If you are a beginning gardener and feel overwhelmed at what to do, where to start, and what you can easily grow, then this is for you. Growing a first-time vegetable garden need not be a big fuss. Here are 11 easy to grow vegetables for your no-fuss garden!
I have a good friend who says gardening is a science. The right things planned and charted. Checklists, time tables, spreadsheets. That all gives makes me want to run screaming…
I, on the other hand, think gardening is an art, a dance, a rhythm. You will never see my garden on a spreadsheet! Maybe a sketchpad but never a spreadsheet, eek…
The cool thing is is that gardening will reflect you the gardener.
So be you more like my friend with a science/math mind or more like me a free-spirited garden artist. All that to say gardening is not difficult, but it is personal.
Learning to garden is not difficult, however as a former beginner, I can attest to how intimidating trying to grow a garden for the first time can feel.
How do you start?
What is the difference between a back to Eden or a square foot garden?
Why did grandma used to say to use hay again?
Are all plants similar in difficulty to grow?
And what should you grow?
It can all seem so overwhelming and even paralyzing. Trust me I know. I was there too.
The good news is that the most difficult part is all in your head.
Easy to grow vegetables for first-time gardeners
Beans can be super easy especially if you choose bush-type beans that don’t need much as a way of support like pole beans in the way of a trellis. With good loose soil, beans are easy to grow, and they have the added benefit of being a nitrogen fixer (meaning it adds nitrogen to your soil. Making your soil even better for the next crop!
Many people have a strong opinion about beets. They either love them or hate them. I get it, the first time I grew them and ate them I thought they tasted like dirt! Now we love beets, and I make beet puns whenever possible. In fact, I love them for health so much it’s just about a daily food item! I learned fermented beets were amazing and beet kvass is my favorite drinks ever!
Love them or hate them, beets do make just about one of the easiest veggies to grow. From sun to partial shade cool to warm weather. When talking about easy to grow vegetables this is one of the tops.
Who doesn’t love garlic? To top that off garlic is a no-fuss plant in the garden too. When you find a blub that is sprouting, plant that puppy and it will grow, almost guaranteed. It does tend to love well-drained soil and full sun, but it can still thrive in many other conditions as well. Plant it in a flower bed, or even somewhere outside of a well-tended garden space and you can just about forget about it until harvest time, it doesn’t get any easier than that!
The lesser-known cousin in the allium family (that’s the onion and garlic family). Lesser known or not it is just as easy to grow and can be used in much the same way you would use an onion. It stores amazingly well dried or frozen and it is a wonderful winter addition to soups and stews. Plant leeks in 1/2 depth, and 6 inches apart in high organic matter garden methods (bio-intensive or back to Eden) or 9 inches apart in more traditional methods.
If you ever wondered if you could grow your own kale and try your hand at DIY Kale chips, fear not, kale is a cinch. Kale is in the brassica family, like broccoli and cabbage. It tends to like cool weather but can still do well in warmer weather, It will just grow faster and get more fibrous or tougher sooner. Tougher kale is great frozen and saved for a winter stew. Waste not, want not. Kale can be planted 1/2 deep and as close as 12 inches apart when using the bio-intensive or back to Eden garden methods, or 16 inches apart using more traditional methods.
A personal favorite, kohlrabi is also in the brassica family and enjoys a bit of cool weather. Kohlrabi can handle full sun to partial shade to it makes a good plant to plant in between taller plants that need more full sun. This lesser-known member of the brassica family makes a mean dish of roasted potatoes and kohlrabi!
It’s obvious here that since we have both garlic and leek on this easy to grow vegetables list, that onion would also be on the list. I put onion in everything, just ask my kids they mention that one to me ALL THE TIME (rolling my eyes). I let them know it because God made it so darn easy to grow so we just have more to enjoy to which they roll their eyes.
And it is true. Onions are A-MAZING! Pests don’t bother them, they make a good companion plant much of the time, with the exception to the beans and peas. Heck, you don’t even need to have a garden to make these work just tuck them away in between other plants or way out of sight in a healthy patch of dirt and they will do just fine!
I have to admit I don’t particularly like peas, but the rest of the family loves them. So thank heavens they are one of those easy to grow vegetables because I would just not be very motived otherwise. Peas being dainty and delicate only need a little something to climb on and they do thrive in cool weather best. If you keep picking the pods they will do better at giving you a continuous supply. Peas can and freeze well, that is if your family doesn’t insist on just eating them ASAP (like mine).
Radish might just be the beginners, beginner veggie. Radishes have some varieties that go from planting to harvest in 18 days, yes you read that right! When I first learned how fast radish grows I was sold, I didn’t care if we like them or not, we were going to be eating them. I mean come on 3 weeks or less to homegrown, fresh from the garden veggies, we could learn to like them for that! Radish crops were perfected by the fresh gardener of the 1800s and can go in tight spaces, needing no more than 2 inches in good soil, and a little protection from cold. They can thrive from fairly cool (cold frame friendly) to summer heat in shady areas. Plant them in between taller plants that need more sun.
Turnips can be grown for either the leaves or the roots. Turnips do well in cool weather and like most other root plants don’t necessarily need much sun, so tucking them away in between other sun-loving plants does just fine for the turnip. Growing food while not wasting space. Turnips are a friendly neighbor and play nice with just about all other plants. With as little as 6 inches in well-drained and highly fertile soil, Turnips are great for extending the garden season and getting the max out of any patch of dirt. Turnips make great greens or if you are like me and have a love affair for all things fermented, the roots make a wonderful gut-healthy fermented veggie!
As far as sun-loving warm weather plants go zucchini is the king of easy street. With nothing more than a few feet of healthy dirt zucchini will thrive and produce you more healthy veggies than you know what to do with. As long as you start with loose and not compact soil you will never see a pest in sight! Zucchini attracts bees and can be grown for both the edible blossoms as well as the fruit. After planting zucchini be ready to eat every zucchini dish you dare find on Pinterest along with freezing enough to have zucchini bread all year long! Give zucchini at least 18 inches and plenty of sun and water, and get ready to get your eats on.
Gardening is not nearly as difficult as one might imagine. Heck, mother nature does the hard part we are merely keepers of the seed. If you are wanting to try your hand at gardening, forget about that time you failed at the hang upside down tomato growing contraption, and give these 11 newbie gardener plants a go. You will soon be thinking of yourself as an official green thumb and boot the grocery store produce aisle to the curb ♡♡♡
Comment, share and enjoy
From our family to yours, thanks for stopping by
P.S. Looking for more homegrown goodness? Subscribe to The Upcycled Family Community for more garden ideas, posts, and DIYs!
Beth is a mother of 5 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.