Beginners Garden - 10 Best Crops To Start A Garden
If you are a beginning gardener , chances are you may not have a "green thumb." However, after learning some tips from this hub, we want to get you going down a successful path. We suggest your goal be to grow something simple to plant, a crop that will mature fairly quickly, and to grow crops that will tolerate marginal soil conditions.
So what is the first crop you think of when mentioning the word garden? Almost everyone, novices or non-gardeners think of tomatoes, because there is nothing like a home grown, big red juicy tomato. However, tomatoes are heavy feeders and need a fair amount of maintenance. Bottom line is there are vegetable crops that are easier and more productive to grow for the beginner.
Here are our best suggestions and ones that we think will make your experience a success!
10 Best Vegetable Crops for Beginners
1. Radishes - These are one of the easiest cool weather crops. Radishes can handle a frost, and you are harvesting them in a month. Growing radishes is a great way to get an early start, they are often the first thing out of the garden, and can easily be grown in containers.
2) Lettuce - Once again, lettuce can handle some early frost, and the leaf lettuce spreads out the harvest over several weeks. With their shallow roots, growing lettuce works well in containers. We recommend leaf lettuce varieties until you are a pro.
3) Onions - The nice thing about onions is they can be used as green onions or at maturity, as bulb onions. Purchase the small plants at your local farmers market or local grower and plant early. They are ready when the tops naturally blow over horizontal with the ground.
4) Swiss Chard - Great in cold weather and it takes hot summer days fairly well also. Can last through the summer even in Texas, and carry into a fall harvest. The greens are great cooked in a little olive oil and feta cheese.
5) Green Beans - They like it a little warmer, but you can plant either bush beans for a burst of beans at harvest time, or pole beans that climb more and stretch out the harvest. There is nothing in the grocery store that compares to garden fresh beans.
6) Sugar Snap Peas - Either the original Sugar Snap Peas, which are a climbing vine that needs support, or a bush variety like Sugar Daddy. These usually don't make it in to our house; they are sweet enough to eat right off the vine. Our nine-year-old planted our crop of sugar snap peas this year and was so proud with the process.
7) Zucchini - Start with a bush variety, but these love the later spring days, and once they get started you'll have more zucchini than you know what to do with. Can have a few problems with squash vine borers, but planting early will help avoid those critters.
8) Peppers - Bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, there's a pepper for everyone. Peppers do well in warm, but not hot months. They actually like temperatures below 90 F, but you can keep them productive with an organic mulch to cool them in the extreme heat.
9) Potatoes - Grow them in soil or even in a straw bed. The tubers are straightforward to grow from seed potatoes, and if you can't wait for the final harvest nothing tastes like new potatoes from the garden.
10) Okra - This is a dark horse, and some don't really care for it. But it makes the list because there is nothing more impressive from a distance than a 5 foot tall freestanding okra plant. Likes the heat, and once it gets going you'll have more okra than you know what to do with.
Try one or more of these alternatives for your beginning garden, especially to get your kids interested in gardening, and you'll be impressed with just how good a gardener you can be.
Although cabbage is not on the "Top 10 List" we had phenomenal success with our winter crop of cabbage. It just sat there in the garden all fall and winter until this spring when it produced this beautiful head of cabbage.
The radishes were harvested in the late fall. Beautiful, aren't they?
The squash, zucchini, okra and green beans round out a great harvest!
What colorful peppers!
Potatoes and more!
Please Share Your Best Garden Results
What Vegetable Have You Had the Most Success Growing
Adding Compost To Your Soil
Any gardener will tell you good soil content is key to growing anything well. You can make your own compost or buy it at your local store; either way, compost is essential to having good, rich soil. This is an essential step to building good soil that will make your beginning gardening experience successful.
You can build your own compost bin, or invest in a composter.
We also use mulched leaves around the base of our plants to keep the moisture in the soil. This deters weeds from growing.
Repurpose a 5- or 10-gallon container by using it to harvest your vegetables. Make sure it is the kind with holes in the bottom. Place your harvest in the container and head straight to your garden hose for a rinse. You will keep dirt and mud out of your kitchen sink using this method.
By doing this action over your lawn, you will also repurpose the water!
Feeling green? You should be!
Or, if you want the real deal, purchase one of these Garden Hods. I did and enjoy the ease of eliminating a step from picking to bringing in the kitchen.
More Hubs on Gardening
- Tomato Cages, Stakes or Trellises - Which Do You Prefer?
When planting tomatoes you should think ahead on how you will support the plant as it grows. It will have to support a good bunch of succulent fruits so you will need a support system.
- Fast Compost - How to Make Compost Fast - Make a Compost Tumbler
Compost is a key element in having good soil in your garden. Compost can takes years to form or with a few tricks listed here, you can have compost in just weeks.
- Growing Blueberries - Tips on How to Grow Blueberries In Your Garden
Growing blueberries is something that can be done in most of the US. Here are a few tips on how to grow blueberries.
- EarthBox - How the EarthBox Garden Works
The Earth Box comes in two colors green and terra cotta.