When you first start a vegetable garden, it’s easy to get caught up in the dream of a bountiful harvest, involving all of your favorite produce. However, there are some vegetables that just aren’t as easy to grow, even if you are interested in it. As a beginner, you could become disheartened with your efforts to grow corn, or to produce the perfect melon — especially if you live in an area that is prone to cold weather.
I grew up in Idaho, and I know what a hard frost can do to plants. Additionally, in areas like Northern New York and Southeastern Ontario, you can end up with a short growing season. As a result, it makes sense to choose your produce attempts carefully. As a beginner, here are a few garden produce options that can yield encouraging results:
- Green beans: These are easy to grow, and they grow fast, so you end up with a relatively early harvest, which can be encouraging for a beginner. Plus, they are easy to freeze or bottle for eating during the winter.
- Tomatoes: Start with a strong plant, and plant after the frost, and you can see great results. In fact, tomato plants are often more productive than you can imagine. They preserve well through bottling or freezing, and you can use them to make spaghetti sauce and salsa as well. You can stock most of your tomato-based pantry items with help from produce from your garden.
- Basil: Hardy and easy to grow, you can dry it, and use it with tomatoes. Most other herbs are also easy to grow and dry for beginners, including perennial herbs like certain types of oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
- Zucchini: There’s a reason there are jokes about zucchini and other squashes. You can easily get a large harvest from this easy-to-grow produce choice.
- Greens: All types of greens grow fairly well. Kale is an especially good choice, no matter your climate. You can even use greens in winter gardening, if you get the right varieties. Spinach and various lettuces are great choices in addition to kale.
- Radishes: If you like radishes, you can plant these and see good results fairly quickly. They grow even in soil that isn’t particularly good, and you can harvest them after planting in spring and in fall.
- Strawberries: Add a little sweetness to your garden with the help of strawberries. Strawberry plants are hardy, spread, and are perennial. Put your strawberry patch in a sunny spot and you’ll be happy to see good results.
- Peppers: Different peppers are fairly easy to grow, and can grow even in the northern U.S./southern Canada if you plant after the last frost and keep them in a sunny spot. You can pick them at different times to get different flavors and colors.
One of the best things you can do when you have a climate that runs a little colder is to plant seedlings ahead of time. Plant your seeds in egg cartons or in other small holders, and keep them properly watered in a sunny window. That way, you’ll have a solid plant going when it is warm enough to plant them outside.