Don’t have a green thumb? Not to worry. These vegetables are easy to grow and delicious to eat
Planting and growing your own vegetables is a rewarding and sustainable hobby—but the experience can be intimidating for first-timers.
Since some veggies are notorious for being difficult to grow, novice gardeners should start with hardier plants in order to guarantee success. Thankfully, there are lots of varieties of vegetables that stand up to most climates and growing seasons.
Here’s a list of seven of the easiest-to-grow vegetables for beginner gardeners. Happy planting (and eating)!
Photo by Markus Spiske on UnsplashRaw, in salads, pickled or grilled, radishes are a colourful addition to your summer eating. Thankfully they’re also one of the most low-maintenance veggies to plant—and some of the fastest growing. You can start sowing radishes in April for an early spring harvest, and again when the weather is hot. Radishes love up to six hours a day in full sun.
Photo by Igor Osinchuk on UnsplashOne of the only problems with growing zucchini is figuring out what to do with all of it. Zucchini is a hardy plant and does well in full sun in well-drained soil. You can plant zucchini early—just after the last frost. You don’t need to plant a ton in order to have a big harvest either. Generally one or two plants will provide a large yield.
Pro tip: You can also eat the yellow squash blossoms in your early harvest, which are actually super delicious when they are deep-fried, Italian-style.
Photo by FOODISM360 on UnsplashOne of the hardiest veggies to grow, beets can even thrive in partial shade. They are rarely bothered by pests or bugs and don’t require fussing, staking or pruning along the way. Since they will grow in milder temperatures, you can do a staggered planting, with some in the early spring and some in the later summer months. While beets are growing, you can use the beet greens similarly to spinach or Swiss chard. Lightly sautéed, they are a treat!
Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on UnsplashBest grown in light, sandy soils, carrots can be grown in neat rows. In fact, some nurseries sell seed tape that you just place into the ground and cover with a thin layer of soil. Like beets, carrots will tolerate a bit of shade, but if you want big, happy carrots, keep them in full sunlight.
Photo by Lulucmy on UnsplashBring on the summer salads! Lettuce can be grown in waves, so you can have a fresh harvest every week or so. Romaine lettuce is one of the easier-to-grow varieties, and you can pick off exterior leaves at any time, while looseleaf and butterhead types can be harvested at any time in their development. For maximum growth, use a site where soil can drain well.
Photo by Laura Johnston on UnsplashNutritious and delicious, this superfood is great for juicing, sautéing and salads. It stores well too. Kale thrives in nearly every kind of soil and is cold-resistant. You can start planting kale directly into the ground as early as March in many regions of North America.
Photo by Vince Lee on UnsplashWhether grown in your garden bed or in containers, tomatoes are sun-lovers that thrive in the hottest summer months. Choose cherry varieties to amp up your summer salads, or beefsteak varieties to top your sandwiches. Because tomatoes are such warm weather seekers, you can start your seedlings off inside until the soil has warmed up in the spring.
Make sure to check out Canada’s plant hardiness map for insights about typical first and last frost dates of the season, as well as what can grow where depending on the region you live in.