvest, too!
Growing Tip: Vining varieties must be staked, but even bush types appreciate some twigs or chicken wire for support.
Popular at gourmet restaurants, most Asian greens are ready to harvest in just 30 days. To grow, sow foot-wide bands of seed as soon as you can prepare the soil in early spring, and continue to plant fresh seed every few weeks for a nonstop supply for your salad or stir-fry recipes. Best bets include varieties of mustard, mizuna, bok choy and tatsoi.
Growing Tip: Most greens will thrive in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. A little afternoon shade will extend their harvest into warmer months.
A farmers market favorite, Japanese turnips, like Hakurei and Mikado, are super speedy vegetables, ready to pull just five weeks from seeding. They also offer a double harvest with their crisp roots and tasty greens. Japanese turnips love the cool weather of spring and autumn, so start sowing in mid-spring and then plant again in late summer.
Growing Tip: Because turnips grow so quickly, plant seed between slower growing crops, like tomatoes.
This crunchy veggie is beloved for its peppery flavor, bright hue and health benefits, but we love it because it’s easy to grow—either in containers or directly from the ground. Sow them a month or so after the last frost and throughout the rest of the summer for guaranteed tasty salads all season. Our picks? The French Breakfast and Rainbow Mixed varieties.
Growing Tip: If you’re fixing for some radishes in the winter, try growing the Mooli variety, which can withstand growing at that time of year.
Beetroot is a root vegetable worth trying (even if it’s in beet juice!). Sow it any time between March and July and expect to harvest between May and September. Beginners should dabble with Boltardy, which is an ultra popular variety. But no matter which type you pick to grow, beetroot will boost any salad or side dish.
Growing Tip: As beetroot begins to grow, thin the seedlings to about 2 inches apart for best results.
This versatile veg springs up when sowed in either a container or in the ground. Plant them between March and July, and after about eight weeks, your onions are ready to harvest and toss onto soups, into stir-fries or with salad greens. If you’re not a fan of onion’s potent zip, try Performer, a milder variety. But all varieties work well in these standout recipes.
Growing Tip: Sow green onions alongside mint, which acts as a deterrent for onion flies.
More Vegetables to Grow
- Kohlrabi. Once you’ve grown this under-appreciated member of the cabbage family, you won’t want to go without it. Depending on the variety, the odd, rounded stems will be soft green or bright purple. You can enjoy them raw or cooked. Buy It: Kohlrabi
- Celeriac. Also known as celery root, celeriac is a celery cousin that forms a large, knobby root. Use it as a celery substitute in soups or stews and on veggie trays. Buy It: Celeriac
- Quinoa greens. Typically, quinoa is grown for its edible seeds, but did you know the young plants can also be harvested as a nutritious green? Enjoy them as you would spinach.
- Dinosaur kale. This trendy heirloom kale, also known as lacinato kale, is tasty and beautiful with blue-green, puckered leaves and a mature form that resembles a palm tree! Buy It: Kale