ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Plants for Beginning Farmers

Updated on February 7, 2013

Corn Crop

Commercial crop of corn
Commercial crop of corn | Source

Starting a Farm

Being a farmer at home can be a very rewarding thing to do. Growing your own food is a wonderful way to control what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides are used on the plants. In addition to the overall safety of your homegrown food supply these foods usually just taste better than what you can purchase at your local supermarket. The best explanation for this is that some produce can come from far away to get to your community; the farther it has traveled the sooner it may have been harvested.

Living in the central valley of Northern California we are blessed with a climate that allows a wide assortment of things to grow. We don’t have to worry about snow, with the exception of a weird winter every once in a while, and our summer sun seems to help plants thrive.

Best Fruits and Vegetables

A popular thing to farm is fruits and vegetables. At our house we planted fruit trees the first winter after we moved in and reap the benefits of them each year. I believe we got about twenty pounds of apricots off our one apricot tree this year. This annual bounty is part of the reason my wife wanted to learn how to can and preserve because we cannot simply eat that many apricots, especially since I don’t like them; it is pretty cool to see our kids using apricot jam from our tree in December though.

Depending on what you plant you will either yield something later in the growing season, or you might need to wait a certain amount of seasons before being able to get anything.

Our delta region is pretty famous for growing asparagus; a nearby city even has a festival every year that attracts over one hundred thousand visitors for the three day event. We built a raised bed specifically for some asparagus. For asparagus to root properly it is recommended that you do not cut anything from the plant for three years. The plant will die back every winter and become dormant until the springtime. Next year is the finish line of the three years; it should be fun getting something off of the plants.

The biggest key to farming successful crops is to learn what plants will thrive in your area. If you don’t know your climate zone learn it. You will also need to understand what kind of soil you will be growing in because trees and plants have different needs.

A great example is the clay soil that we have on our property. Clay soil drains very poorly and a cherry tree needs well-draining soil. We tried hard to get a cherry tree to do well in our yard. After the third unsuccessful attempt we took the hint and abandoned our efforts.

Nursery Fruit Trees

A row of fruit trees at a nursery
A row of fruit trees at a nursery | Source

Nursery Centers

A great resource to understand your climate and soil is a local nursery. If you have one in your community, or even nearby, pay them a visit. No disrespect to the nursery people at home improvement stores because I have run across a couple of good ones there too but they cannot compare to the knowledge a nursery can provide.

A local nursery will walk you through everything you need to know and they will probably have a better selection as well. This is a great option, especially if you have a specific tree or plant you are looking for.

We have a small nursery in town and a larger one about twenty miles away. We hit both of them whenever we are getting ready to plant something.

Farmers Market

Do you go to a local farmers market?

See results

Tips For Planting

For some beginners there is a learning curve and that is OK; not everyone is ready to go outside and grow the biggest green thumb in the neighborhood. If you struggle getting plants to take root try considering buying the larger ones. They will cost more than the smaller ones but they have already passed their most vulnerable stages and can take more stress than the smaller ones.

Bigger plants are also able to take more attacks from bugs as well. We had a problem a couple of years ago getting lemon cucumbers to grow. We would plant them and the next morning the bugs had eaten everything except a little stem, the plants would die shortly afterwards.

Pesticides and Do it Yourself Pest Control

We are not fans of pesticides because we are going to eat what we are growing, plus we have chickens and we don’t want them getting accidentally poisoned. To address our cucumber problem we learned to cover the plants with flower pots. We would bury the pot into the soil to keep bugs from tunneling under the pot and feasting on the new plants. We would install the pots in the evening and then remove them in the morning since the bugs were most active at night.

If you are OK with pesticides go ahead and use them but follow the directions as the package indicates.

Crop Dusting

A plane crop dusting a commercial field
A plane crop dusting a commercial field | Source

How to Grow Tomato Plants

Growing tomatoes is probably one of the more popular things for a farm. The plants are super easy to put into the ground and don’t take up too much space. They also come in a wide selection of varieties and sizes, even colors.

To successfully grow tomatoes you will need to erect some kind of support system for them because they can get top heavy, especially when they are weighed down by a bunch of veggies.

