If we’re being honest here, the best things to plant in a garden is what you enjoy eating! However, there are some staples that most people love, and are very easy plants to grow.
Fresh produce straight from a garden tastes better than any store bought fruit or veggies ever could. Shipping, time of harvesting, fertilizers used to grow and weed and pest prevention products all alter the taste of your food. Let me tell you, once you’ve eating fresh produce from a garden you’ll forever be ruined on purchasing from the store. Onions make you cry easier, tomatoes have such an intense flavor, and don’t get me started on fresh green beans. Yum! What’s even better about this, is that these are all easy plants to grow!
The grow list
My parents are both gardeners, and while they experiment some with different crops, they always have the same staples from year to year.
For weather reference, we’re zone 6, (find your zone here) which means things like watermelon, and often times corn, do not have a long enough growing season if you were to simply sow the seeds outside after chance of frost is gone. If you live in a warmer zone and have a longer growing season that adds more plants onto the easy to grow list.
Since I speak from experience of where I live, this list is made for a relatively middle of the range to shorter summer.
Want to start seeds indoors? Make sure to check out this article all about seedlings and when to plant.
To keep it simple though, for this article we’re talking mostly about purchasing small starts to begin a garden when the threat of frost is gone. If starting from seed seems too intimidating don’t worry, you can always attempt it in the years to come!
Garden beds: Raised or Not. Pros and Cons.
Before getting into the plants, we need to make sure you have a solid place to put them.
Raised garden beds are my personal favorite. Though more expensive at the beginning, it pays off in dividends when you’re not breaking your back weeding and the dirt isn’t running off with each watering. Raised beds also help keep the nutrients in place. All this makes them super easy to maintain.
If you don’t have the budget or time to make raised beds don’t fret, I went several years using an in-ground garden area and it worked fine! Add the raised beds when you have the time/money. Patio gardens are also a trendy thing where all the garden plants are in pots around you patio or yard. While this usually limits the amount of plants you have and product you can harvest, it’s a great place to start!
Ready to go all in and make raised beds? Here is a post and tutorial on how we constructing quality garden beds that will last us until the end of time.
Easy plants to grow in your garden
And with the basics covered, let’s get into the plants!
Tomatoes need lots of sun, water, a good quality dirt and they will flourish! If purchasing from starts, pony packs ( a pack of 6 small tomatoes ) is the perfect way to go. Purchasing large plants that are already well developed tend to not do as well when transplanting into a new area. Also, they are much more expensive making your garden cost more, especially if you’re purchasing lots of them. Younger, small starts are the way to go for quality and price.
Bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, and most other hot or mild peppers grow great in full sun. They enjoy heat like tomatoes, and at least one or two waterings a day. Needing nothing special but water and sun, bell peppers fresh from the garden are my favorite to add to salads and sauté dishes. Also jalapeños and hot peppers work great in salsa. But be careful, a few goes a long way!
The best way to purchase onions is onion bulbs. Essentially they are sold in small bundles with tiny onion pearls the size of dimes. You sow these into the soil, covering the onions completely, and pretty soon you have pretty green stocks shooting out of the ground and in a few months you have the most tasty onions. Make sure to plant onions in quality soil as they pull lots of nutrients from the ground.
Strawberries are so darn easy! And they spread like wildfire, so be ready for that. Keeping them contained in pots or bed is the easiest way to prevent them from taking over your garden. Strawberries don’t need much to thrive. They can grow well in part sun and part shade, are perennials, and come back year after year!
Radishes are truly a plant you can’t get wrong. Start them from seed once all chance of frost is gone and they’ll pop up quickly and be one of the first plants you harvest, usually in late May to early June.
Again these are fine to sow into the soil as seeds. There are vining beans, that need a trellis, and there are bush beans, which grow into a small bush and need nothing to climb. While climbing beans can be fun, if you don’t have the space bush beans will do well! My parents always had a whole bed of them and mom canned enough to last as side dishes and in soups all winter long.
She use to put on an old movie in the evenings after picking, sit down with a huge silver bowl of beans and snap the ends off to can them while we all watched 7 Brides for 7 Brothers or maybe The Sound of Music or Gone with the Wind.
So many good options for beginners that will thrive in the space you give them! What do you want to plant (or should I say eat?) the most? Also make sure to follow along in Instagram Stories as I do garden updates weekly and also share how I can and freeze my harvest!