Gardening is a great way to cheaply enjoy healthy, fresh food. It is also a great way to get some exercise. However, growing your own fruit and vegetables can seem intimidating. This list of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden is designed to help you begin this fascinating and fulfilling hobby.
As well as being super easy to grow many of the plants suggested also require little regular or intense effort. All our suggestions are suitable for large gardens as well as more compact spaces, raised beds or container gardens. Our easy to grow vegetables are also suitable for most USDA zones.
Whether you decide to grow just one or a couple of our easy to grow vegetables in your vegetable garden, the suggested plants will provide you with fresh produce for much of the year.
Growing vegetables in your vegetable garden or allotment is a great way to stay fit while ensuring a supply of fresh, healthy food. This list seeks to highlight some of the easiest to grow and harvest, meaning that you will quickly be enjoying the fruits of your labours.
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables you can grow in your vegetable garden. Seeds are inexpensive and easily available. You also have a choice of varieties. Leaf lettuce varieties can be picked as and when you want them, or you can grow head lettuce varieties such as Iceberg or Romaine.
Lettuce is a fast growing crop, most vegetable varieties are ready for harvest within 80 days. You can grow lettuce in beds or pots.
One of the reasons why lettuce is one of the easiest to grow is because there is no need for potting on or transplanting. Simply sow the vegetable seeds where you wish them to grow and keep the soil damp. If the seeds do germinate in clumps you will need to thin them out, this gives the plants space to thrive. The information on the seed packet will tell you the exact spacing for your variety.
One of the easiest to grow, lettuce is also a very versatile plant. If space is limited it can be grown in containers or in pots on windowsills.
Sowing a small crop of seeds every few weeks, succession planting, will enable you to enjoy a regular supply of fresh lettuce. Succession planting also ensures that you don’t get a glut of a plant.
A cool weather plant, you can begin growing lettuce in the early spring and carry on into the fall. You can also grow lettuce all year round in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.
Growing your lettuces close to chives or garlic plants helps to keep the vegetable pest free.
Next on our list is spinach. Cultivating lettuce is similar to cultivating loose leaf lettuce plants.
Spinach happily grows in full sun and partial shade positions. Simply sow the vegetable seeds directly into well drained soil. This means that there is no need for potting on or transplanting and is a reason why spinach deserves its place on the list. Keep the soil moist. When the vegetable seeds germinate thin seed clusters out to their ideal spacing.
Following germination keep the well drained soil evenly moist and allow the vegetable plants to grow and mature. As long as your well drained soil is in a good condition spinach requires no extra fertilisation.
You can also sow and grow spinach in pots or as part of a container garden.
Spinach is generally a spring or fall crop. However it is also pleasingly tolerant of cold weather. Spinach can survive in temperatures as low as 15 ℉.
Quick to mature, most varieties will be ready for harvest within 50 days. Succession planting will allow you to enjoy a regular supply of fresh spinach throughout the growing season.
Spinach plants do well alongside strawberry plants as well as most members of the cabbage family.
A summer crop there are a wide variety of beans easily available. This means that you will need to decide which variety you want to grow. However once your decision is made these really are one of the easiest to grow.
While beans can be started off in trays or small containers they can also be directly sown into their final position. This helps to make them easy to cultivate. You will also need to provide some support such as bean poles or a trellis. This gives the beans some structure to grow along, meaning their vines don’t become entangled. Training the growth habit of your plants also makes harvesting the beans easier.
If you have the space, green beans are one of the easiest to grow in your vegetable garden. Gardeners in smaller or confined spaces should try cultivating dwarf varieties. You can also try to grow bush beans and pole beans.
Plant beans in well draining soil or beds filled with homemade compost in a sunny position. Beans do best when the temperature remains between 55-85 ℉. Keep the beans well watered and occasionally apply a blood meal or bone meal dressing. You will also need to protect young plants from pests such as slugs and snails. Depending on the variety and growing conditions you will have harvestable beans within 70 days.
Beans do well when planted alongside peas, radishes, potatoes and cabbages.
