First time gardener? Not quite sure where to start? Here’s a list of 5 easy to grow plants for beginner gardeners.
My List Of Easy To Grow Plants
When I first started gardening I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! Everything was new to me. But I really wanted to be successful in the garden. Mark helped me pick out plants that are typically easy to grow. Those plants included squash, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
This year we will be growing all of these plants in raised beds. We adjusted the height of our older raised beds and built some new ones.
Easy To Grow Plant #1: Squash
Squash is a great plant for a beginner gardener. It grows quickly, and before you know it you’re ready to harvest bright yellow squash!
When planting squash it is important to remember how big they get as they mature. Squash plants can take up around 2 square feet! Be careful not to plant them too close to each other or anything else. Their leaves can quickly overshadow and overtake their neighbors.
First you’ll want to dig a small hole. We like to use a slow release fertilizer. Put a little bit of fertilizer in the hole and mix it in the dirt. Add water. Add your squash plant.
As the squash plant grows, the underside of the leaves becomes kind of fuzzy and prickly. I was definitely not expecting that the first time I grew squash!
We like to harvest squash when it is about 6 – 8 inches long. If the squash gets too big the skin will be tougher and the seeds bigger.
Easy to Grow Plant #2: Lettuce
Lettuce is probably my favorite thing to grow. Eating fresh salads made from crisp, homegrown lettuce is so refreshing. Lettuce also makes a great topping for many different dishes. I love going to the garden with a pair of scissors to cut the lettuce I need for whatever meal I’m preparing right then.
Lettuce is pretty quick growing. It’s best to harvest it when it is young and tender. The bigger the lettuce grows the more bitter it can become.
Lettuce prefers cooler temperatures. It is a great crop to grow in the spring and in the fall. We live in an area that doesn’t get too hot in the summer, so as long as we grow the lettuce in a shady spot we can have lettuce in the summer months too.
My favorite type of lettuce to grow is actually a mixture of different leaf lettuces. We get the seed mixture from our local garden supply store.
The seeds are so tiny! It can be hard to space them out when planting. You may have to do some thinning when they start to sprout.
Lettuce seeds do not need to be planted very deep. Just loosen up the soil, sow the seeds, and lightly cover with soil.
Another thing to consider is that you might not want all of your lettuce to be ready at the same time. Lettuce doesn’t keep very long. We like to plant a row or two of lettuce and then in two weeks plant another row or two. We continue to do that until we think we have enough, or until the lettuce bed is full. This way you can have fresh lettuce ready at varying times during the growing season.
Easy To Grow Plant #3: Radishes
Radishes are one of my new favorite foods. There are so many recipes that you can include radishes in.
Radishes are also a super food. Very healthy and rich in antioxidants and nutrients.
From seed to harvest, radishes mature quickly. It takes just a little less than a month to get your radish harvest.
This year we’re going to try radish seed strips to make spacing them out easier.
Not only do I love radishes, but so do rabbits. Be sure to have some way of protecting your radishes or you might be sharing them with some long eared critters.
Easy To Grow Plant #4: Tomatoes
I seriously never knew the difference between a homegrown tomato and a store bought one until I started to garden. Nothing can beat a homegrown tomato! There is nothing better than a tomato (or as Mark says mater) sandwich in the summer!
There are tons of tomato varieties. The different varieties are better suited for different uses: sauce, salsa, eating raw, canning. Figure out what you want to do with your tomatoes and that will help you pick the right variety.
The important thing to remember when planting tomatoes is proper spacing. The tomatoes need to be spaced far enough apart that the leaves can dry out after watering. If the leaves stay wet, the plant can get a blight that will destroy your plant and your tomatoes.
Easy To Grow Plant #5: Cucumbers
Everyone in our family loves cucumbers! Buddy and Goose are even growing them in their own little raised garden beds.
Cucumbers are great raw on a salad or as a side. They also make flavorful pickles and relish.
Cucumber plants like to crawl and spread out. It is best to train them to climb up a trellis of some sort. We have used a cattle panel for this. This year we’re also going to build a cucumber trellis in Buddy’s garden for his cucumber plant. We’re hoping to train Goose’s cucumber plant to grow up the picket fence.
The vines will climb up the trellis (or fence, cattle panel, or whatever you train them to climb up) and the cucumbers will hang down. I’m always surprised at how strong the vines are to hold up such large cucumbers.
A good friend of mine grows her cucumbers in hanging baskets on the porch!
Let’s Start Planting
These easy to grow plants helped give me the confidence to continue trying new plants in the garden. When you can be successful in one area it can help propel you to success in another area.
If you’re a beginner gardener and what you really want to grow isn’t on this list – go for it anyways! Give it a shot! Try something new! Try something hard! You might just surprise yourself.
What Are You Growing This Year?
Let me know in the comments!