Gardening to produce food is hugely satisfying. Whether you grow from seed or transplants, watching the fruits of your labor progress to the stage when they’re ready to harvest gives great pleasure. And the taste of homegrown veggies outweighs the flavor of any other vegetables, even those you might buy at a farm stall or local farmer’s markets.
It’s not just because homegrown vegetables are super-fresh. It’s largely the satisfaction of harvesting veggies from your own vegetable garden. The choice, as you’ll see from our gardening tips, is varied. Our list of the 15 easiest vegetables to grow includes root veg like potatoes, beets, and radish, as well as lots of leafy greens and even winter squash.
Factors that Affect Vegetable Growth
Let’s start with some of the factors that affect the growth of vegetables. These will help you identify what to do right and what not to do to ensure your new vegetable garden is successful.
All you need to do is ensure that the growing conditions required for the vegetables you are growing are right for them. Then they will thrive.
If their environment isn’t suitable and they aren’t getting enough water, light, and nutrients, or they’re planted in the wrong type of soil, then they won’t thrive. They may even die.
The challenge for amateur vegetable gardeners is that different vegetables have different needs in terms of the primary factors that affect growth, including water, light, temperature, and nutrients. Gardening guides will provide you with some basic information, but once you’ve started growing your veggies at home, you will probably develop your intuition.
The location of any veggie bed will depend on the needs of whatever you have chosen to plant. In addition to the amount of sunlight or shade, it will get, factors include wind and soil conditions.
Most vegetables will thrive in compost-rich well-drained soil. But root vegetables usually prefer more sandy soil. Clay isn’t a good option for anything!
Light provides the energy that plants need to grow. Ultimately, light requirements are dependent on sunlight, and you must be sure that all your veggies get the sun that they need.
Some need more than others, but very few vegetables prefer shady spots. A large percentage prefer to grow in full sun.
Temperature affects the rate plants, including vegetables, develop. Generally, the warmer it is, the more quickly it will grow.
Temperatures also change the pattern of growth. Kyle Poling, a pioneer field agronomist who writes for Ohio State University’s agricultural journals warns that increased temperatures cause plants to grow taller and leaves to become narrower. They also grow further apart to cool themselves.
This can significantly reduce the yield of some crops. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow will often “bolt” in summer when temperatures get very hot.
For example, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and beets, all of which are in our easy-to-grow list below, will bolt by throwing up a flower stalk and quickly going to seed. It’s a survival mechanism caused by conditions the plant won’t survive in. You will lose your veg, but it will produce seeds that might produce more veg.
All plants need water to grow, from germination when you start from seed, through to harvest. Plants also need water for photosynthesis, and it controls the size of plants.
If your vegetables don’t get enough water, and the soil dries out, this can also contribute to bolting. On hot days, water controls transpiration, which helps to cool plants.
These are the chemical elements that all plants need to produce food through photosynthesis. You can help to ensure that your vegetables get the nutrients they need by balancing the soil and adding fertilizers if necessary.
15 Easiest Vegetables to Grow
There is no doubt that some vegetables are easier to grow than others. It is also true that some of your friends may find it easier to grow certain crops than you do. This may be because of local conditions, the soil in your garden, or simply the space you have available.
If you don’t have space, then you might want to try growing vegetables in pots. Either way, our list of the 15 easiest vegetables to grow is designed to get you going.
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a home veggie garden. They will grow in most soil types but thrive in rich soil with lots of well-rotted organic matter – so, add lots of compost. They do best in full sun.
There are all kinds of peppers, from red, yellow, and green bell peppers, to tons of different chili peppers. They all grow easily, and if you plant an assortment, you will have fresh peppers for salads, salsas, and stews throughout the growing season.
Plant your peppers after the last spring frost in good quality soil mixed with lots of compost. They like well-drained soil and full sun.
Sweet peppers take between 60-90 to mature. Hot peppers take up to 150 days but are usually worth the wait.
Radishes are probably the easiest root crop to grow. And you can harvest them in as few as 24 days.
Carrots take longer to sprout than radishes, but if you mix the two seed types, they will grow happily together. As you harvest your radishes, the carrots will fill up that space and continue growing throughout the growing season.
Cucumbers need soil that is high in potassium and nitrogen. They also grow well if planted close to corn because it acts as a windbreak and traps the heat that cucumbers need.
There are several compact bush cucumbers that are ideal for home gardeners with small spaces.
Bok choy, which is also known as Chinese cabbage, is a cool-season vegetable with crisp stalks and lovely small, tender leaves. It grows quite fast and needs minimal maintenance. It is usually grown as an annual.
It does tend to bolt if the weather is too warm. Unlike other leafy vegetables, it can also bolt if temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).
Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable that isn’t difficult to grow. It does, though, prefer a slightly acidic, organically rich soil and does best in full sun.
It’s important not to grow broccoli anywhere that you have grown other brassicas in the past four years. Rather practice crop rotation to keep the plants healthy.
Growing beans is easy. You don’t have trellis bush varieties, but pole varieties (that need support) will produce beans over a longer period of time.
There are lots of different types of beans to grow, but green beans are a favorite.
In hot areas, asparagus and lima beans are very easy to grow. In cool parts, snap beans are the easiest.
Like broccoli and kale, cabbage is a cool-season brassica. It needs rich, well-fertilized soil and lots of water to do well.
If cabbage doesn’t get enough water it won’t develop a good head.
Don’t harvest until you can feel that the head is solid. Sometimes it looks ready to pick, but the leaves are still loose on the inside.
Arugula (rocket) is an easy-to-grow leafy vegetable – unless you try to grow in the heat of summer! If conditions are right, it’ll take off and grow as aggressively as mint. Some people say it’s a slightly modified weed.
Arugula has a compact root system, so you can plant them close together, without Thinning. They like full sun but will grow in partial shade.
Tomatoes are super-easy to grow and will pop up anywhere even if they haven’t been planted. Throw a few tomato slices around your garden and see what happens! The only problem is that the quality of the tomatoes your bandit tomato plants produce may not be up to standard.
Said to be one of the world’s most consumed vegetable crops, in some climates, like California, tomatoes will grow from spring through fall. Elsewhere, they are largely a summer crop.
Have you ever seen a vegetable garden without lettuce? It’s easy to grow lettuce and almost everyone loves to eat it.
If you live in a mild climate, you can probably grow lettuce all year round. Plant seeds after the first spring frost and then keep sowing every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply of lettuce.
Even though it isn’t a palate-pleaser for everyone, kale is a fashionable green veggie that is very easy to grow. Something many people don’t realize is that the buds and flowers are also edible.
Also, it tends to get sweeter if it gets hit by a spring frost.
Zucchini, which is a summer squash, needs lots of manure or compost to do really well. They also need lots of space.
But they are so easy to grow, it’s a shame not to include them in your veggie garden. In small spaces, you can grow them in pots, though you’ll need large ones that are at least 16 inches (305 mm) deep and 12 inches (406 mm) wide.
There are many different types of winter squash including butternut and acorn squash. It’s not difficult to grow, but it takes patience.
Best grown from seed, winter squash is a warm-season crop that is very sensitive to cold conditions. Plant in early spring when the air and the soil are at least 60°F (15.5°C).
Winter squash are heavy feeders. You will need to plant them in soil with lots of compost and fertilize regularly.
Depending on the type, winter squash takes 60-110 days from seed to harvest.
Pickled beets are great, but if you grow them in your vegetable garden bed, you must try boiling and roasting fresh beets too. You can also eat the leaves, cooked in the same way as spinach.
How do you make vegetables grow faster?
At the beginning of this article, we discussed factors that affect the growth of vegetables. If you take all of these into account, you’ll make your vegetables grow faster.
But here is some additional advice:
Adding organic fertilizer to your soil ensures it is nutritious and limits pests and insect problems. You can make your own cheaply and easily.
If you chop up banana peels and add them to the heap, you’ll end up with compost that is rich in the essential potassium and phosphorus so many vegetables, including carrots, need.
Coffee grounds are rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Although root vegetables don’t do well when there’s too much nitrogen in the soil, leafy vegetables need nitrogen.
Cucumber needs nitrogen and potassium, so coffee grounds are an ideal addition to the soil.
If you want your vegetables to be bigger and better, consider installing a drip irrigation system with a timer. Since rainwater is purer than tap water, consider installing a water barrel too.
According to a much-quoted study carried out at the University of Colorado Boulder, plants given club soda will grow taller, greener, and faster than those given regular water.
All plants need air as much as they need water. So, good air circulation will result in better-nourished vegetable plants.
If you grow from seed, thin the seedlings, keeping only the largest and healthiest. You don’t want them to grow too close together.
If vegetables like tomatoes get too bushy, prune some of the more spindly stems. You’ll end up with more tomatoes in less time.
Grow Fast-Growing Types
This really is a no-brainer. If you want your veggies to grow super-fast, then plant varieties that grow fast!
For example, leaf lettuces, with loose-growing leaves, will usually grow faster than lettuce types that form a tight head. Cherry tomatoes will also produce a lot more quickly than large-fruited varieties.
Growing vegetables is rewarding and it can be a lot of fun. General awareness and mindful care will go a long way to producing an abundant crop.
The tips we have given you here will help you succeed. Enjoy!