Many factors need to be taken into account when choosing the best vegetables for your home garden: plant size, soil requirements, sun exposure, harvest size, nutritional profile and so much more. Many vegetables can be grown in just about any region with little to no experience. For the sake of simplicity, deliciousness, health and fun, here are the 13 best vegetables to grow at home:
Leafy green lettuce varieties can be grown easily and plentifully in your home garden and even in containers. Lettuce seeds are best sown in moderately cold soil – ideally about 40° F. Till the soil well and fortify it with plenty of organic compost. Short frequent watering is best. Depending on the variety, plants will mature in about 45 to 55 days.
There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes, most of which can be easily grown in home gardens, in containers and even indoors. They are one of the easiest and best vegetables to grow at home. Cherry tomatoes are a particularly good variety for home gardens. Choose indeterminate varieties in order to have a crop that produces all summer long. For best results, sow your seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost of your area. Tomato plants like rich soil, warm weather, lots of sun and consistent watering. There are so many different types of tomatoes to grow. We love this variety pack of Organic Heirloom Tomato Seeds.
Kale is a cold weather crop and tastes best after being nipped by a bit of frost. However, it can be grown in just about any climate but will taste bitter if raised in temperatures exceeding 80° F. Sow seeds directly into your garden about 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost of winter. Work the soil well and fortify it with organic compost. Keep the soil moist—water regularly. Kale is usually ready for harvest 70 to 90 days after sowing, depending on the variety. Kale can also be grown easily in pots.
Radish seeds can be sown directly into your garden about 4 weeks before the last frost of the season. They like fertile, well-drained soil but do not need much fertilizing. Keep the soil moist and be sure they get plenty of sun. They mature quickly. Some varieties may be ready for harvest in as little as 3 weeks. Because they’re so easy to grow, it’s fun to grow unusual radish varieties. This Multicolor Radish Seed Packet Assortment is a great way to get started.
Swiss chard is a delicious and nutritious vegetable whose beautiful leaves will brighten up any garden bed. Seeds can be sown directly into your garden bed about 2 weeks before the last frost or once soil temperatures reach at least 50° F. Swiss chard likes loose, rich soil, lots of direct sunlight and regular watering. It takes 50 to 60 days to reach maturity and are best if harvested when reaching about 8 to 10 inches.
Sweet peas, snow peas and snap peas are all great for home gardening. Sow seeds directly into your garden bed 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost or once soil temperatures reach 45° F. Makes sure your soil is well turned, well drained and fortified with nutrients from organic compost or fertilizer. Water sparsely but do not let plants wilt or dry out. Regular fertilizing is usually not necessary, but peas do like potassium and phosphorus. Harvest regularly once the pods develop to encourage continued production.
Zucchini plants can produce an abundance of delicious vegetables. For best results, sow your zucchini seeds indoors about 2 weeks before your expected last frost or directly into your garden bed once the threat of frost has passed. Zucchini needs lots of sunlight, frequent watering and well fertilized soil with good drainage. They are ready for harvest in about 60 days. They’ll grow large if you let them but the smaller vegetables have better flavor.
Once you’ve harvested your zucchini, check out Zucchini Noodle Recipes, to find recipes for turning them into healthy zucchini noodles (aka “zoodles”!)
Cucumbers thrive in hot weather with lots of sun and water. There are two types to choose from: vining or bush. Vining cucumbers produce more fruit, but bush varieties may be better suited for pots and small gardens. Wait until soil temperatures reach 70° F to sow your seeds. Use rich, well-drained soil. Water regularly and use mulch to help maintain moisture in the soil. Harvest after 55 to 60 days.
Eggplant is an extremely nutritious vegetable that can be easily grown in a small home garden or in containers. For best results, sow your seeds indoors about 9 weeks before the last expected frost for your area and transfer seedlings outdoors once temperatures reach 70° F. Use an organic compost tea to fertilize and mulch immediately to maintain good moisture in the soil. Water regularly and harvest once the fruit are about 6 to 8 inches long.
Spinach is a vitamin-rich vegetable that likes short, cool days making it perfect for spring or fall gardening. Seeds can be sown as soon as the soil can be worked. You can even sow them over frozen ground and they will germinate as the soil thaws. If planted in rich soil with partial shade and adequate water, they will grow rapidly.
Broccoli can be harvested in the spring or the fall. For best results, sow your seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost of the season. Transplant seedlings outdoors once they’re about 4 weeks old. Broccoli plants are heavy feeders and like sunny garden beds with fertile, well-drained soil.
Carrots are a perfect cold weather crop. There are five basic types of carrots. Some like deep loose soil and some can do fine in shallow, heavy soil. Check your seed packets or with local growers to choose which is best for your home garden. Sow seeds three weeks prior to the last frost of the season. Carrots thrive best in loose, freshly turned soil that is free of rocks. If you have heavy soil, fortify it with mature compost or aged-manure. Keep the soil moist but never soggy.
Bell peppers are a delicious addition to any garden. They like hot climates. Wait until the soil is at least 75° F before planting. Sow your seeds indoors to be sure the cold weather does not stunt their growth. You’ll need rich soil to sow the seeds and to fertilize them regularly after they begin to mature. Keep the soil moist but never let it get muddy. Harvest is ready after about 75 to 90 days or when the peppers reach their intended color (most are green while still immature).