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Apr 24, 2017
Top 10 easy to grow vegetables for beginners
Scott Mozingo  Product Manager, Burpee

If the thought of growing your own food has always appealed to you, but seemed too daunting, don’t be nervous! There are a lot of vegetables that are super easy to grow, even if you think you don’t have a green thumb. Here’s my pick of the 10 best starter vegetables.

Green Beans
Beans are easy to start from seeds if you follow the directions on the back of the package for planting, but you can also find beans already started. With very few pest or disease problems, beans will reliably produce for you in the ground or in containers. Look for bush types and you’ll be rewarded with large harvests from smaller plants.

Peas
Just like beans, peas are an easy item from seed but you can also find plants. Peas are perfect for the early season garden and prefer to be planted immediately after the last chance of frost as they prefer cool days and nights. Give them a trellis to climb and you can have a lovely vertical edible garden.

Radishes
Now this one you’ll just need to try from seed. Radish seeds are very small, but they’re very easy to start. In the ground you need a very shallow trench, not more than half an inch, and plant them in rows. When the plants just begin to grow, you can thin them to about 1 in. apart, or leave them to start forming radishes and harvest some small ones early to thin the rows.

Lettuce/Spinach
This one is really two, but they’re so similar to grow I’ll put them together. Lettuce and spinach are easy from seed and often you’ll find lettuce from plants, too. These two are perfect for your cool-season garden (when you just can't wait to plant outside!). Most leaf lettuces can be harvested more than once as the plants will re-grow from where you cut.

Cucumbers
Cucumbers are perfect for beginners and there are many new varieties with big yields and disease resistance. Direct sow the seeds in groups of 4-6 seeds or transplant the plants 2-3 feet apart. With little fertilizer and regular water, you’ll be harvesting cucumbers in just a few weeks.

Zucchini
Such a versatile vegetable for home gardens and very easy to grow! You’ll plant three seeds in a group in the ground or in a large container and you’ll have all the zucchini you can eat. They’re great raw in salads, grilled, fried, baked in breads or even spiralized as a replacement for pasta!

Okra
OK, if you’ve never tried Okra, you should. Not only is it a tasty vegetable, but the plants are very tropical and attractive! Newer varieties like Burpee’s Baby Bubba are bred to be smaller but still have plenty of pods to harvest. Plant the seeds or plants in a bright sunny location well after the danger of frost. Okra love it hot and can handle drought well. Pick the pods when they’re 3-4 in. long for the best flavor.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are the No. 1 grown garden vegetable and it’s easy to see why. They come in all sizes, shapes and flavors, and they’re actually very easy to grow. If your garden is small or you grow in containers, look for dwarf, bush or determinate varieties. If you have a lot of room, indeterminate varieties are for you. They take more room, but will bear fruit much longer in the season. We can help you Choose The Right Tomato here.

Peppers
Similar to okra, peppers love hot weather so don’t rush to put these plants out. Wait until the night temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F so you don’t risk stunting the plants. After that, with minimal fertilizer in good soil and regular watering, you’ll be enjoying fresh peppers in no time.

Basil
Ok, we call basil an herb and not a vegetable, but it’s so easy and so delicious, I think you should try this one, too. It’s easy to find basil plants in the spring already started so transplant those into the ground or in bigger pots after the danger of frost has passed. Regular fertilizing and watering will encourage quick growth. Be sure to snip regularly to keep the plants producing leaves. And if you see flowers, remove them immediately. For an even easier basil experience, look for Burpee’s Pesto Party, which has more leaves, later flowering and very good disease resistance.

Reader Comments (4)
I'm trying to grow sweet peppers from seed. Is it best to dry the seeds out 1st when you remove from a pepper or can I put the seed right in the peat pod straight from the pepper it's being removed from?
Saturday, April 29, 2017 | Dovetail
Hi Dovetail ... Just to confirm your inquiry: Many grocery store sweet peppers are hybrids, and you wouldn't plant those seeds, as they will not produce the same fruit as their parent pepper. Also, grocery-harvested fruit wouldn't have mature seeds. However, if you're harvesting from your own plants (and they're not hybrids), leave the peppers on the plant until they start to wrinkle. Then lay them out on paper towels to dry for a few days. They should be dry and brittle, and not dent when you push on them. After that, they can be planted. Best of luck in your garden! ~Scott Mozingo, Burpee
Monday, May 1, 2017 | Scott Mozingo, Burpee
Radishes may be easy to get to come up, but in my containers they are only long, red stems with lots of green foliage above. what do I need to do to get them to produce the nice, crunchy red balls?
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | Ouida
Hi Quida,
Radishes in containers grow about the same as they do in the ground, though they may get hotter or drier quicker.

What city/state is your garden in? It is still kind of early in this season for it to be hot ... but it has probably been hot enough that you're seeing your radishes "bolting" from heat or stress. Can you send us a picture through our Contact Us page below?

Our mail-order Burpee website also has a helpful video here: https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/vegetables/radishes/growing-radishes/article10610.html
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | Burpee Team Member
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