Cucumbers have a reputation for being difficult. However once you understand the preferences of this vegetable you’ll find that these are one of the easiest to grow in your vegetable garden.
During growing season, cucumbers can be grown from seed or purchased from a nursery as young plants. If you are growing from seed, sow three weeks before your last local frost date in compostable pots. These pots are great for growing cucumbers because the plants can be planted in the containers into their final position. As the plants grow, the container breaks down into the soil. This is ideal for plants like cucumbers that hate having their roots disturbed, which can often happen when transplanting.
A popular salad ingredient, cucumbers are ideal for gardeners in warmer climates. Make sure you provide support for the plants. As fruit develops plants can become top heavy and prone to toppling. As long as you provide ample support and avoid disturbing the root system cucumbers are one of the easiest to grow.
A warm weather crop, wait until the last frost has passed before you begin hardening off and transplanting them. Grow your cucumbers in light, warm positions in well-draining soil. A vining plant you will need to provide support, such as trellising, for the plants to grow along.
Cucumbers can also be grown in containers, as part of a container garden. Some varieties, such as patio cucumber, have been cultivated especially for this purpose.
Cucumbers do well alongside parsley, carrots, cauliflower and beans.
Remember to water regularly and fertiliser once a month. With the right care you will be harvesting mature cucumbers within 65 days.
If you find yourself with a glut of fresh cucumber, the vegetable can also be pickled.
Another vining plant, summer squash vegetable is easy to grow and is particularly popular with children. Taking up to 65 days to mature, starting the seeds off in containers indoors or in a greenhouse helps you to enjoy a quicker harvest.
Transplant young seedlings into well-draining, composted soil. Squash does best in full sun positions. Make sure that you plant them somewhere where they will enjoy as much sunlight as possible. Ideally the temperature will be consistently between 70-90 °F.
Summer squash is also easy to grow. Depending on the variety and given time, it can become one of the largest. To ensure that the fruit is as large as possible, plant in a light position and water heavily.
Water squash regularly, well watered plants produce larger fruit. Additionally fertilize the plants once a month to encourage healthy growth. Finally, you will need to ensure the squash has lots of room to spread its vines. This can either be along the ground or on sturdy trellising.
Squash does well alongside tall crops such as beans and peas. However if you are planting this combination make sure that they aren’t preventing too much sunlight from reaching the squash.
Packed with flavor, bell pepper plants are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. With a variety of flavors on offer they can be purchased either as young plants from your nursery or started as seed. If you are starting the bell peppers from seeds, sow 4-6 weeks undercover before you want to plant them out. This should be after your last local frost date and when the soil has warmed up.
A heat loving plant, grow bell peppers in direct sunlight for the best results. Bell peppers do best in temperatures between 70 and 90 °F. They also prefer well draining soil, which has been dug over with homemade compost. Space plants 6 inches apart and water regularly. Encourage healthy growth and fruit production by fertilizing once a month.
A popular fruiting plant, bell peppers is not only one of the easiest vegetables to grow it is also one of the most versatile. The easy to grow bell peppers can be grown in beds, borders or containers. Gardeners in cooler climates will have success growing undercover in a greenhouse.
In the right conditions bell peppers will be ready for harvest within 80 days. As the fruit ripens it will lighten, turning into the distinctive bright color when they are ripe.
Like many of the other inclusions on our easiest vegetables to grow list bell peppers can also be grown in containers.
Bell peppers do well alongside carrots, radishes, onions and basil.
A popular summer plant, tomatoes rightly deserve their place on our easiest vegetables to grow list. Once you have experienced the taste of homegrown your own tomatoes, store purchased fruit will never compare.
Like peppers, tomato seeds should be sown undercover before transplanting outside after the last local frost date has passed. Sow 4-6 weeks before your intended transplanting date. If you don’t want to grow from seed, nurseries and garden centers will have a variety of young seedlings available.
