Got a green thumb? Me either. But that shouldn’t stop you from growing your own garden right in your own backyard. Growing a garden is an activity the entire family can enjoy and benefit from. Whether you are a true gardening novice or just want to try something new, here are some of the most foolproof and easy vegetables to grow.
Start with growing lettuce, which grows quickly and can even be done in containers. You can start from seeds in partly shady areas and reap a near-constantly supply of salad greens from spring until mid-summer. Try baby greens like a mesclun mix and sow them close together in rows. They can be harvested in just a couple of weeks and by planting seeds every week or two, you’ll have lettuce all season long. To harvest the lettuce just snip the tops off the plants or pick lettuce leaves as needed.
For a novice, tomatoes are a vegetable that grow easily and abundantly. You can grow tomatoes in containers or in hanging baskets, or anywhere they will receive lots of sun. Treehugger.com recommends using starter plants such as cherry tomatoes and making sure you have support for their stalks, such as tomato cages. Another tip is to plant basil next to the tomato plants, which will naturally repel pests and improve the tomato flavor.
Although radishes may not be at the top of your child’s list of favorite vegetables, they are one of the fastest vegetables you can grow and get quick results from (which is half of the fun of gardening with kids!). Many varieties of radishes are ready to be harvested in just 20 days. Radishes are great for kids to help with because the seeds are large enough to plant and once they mature in three weeks, they are easy to pull from the ground.
Another fun vegetable to try to grow in a beginner’s garden are cucumbers, which like sunlight and warm temperatures. Similar to tomatoes, they grow rapidly and need support for vertical growth, but can do well in containers. Besides water and sun, cucumbers don’t need much else and by the end of summer, you will have more cucumbers than you know what to do with. Share with with the neighbors!
Pole and bush beans, more commonly known as green beans, are another great addition to a garden with little helpers who will be thrilled to help harvest and snap those beans off the vines. According to the Farmers Almanac, Bush beans grow compactly and will spread up to two feet, but don’t require support. Pole beans will grow as a climbing vine that could reach 15 feet tall. Bush beans require less maintenance, but pole beans yield more beans. So pick which will work best in your garden and space.
If you are trying to get your kids to try new vegetables, add kale to your garden. It’s an excellent spring vegetable that is easy to grow from seeds and can be harvested as baby greens and full-sized leaves. You can harvest baby leaves in just three weeks and full-size leaves will mature between 40 and 60 days. Add your fresh kale leaves to salads or smoothies, or make kale chips for the kiddos to try.
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This article originally published on April 16, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.