10 Best Garden Crops for Beginners

Plan your first garden with these 10 easy crops that offer great cooking possibilities.

| December 2006

  • garden, garden plan, how to start a garden, first garden, food garden
    Discover the pleasures of gardening by taking on crops that can grow easily in your first garden.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/goodmoments
  • Radishes are ready to harvest in only a few weeks.
    Photo by Getty Images/emapoket
  • Plant salad greens in the spring and fall for year-round harvests.
    Photo by Getty Images/nikamata
  • Green beans are easy to grow and can be preserved and enjoyed long after their season is over.
    Photo by Getty Images/brytta
  • Even if your onion plants don't thrive, you can still eat the greens.
    Photo by Getty Images/rootstocks
  • Plant strawberries in a sunny spot.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/MaZiKab
  • Let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a variety of colors and flavors.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/sleto
  • Zucchini plants yield a prolific harvest.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/vvmich
  • There's no substitute for a homegrown tomato.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/posinote
  • Basil grows well from seeds or transplants.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/nextrecord
  • When kept cool, potatoes will store well for months.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/shanty

  • garden, garden plan, how to start a garden, first garden, food garden

If you want to grow a garden next spring, it’s never too early to start planning. One of the best ways to “learn as you go” is to read the seed catalogs that many companies will send for free. One of our favorites, with lots of gardening advice and great color photos, is Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 crops discussed below. All are easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seeds.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not-so-great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks. Plant the seeds in spring and fall.

2. Salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix — many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year-round.



3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they’re also delicious when pickled as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

4. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.

Bryan
9/12/2013 6:17:15 AM

When creating a raised bed for your spring garden use woodblocx to do it. See the best alternative to railway sleepers at www.woodblocx.co.uk/railwaysleepers.php


LUCI Dawson
4/10/2007 12:00:00 AM

For how to grow potatoes in straw, check out this recent post in the Whole Foods & Cooking section:http://www.motherearthliving.com/issues/motherearthliving/whole_foods/when-to-plant-potatoes_421-1.html


JENNIFER Steele
1/4/2007 12:00:00 AM

FJohnsonThis is a great way to grow potatoes. My small son and I did this a couple years ago, when I was pregnant and did not want to have to dig the potatoes. We put cages made of wire right on the ground, and dug a shallow hole in the ground under it to retain water(we did this in our hard-packed front yard). We put in the potatoes, straw, and a little manure. When harvest time came we just unhooked the wire and pushed over the pile. It was wonderfully easy. The only thing I will do differently next time is to get some root crop fertilizer. Plain manure really grows great tops. Ha Ha. Also, if it's windy you might have to put a sheet or something to keep them from drying out. I had no trouble at all covering them in severe cold weather, though. The wire cages are easy to pin plastic or old sheets to.Good Luck!






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