Growing fruits and vegetables in the garden can be a rewarding experience for the whole family. However, not all fruits and vegetables are equally easy to handle, and a few can be downright difficult. In this article, Savana will provides a detailed list of garden vegetables for all levels.
Some crops are considered cool season crops, while others are warm season crops. Cool-season crops like peas, cauliflower, and potatoes grow better in spring and fall, while warm-season crops grow best when planted in late spring and mature throughout summer. The use of continuous cropping is a huge benefit for increasing crop yields.
Veggies for Beginner
We'll start with some vegetables that almost anyone can grow--even on a porch or patio! Hardy and versatile, these plants produce bountiful crops that you can share with friends and family.
Peas like cool temperatures and are best planted in spring or fall. These climbing plants use tendrils to wrap around them as much as possible to maintain their slender vines as they grow upward. When peas are mature, they bloom and set pods relatively quickly. Because of their fast growth, they can be planted close to other garden vegetables and along fence lines. Plant varieties such as 'Easy Peas' for first picking in about 60 days and plant three rounds of seeds in a week for an extended harvest.
When discussing vegetable gardening for beginners, you can't pass up lettuce. These fast-growing plants can be sown directly in the garden and harvested in as little as 50 days. For a wide variety of leaves, try a leaf blend like the 'Looseleaf Blend' and enjoy different leaf shapes, colors, and textures. While lettuce has a tendency to sprout, keeping the plant well hydrated and protected from extreme heat can help prolong the harvest of brittle leaves. You can also plant successive crops every two weeks throughout the growing season, extending your harvest.
Home-grown tomatoes can be hard to compare to store-bought fruit because of their grape-ripe sweetness, juicy texture, and vibrant color. Hybrid cherry tomatoes like 'Baby Cherry' are easy to grow warm-season crops and produce fruit after 70 days of planting. Cherry tomatoes are especially easy to grow because they produce many smaller fruits that ripen quickly and draw less energy from the plant. Most cherry tomatoes are also indeterminate growers, meaning they continue to grow and bear fruit throughout the season, ensuring a steady harvest.
No list of vegetables to grow is complete without summer squash. With full sun and plenty of moisture, these warm-season growers mature in about 40 to 50 days after planting and will continue to produce through late summer. Varieties such as zucchini can be grown outside in late spring, after all danger of frost has passed.
Veggies for Intermediate Gardeners
The next five vegetables kicked the experience up a notch. While totally doable in a home garden, it takes a little more planning and patience to succeed. With a little care, they are sure to make a nutritious addition to your annual vegetable garden.
Broccoli is a staple in most households, but few people realize that growing broccoli in a home garden requires a lot more care. Like most vegetables in the cabbage family, broccoli is a cool-season crop that does best when grown in the warmer months of spring, fall, and even winter. Like their cabbage relatives, they will "pull back" to flower when stressed by heat, drought, or root crowding, so you have to be careful to keep these plants happy. Thrombosis-resistant varieties such as 'Sun King' should be planted in well-composted, moist soil in full sun and reach maturity 70 to 80 days after planting. For continuous sowing, sow seeds indoors before the last frost and let them continue for three to four weeks.
Native to the Andes in South America, the potato is another cool-season crop that likes rich soil and plenty of room to expand its root system. To add to the difficulty, potatoes are best planted in raised mounds above the soil line for eventual harvest. Potatoes are originally "seed potatoes" -- basically sliced potatoes, each with their own "eyes" or growing points -- that are sown in the soil in early spring when they are just starting to work. Varieties like 'Yukon Gold' are medium-sized potatoes that are ready to harvest about 100 days after planting. To harvest, remove soil from around the base of the plant, pulling the plant gently to allow the soil to fall off. Then, gently scoop out the remainder of the potatoes.
Winter squash grows in much the same way as summer squash and can be started outside after the last frost. What makes winter squash more difficult to grow is that it tends to take more time to ripen its thick rind and grow on longer vines. They can be stored for months in a cool, dark place in your home and make delicious soups in winter! Be sure to choose a spot in your yard where the vines will have plenty of room and full sun throughout the growing season.
Sweet corn is another crop that needs lots of planting and full sun, but it deserves a spot on our middle list of garden vegetables. For those with space, group these crops together for proper pollination and give them as much sun as possible throughout the summer. While corn is drought tolerant, when given plenty of water, the ears will be much fuller, especially when the ears start to appear. Because sweet corn is wind pollinated, plant varieties such as Early Sun are crossed with other types of corn every two to three weeks to avoid cross-pollination.
Heirloom tomatoes are a sight to behold in the summer garden. Varieties such as 'Brandy Powder' exude rich flavor and a classic old-fashioned tomato look that epitomizes the American garden. However, unlike hybrid tomatoes, these plants are more difficult to grow. If you're new to gardening, they can also be a bit of a disappointment: Heirs lack the vigor of hybrids and produce far less fruit on large vines. You need to pay attention to how they are placed in the garden and keep the humidity constant to avoid cracking the tomato skins. When you meet these requirements, they are sure to be the talk of the dinner table and a cult favorite among tomato lovers!