10 Easy Garden Plants

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Photo by John Ivanko
Planting easy garden plants will give the youngsters in your family a chance to participate.

If you’re planting your first garden, we strongly urge you to consider starting with easy garden plants. These 10 crops are all easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these plants can be started from seeds, but most are easier to grow if you start by purchasing seedlings.

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.

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

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 danger of frost has passed.

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

Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Just be sure to put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well weeded.

Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

Bush zucchini. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. It’s easiest to start from plants, and you won’t need more than a few.

Tomatoes. There’s just no substitute for a perfectly ripe tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start from plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing.

Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.

Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low-maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil.

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