As well as the great taste, the wide variety of tomatoes on offer has helped to raise their popularity. From large beefsteak tomatoes to smaller cherry tomatoes they also come in a range of colors, such as yellow, red or the really unusual purple Cherokee. Whichever variety you grow, the rules for cultivating are the same.
Plant in well draining soil in full sunlight. Tomatoes like warm temperatures, ideally between 60-90 °F. Mulch around each plant with homemade compost and water regularly. Tomatoes also require fertilizing once a month. While tomato fertilizers are commercially available you can also make your own liquid plant feed which is just as effective.
When the fruit reaches its full size and turns the correct color then simply pick from the vine and enjoy. In the ideal conditions this will be within 100 days.
Don’t plant tomatoes near peppers. Bees can cross pollinate the two plants, ruining the flavor of your tomatoes.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow, radishes are a root crop. This means that they should be sown directly into well-draining, loose soil. Ideally this will be a full sun position but they can also grow with some partial shade. You can also grow radishes in containers.
Dig the soil over before sowing and work in some homemade compost. Unlike carrots radishes will grow to their full size in clumpy or stone filled soil.
Following germination thin out to the desired spacing, this information is found on the seed packet. Keep well watered and fertilize once a month.
Another of our easiest vegetables to grow, Radishes thrive in loose soil that drains easily. They also prefer sunny positions. As with many of the inclusions on this list, radishes can be grown in container gardens as well as in beds and borders.
When the foliage becomes bushy and green it is a sign that the roots are ripening. The easiest way to find out if your radishes are ready, lift one to test it. For most varieties this will be within 80 days.
Depending on the variety and your USDA zones you can grow radishes from early Spring until Fall. However most varieties do best in temperatures between 60-70 °F.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow, beets are a root crop. The variety Boltardy is not only popular but also very reliable, making it an ideal starting point for new gardeners.
When your last frost has passed you can begin sowing beetroot seeds. For succession planting, continue sowing every few weeks until July. This will enable you to harvest fresh beetroot from May until September.
Root crops are some of the easiest vegetables to grow. Packed full of nutrients, beets are not only easy but they are also a reliable crop to cultivate. This makes them an ideal crop for beginner gardeners.
Sow seeds directly in moist soil. Following germination thin out the seedlings to about 2 inches. Keep the soil evenly moist and well weeded. Be careful when weeding not to disturb the growing beetroot roots.
Root vegetables are amongst the easiest vegetables to grow. Directly sow carrots into the soil, either a bed or container. Before sowing make sure the soil is well worked and loose. This helps the roots of the carrot to grow easily in a pleasing shape. Working in homemade compost before planting helps to enrich the soil and gives plants an extra boost.
Once the seedlings emerge they will need to be thinned out to the desired size. The ideal spacing varies between varieties, this information will be written on the back of a seed packet.
If you want to add something different to the garden, try cultivating carrots. Not just thin and orange, carrots come in a range of colors and shapes. Be warned, however much you prepare the soil there is no guarantee that you will produce lots of thin, straight carrots.
If you are growing carrots in compacted, rocky or clumpy soil choose a smaller or shorter variety. These are better suited to growing in shallow conditions meaning that they will be able to reach their full size without being overly impeded by the soil.
As the carrots grow keep the soil well watered and fertilize once a month. A general purpose fertiliser or a home made alternative can be used. When the foliage is green and bushy scrap away some of the soil from the top of the plant. If the carrot is about the size of your finger or larger it is ready to harvest.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow, potatoes can be grown in the ground, containers, bins or specially purchased potato bags.
First early seed potatoes can be planted in February. Easiest to grow in potato bags or bins, simply part fill with soil and place the potatoes inside. As green shoots grow from the seed potatoes, keep covering all but the top leaves with more compost. Keep repeating this process, and regularly watering, until the bag is full. A bushy plant, as the foliage fills out make sure that water is still reaching the soil.
Depending on the conditions within 10-20 weeks the leafy foliage will begin to yellow. When this happens stop watering. Allow the foliage to die back and then stick your hand in the bag and rummage around for your potatoes.