Metal cages are available at any home improvement store or you can build one out of left over metal fencing; do whatever you feel more comfortable doing on this one. The key is getting the cages up early because trying to put them up after the plant has already grown is a real pain, trust me.

Zucchini Blossoms

Blossoms just starting to mature into zucchini
Blossoms just starting to mature into zucchini | Source

Grow Squash

Squashes, particularly zucchini, are a popular vegetable as well. For me the attraction to growing zucchini is that I can usually get plenty from just one or two plants. Since they provide so much you don’t need a few plants, like you would with many other vegetables.

Another reason that I like growing zucchini is because the ones sold in the store are small and sad. The store usually sells them smaller than bananas and I prefer them just a little bit bigger. Don’t get me wrong they can get too big but I have a personal preference to the average size that I like my zucchini.

Just one warning, when you grow zucchini the little stalks have small pointy things on them that will sort of scratch you when you are trying to harvest the plant. The scratches won’t break the skin or anything but they do get a little bit annoying and might irritate your skin.


One thing that we kind of accidentally discovered was an easy thing to grow at home is chard. My wife planted some a couple of years ago and these things did very well. Again I don’t like them (I know that I’m picky) but the rest of the family does so we have added it to our seasonal rotations.

They don’t take up too much room and can give you edible leaves for a very respectable timeframe. Just make sure to harvest them as recommended because if you let them grow too long they become tough and not really edible anymore.

Growing Corn

I have always enjoyed growing corn. I can still remember when I was little and my parents planted some corn in our backyard. I don’t know what it is about them but I like watching corn grow.

What makes it a great starter crop for most people is they are very easy to plant and don’t take up too much ground space since they grow up not out.

One thing we have learned about growing corn is what kind of preparation you should take in the soil before planting them. Some plants pull more nutrients out of the ground than others and corn is one of them. To give your crop the best chance of being successful add healthy amounts of compost to the soil and work it in so they have plenty of nutrients available, corn is considered a heavy feeder.

Farms, Farmland and Commercial Farming

Commercial farms have perfected the art of providing food for our planet's occupants. They know what works best for their area and know what is selling for top dollar. These farmers have also become experts at getting the most out of the acreage.

Living out in the country we are surrounded by a few plots of land that are commercially farmed. Call us weird but it is kind of fun, like opening a presents at Christmas, to see what they are planting each year.

There is a large one hundred plus acre section of land that is something different every year. Last year they grew tomatoes, this year it is corn. In the winter they grew a cover crop of what we believe was wheat hay.

We are amazed at how they can keep their rows of crops in perfect lines since we have a hard time doing it in our little garden but I guess that is why they are the professionals and home farmers are still amateurs.

Crop Rotation

One detail that gets overlooked is rotating your crops. As mentioned earlier some plants pull large amounts of nutrients out of the soil and not every plant uses the same nutrients. What this means is planting tomatoes or cord in the same spot every year can sap too much of what they need out of the ground and lead to less than desirable results from your crop.

Switching it up every season should be more than enough to keep the soil ready for what you are growing.

Organic Food Farming


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      teaches12345 - Asparagus has been an interesting one for us but so far so good. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Nettlemere - Absolutely on the link, thanks. I have never seen a field after leeks have been harvested so I will have to take your word, I can only imagine the smell.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      I would love to have a small garden out back but we have limited space. We are experimenting with container gardens at the time -- mainly tomatoes. Asparagus is one plant that would be so nice to have as I love this veggie. Thanks for posting this helpful information.

    • Nettlemere profile image


      8 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      This ties in nicely with my designing your small farm hub - so I've linked to it if that is ok. I live in a pastoral area now, but when I lived in Nottinghamshire enjoyed seeing what the farmers planted each year. one year all around the village the fields were full of leeks --- which was fine until they harvested them and the waste leek leaves lay across the fields stinking whilst they rotted! It smelled far worse than slurry.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      greeneryday - thanks, I'm glad that you are interested in growing corn. It is very cool to watch them break the surface of the soil and then mature into tall stalks.

    • greeneryday profile image


      8 years ago from Some tropical country

      Some great tips for inexperience soon to be farmers, I think I will start with growing corn, it seems relatively easier... thanks for writing this hub..


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)