Food prices continue to rise making a trip to the grocery store more and more painful. With warmer temperatures on the horizon, get the family together and plant a vegetable garden to offset the cost of food this summer. Planting these easy to grow vegetables will help you reap a great harvest with very little work. These vegetables are great for beginning gardeners.
Easy to grow vegetables
1. Leaf lettuce – Leaf lettuce is easy to grow and is a great start to a summer salad. Plant seeds or young starter plants in well-drained soil and keep watered. Harvest before the hot weather of mid-summer. Watch out for slugs and rabbits who love to eat your lettuce before harvest.
2. Tomatoes – Tomatoes come in several varieties. Chose your favorite type and plant after the last frost. Use stakes to keep the plants upright and the ripening tomatoes off the ground (round wire tomato cages are best). Use mulch around the base of each plant.
3. Peppers – Growing peppers is as easy as growing tomatoes and come in a wide variety too. Stake plants upright and add mulch around the base. Do not plant until after last frost. Banana peppers harvest earlier than bell peppers.
4. Onions – The easiest way to plant onions is to use small starter plants. It is time to harvest when you see the foliage beginning to turn yellow. Store in a cool, dry environment.
5. Radishes – These are great for beginners because you can grow them in spring or fall and they are ready to harvest in just a month. You may need to thin them out as they begin to mature.
6. Zucchini – Zucchini needs plenty of room to grow and lots of sunshine. Sow seeds in late spring and harvest when the skin is green and shinny.
7. Beans – If you every did a first grade project with a bean, toothpick and a jar; you know how easy it is to grow beans. Plant in late spring and use stakes or garden wire cages to provide support for growing plants.
8. Carrots – Plant carrots in spring or late summer. Carrots need loose, deep soil to mature properly. After a few weeks, thin out the crop to allow the remaining plants to grow and mature without overcrowding.
9. Beets – Beets need to be planted in spring or late summer as well. You must harvest beets before they get thick and woody.
10. Spinach – You can plant spinach in either spring or summer; however, if planted in the spring you need to harvest before mid-summer when it is the hottest. Spinach is hearty and can be harvested after the first frost if planted in fall.
Do not worry if your soil is not great or you do not have the perfect place for a garden. We built a simple raised vegetable garden to make growing our vegetables even easier. For more information about growing vegetables in your climate or for detailed growing instructions, try the National Gardening Association’s website. Cornell University’s Vegetable Growing Guides was very helpful when we were learning how to grow our vegetable garden.
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