In colder climates early sowings of potatoes can be started undercover in a greenhouse.
Potatoes really are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Simply plant seed potatoes in grow bags or containers. As the plants grow, keep banking up the soil until the plants reach the top of the containers. This process is easy to follow and is sure to produce a heavy crop.
Chives are so easy to grow! You can even re-pot chives that you purchased at the grocery store. To do this – plant them (bulb side in the soil) in an area or pot with well drained soil. Chop off the ends of the plant when you need some – this plant will continue to grow back.
Chives prefer to be in an area of full sunlight or partial sun. They like to have regular waterings, but don’t allow the soil to stay too wet. Over time this plant will lose some of its strength – to help this, you can divide the plant up every few months to generate new growth.
Chives are a great vegetable to keep on hand, and they don’t require much upkeep
This herb definitely prefers warmer weather and should get sun exposure for about 5 hours a day when possible. Basil likes to be watered frequently, with plenty of water and good soil drainage.
This plant should be pruned frequently, so make sure to pick off fresh leaves as they grow up to their full size. Basil is a plant that works really well when planted with other vegetables. Planting basil near peppers, onions or root vegetables is an easy way create stronger soil and richer vegetables for every plant involved.
Basil is a tropical herb that requires tons of sunlight to grow successfully
Garlic is an amazing vegetable to add to your garden. If you have issues with pests in your garden bed, garlic can help. Planting this near other vegetables is one of the easiest forms of pest control and will help with soil nutrients.
Garlic can be planted from seed or from clove. This plant needs well drained soil and full sun exposure. If you’re planting a garlic clove, make sure to have enough soil to completely cover the clove. Unlike many vegetables, garlic should be planted in the middle of the autumn season for best results.
Garlic plants are a great way to control garden pests
Zucchini tend to like warmer weather and warm soil. To fruit successfully, zucchini plants should be placed in an area with good drainage and in a spot where they can receive plenty of sunlight.
Zucchini plants and really most squash plants will provide an abundant amount of fruit if given the right conditions. Zucchini plants are one of the easiest vegetables to grow to their full size, and may even create their own shade after time. Make sure to prune regularly and harvest continuously to get the highest quality vegetables.
Zucchini plants will produce a lot to be harvested if cared for properly
Peas come in the same type of varieties as beans – they can be grown bush style or on a vine. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are quite easy to grow. These veggies like to be in partial shade – avoid planting them in an area of direct sunlight.
If growing a vine variety, make sure to set up supports or a trellis so that it may climb. Bush varieties may be easiest to care for and can be planted in pots and generally require less upkeep than vines varieties. Peas typically enjoy colder weather. If planting directly into a garden bed, place them in rows about 2 inches apart and water regularly.
Peas and beans have very similar growing conditions
Cilantro can seem a bit finicky, but it’s a great herb to keep in your kitchen. Cilantro likes well drained soil. Cilantro should be watered regularly and thrives best in conditions with full or partial sun.
To create a more bountiful cilantro plant, wait until it first begins to flower. When you can see the new buds on the stem, cut off the area just underneath the buds. When you do this, the plant is encouraged to create more fruit from the stem up and will result in a bushier plant.
Cilantro plants enjoy a lot of sun and moist soil.
This list of the easiest vegetables to grow will provide you with an endless supply of great tasting, nutritious, fresh fruit and vegetables. Our suggestions are suitable for gardeners of all abilities, whatever your situation or planting zone.
As you progress and gain more confidence as a gardener you may decide to experiment with other fruit and vegetables. However the plants on this list of the easiest vegetables to grow will form a backbone of your home garden or allotment for many years to come.
Elizabeth learnt to love gardening as a child in her grandparents backyard. Today, she is a trained horticulturist and has maintained a productive allotment for over 10 years. When not growing her own, Elizabeth enjoys helping other people with the plant problems. An experienced writer and editor, away from gardening Elizabeth is also a keen bird watcher, local historian and genealogist, meaning that she can often be found with her dogs exploring an overgrown graveyard.