If you’re new to gardening or just starting your vegetable patch, here is a list of 5 of the easiest vegetables to grow. These will produce a good harvest for you to enjoy.
Garlic is very easy to grow but will take a few months before you can harvest the cloves. You need to purchase starter bulbs from a nursery or garden supply company. You can usually purchase these by mail order too. Once you have your cloves, break them up. Then, plant the individual bulbs with the pointy tip pointing up about 1.5 – 2cm below the ground.
It helps to have friable soil as soils that are too heavy will produce smaller bulbs. You can also grow garlic quite successfully in pots. Choose a sunny position, water regularly and fertilize throughout the growing season with a complete fertilizer. Put some mulch around the plants to reduce weeds and keep moisture in the soil.
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Garlic is usually planted in Autumn and will be ready for harvest in spring or early summer. Wait until the flowers have finished and the leaves have died down. Once harvested, the bulbs will keep for many months. You can even keep one or two aside to plant for the next crop.
Lettuce is super easy to grow and can be grown almost anywhere. It can be grown in the vegetable or flower garden, in containers in the courtyard or on the balcony. There are dozens of different cultivars available giving your salads both color and variety.
Lettuce plants need regular watering and protection from the hot afternoon sun. Plus, these plants appreciate fertilizers high in nitrogen to promote leaf growth. Leaf lettuces tend to tolerate much warmer temperatures than head lettuces.
Another major advantage is you can just pick the outer leaves when you need them. The plants will continue to grow new leaves for later picking. This means you can have fresh lettuce from your garden for many months.
You can grow your own seedlings from the huge variety of seeds available or purchase seedlings in punnets. Imagine the money you will save by having a number of different varieties growing in your garden. This is much more cost-effective than purchasing the mesclun mix in grocery stores which can be quite expensive.
If you’ve never tasted homegrown potatoes, then you’re in for a treat if you decide to grow your own. And they are incredibly easy vegetables to grow. Seed potatoes are available from nurseries or garden centers or by mail order. They are best planted in late winter to early spring as they don’t like frosts.
Once the shoots start to emerge they will grow very quickly. It’s a good idea to apply a deep layer of pea mulch or straw as the plants continue to grow. This will encourage many more tubers and you’ll protect the growing tubers from light to avoid them turning green. Green potatoes are poisonous as are the stems and leaves of the plants.
Keep adding more mulch as the plants grow as this will also help to promote higher yields. You can also grow potatoes in bags or other containers and even old tires. Just make sure you are able to add more mulch as the plant grows.
Once the plants have flowered you can start to harvest new potatoes by digging gently around the base of the plant. This allows you to find tubers that are large enough to eat. When the plant has completely died down, you can harvest the remainder of the crop.
Make sure that you dig around a bit as the tubers can be spread around and quite deep. Homegrown potatoes can last for many months if kept in a cool, dark place.
4. Silver beet or Swiss chard
Silver beet is very easy to grow, producing large glossy green leaves. The leaves are highly nutritious and high in iron.
This vegetable can be grown in the garden over long periods of time. The outer leaves can be harvested continually until the plant eventually goes to flower. The plant can also re-sprout from around the base if cut off when it starts to flower.
There are some very interesting heirloom varieties available, including ones with red or yellow stalks. This makes them quite an attractive specimen which can also be grown quite happily in the ornamental garden. Keep the plants watered regularly in the warmer months and use a fertilizer high in nitrogen to promote leaf growth.
Spinach prefers cooler weather as the hotter temperatures tend to make the plants go to seed. These plants produce beautiful dark green leaves that are high in vitamins. They’re excellent to use both in salads and for cooking.
The spinach plant produces a deep taproot so it’s a good idea to loosen the soil a little before planting it out into the garden. Young plants can be grown in semi-shade to protect them from the hot sun which will extend the growing season.
Like silverbeet, spinach prefers a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to promote leaf growth. If you like a constant supply of spinach, you can plant seedlings successively. This will ensure a longer harvest and you can continue to harvest the outer leaves as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once planted, garlic requires very little care. Plus, it can be grown in a wide range of soils and climates.
While it is possible to grow garlic in a pot, you should choose a deep pot that is at least 30cm in diameter. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage. Only plant around 3 individual cloves spaced evenly. Place the pot in a bright spot as garlic needs plenty of light.
Lettuce grows quickly and can be harvested continually. Especially if you grow the loose-leaf varieties.
Lettuce requires around 4 to 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily.
Potatoes are ideal for growing in containers. In fact, growing them in grow bags is ideal.
Plant your potatoes in early spring, once the soil temperature is around 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 13 degrees Celsius).
Spinach does prefer cooler temperatures. However, it can be grown in the shade during summer.
Swiss chard is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It requires minimal maintenance. Plus, the individual leaves can be harvested when you need them.
You can definitely grow Swiss chard in pots as long as the pot is deep enough to accommodate the root system.
If you’re just starting to venture into vegetable gardening, start with these 5 easiest vegetables to grow. This will give you confidence to then branch out in other varieties that might need a little extra care.