Ah, summertime — the living is easy, the fish are jumping, and the veggies are growing, providing you a bounty of free, fresh produce.
Many vegetables are easy to grow, but some can pose more of a challenge than others. If you are a beginning gardener, growing veggies with young kids or simply lack the time to fuss with finicky plants, check out this guide to the easiest vegetables to grow. We’ll provide the information you need, from the easiest vegetables to grow from seed to the easiest vegetables to grow in pots.
Many vegetables thrive with six to eight hours of sunlight when planted in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. It’s also important that you set your garden up with an automatic drip system after the danger of frost is past. Drip irrigation has become the standard for those who need a less labor-intensive and more time-effective gardening experience. This time-honored watering method frees gardeners from worrying about their prized veggies. It can also save you water, which saves you money, too.
Companion planting is a gardening method that takes advantage of the fact that certain plants benefit from being planted near other plants because their root systems can, in essence, communicate with one another. The symbiotic relationships between plants can be used for a successful growing season, especially with strategic planting.
Basil is not only easy to tend, but it also grows best near lettuce and tomatoes. This aromatic herb will grow to be 2 by 2 feet, before it is ready to be trimmed back. You can make a delicious pesto by blending basil leaves with olive oil and garlic cloves until the mixture turns into a creamy paste. This pesto can be used fresh or refrigerated for a quick, easy, and delicious meal or it can be frozen for several months before consuming.
Beets, carrots and radishes easily grow from seed in light, fertile soil. Grow these plants in rows that can be thinned to 3 or 4 inches apart. Beets and carrots can also be put in a blender to make a delicious and nutritious juice.
Corn is an easy veggie to grow, but it needs very fertile soil that is high in nitrogen to thrive into maturity and produce large ears. When the earliest settlers came to the east coast of North America from Europe, the native people here taught them to bury a fish head in each spot they wanted to grow a corn plant as a natural fertilizer. In modern times, it’s still a good idea to make sure the soil is sufficiently fertilized, but you can find fertilizers at gardening centers and nurseries.
Tomatoes will grow well if you dig a hole 2 feet deep and wide and fill it with fresh compost or top-quality organic soil. Certain types of tomatoes, such as patio varieties, are ideal for growing in pots and containers. A good-sized tomato plant will need a cage or structure to help support the branches when big, juicy tomatoes or a multitude of cherry tomatoes ripen. Cabbage-family plants, parsley, marigolds, basil, and chives are all great companions to a tomato plant.
Cucumbers are a climbing plant and do well if a trellis is provided for them. Nasturtiums, squash, and corn are good companion plants for cucumbers. These easy-to-grow plants come in many varieties. Lemon cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, garden variety cucumbers and pickling cucumbers are all great options for easy gardening. Cucumbers like some shade, so they do well when paired with sunflowers and will even grow up the sunflowers’ stalks.
Swiss chard and kale are not only easy to grow but are also very hardy and able to tolerate cold weather. In climates where weather is mild or more temperate, these plants will continue to grow through the fall and even into the winter. Chard and kale can be combined with spinach and blueberries in a blender to make a very nutritious smoothie.
Spinach grows easily and will do especially well when planted near radishes, eggplant, celery, and strawberries.
Peas are an easy climber to grow and do best on a south-facing trellis in the spring. They love growing in soil with additional nitrogen-rich compost. Squash, beans, radishes, corn, and cucumbers will all grow well with peas.
Lettuce loves to grow with carrots and beets and will enjoy growing next to the shade provided by tall flowers, such as snapdragons, cosmos, Amaranthus, gaillardia and ageratum.
Remember to plant taller and vining plants in the back or the north side of the bed to allow the shorter ones to get as much sunshine as possible. If you arrange your garden in rows at least 18 inches apart, this should be no problem. If space is limited and you’re planting in a wood-framed, raised bed, then the suggestions in this post should serve as a good guide. Spring is here and it’s time to get outside, so do a little planning to garden smarter this season.
In these dry times, a drip system will help establish a strong, deep roots that will spread out, enabling the plants to be more drought tolerant. The professionals at DripWorks are happy to help you with durable, high-quality irrigation products and expertise you won’t find at a big-box store.