Have you ever dreamed of growing your own food but the thought scares you to death? You are not alone. One of my readers recently asked me if I could suggest the three easiest vegetables to grow. Only three? Oh boy. That’s a tall order.
If I were to narrow down that answer to the three easiest vegetables to grow, you wouldn’t have much variety. (That would be Swiss Chard, lettuce, and maybe spinach.)
Instead I would like to narrow it down to the three easiest and enjoyable to eat.
Grow What You Love
When I was young, I wanted to learn how to twirl the baton. I love watching the majorettes at the football games. (Yes, there were majorettes back when I grew up. I hope I am not dating myself.)
Plus, I wanted to wear the shiny outfits and boots. Who wouldn’t.
At first, I had one on one instruction. The goal was for me to compete at the fairs. (Who was I kidding?) