So you’re ready to start gardening. Feeling overwhelmed? I’ve been there. It’s hard when you’re first starting out, with so many plants to grow and different growing methods available. If you’re new to gardening or want to try some easy to grow fruits and vegetables with your kids, there’s plenty of fun and interesting options available. Here’s my recommendation of easy to grow fruits and vegetables for beginners and gardening newbies.
Often called “dillweed,” it’s aptly named because it grows like a weed. That makes it easy for new gardeners to grow. Perfect for growing in a container or a garden bed, if you let it go to seed it will reseed itself for next year. An essential herb for pickling, it’s also good for cooking a variety of dishes.
Learn more about growing dill.
A voracious grower in the summer, mint is a perennial herb that is a must-have in home gardens. Since it’s a fast spreader, it’s best grown in containers. You can then take it inside over the winter to enjoy fresh mint year-round. Great for tea or enhancing desserts.
While you’ll have to plant this annual herb every year, it’s worth it! Easy to grow in any sunny spot in a pot or a traditional garden bed, you can enjoy a summer of delicious Caprese salads and fresh pesto. Basil is a great companion plant for tomatoes and can even be grown indoors on a bright and sunny windowsill.
Another delicious perennial herb, chives is another must-have in any cook’s kitchen garden. My favorite part is their beautiful purple flowers, which are also edible! Easy to grow in a pot or a traditional garden bed. Chives can spread easily but are easy to dig up (and gift to neighbors or friends!). If you live somewhere with a hot summer, you’ll see most of the growth in spring and fall.
Radishes are so much fun to grow in the garden, especially because the time from seed to harvest is only three weeks for some varieties. It will be one of the first things you can harvest in your garden in the spring. Use succession planting to ensure a fresh radish harvest all season long.
6. Cherry Tomatoes
If you want to venture into the delicious world of tomato gardening but you feel intimidated, cherry tomatoes are the perfect starting place. Easy to grow in containers or in garden beds, they make a great snack or salad addition. If you select an indeterminate variety, you’ll have delicious tomatoes to enjoy all summer long.
Kids especially enjoy growing cherry tomatoes since they ripen faster than larger tomatoes and can be eaten easily right in the garden.
Most popular fruits require the space and time commitment of growing a tree, but strawberries are so much easier than that. Get a pot or a raised garden bed to plant a few strawberry plants and the by the next season you’ll have an overflowing strawberry patch. They spread via runners, so be careful planting them directly into the ground. If you’re planting this garden with your kids, be prepared to race them to get to the ripened berries first!
If strawberries are Level 1 for fruit growing, then raspberries are level 2. While they take up a little more space, they’re an easy and rewarding fruit to grow at home. To grow raspberries you’ll need a sunny spot and they usually grow well along a fence that can give the sprawling vine support. Your raspberry bush will produce year after year, but you’ll need to keep up on a pruning schedule, removing 2nd year branches after they fruit. One of the hardest parts of growing raspberries is fighting birds and squirrels for your harvest!
Most squashes are pretty easy to grow, but zucchinis are hands down the easiest. One or two plants in your garden (or a large 5-gallon container) will provide you with plenty of zukes to eat, especially in July and August when you’ll have plenty to harvest and gift to friends and family. Make sure you keep them well watered in hot weather and look out for squash bugs and vine borers and you’ll have a successful season. (Check out these delicious zucchini recipes.)
10. Bell Peppers
There are plenty of peppers to try in your garden, but bell peppers are a good starting place for newbies. Easy to grow in full sun or hot weather, these peppers are more sweet than spicy, meaning you’ll have more ways to enjoy your harvest. If you live in a hot climate, bell peppers are perennials, but many zones grow them as annuals. There’s a variety of colors available, especially if you grow from seed. Or you can grow a traditional bell pepper plant where you can harvest when the peppers are green or red.
If you want to start a container garden, avoid these common container gardening mistakes.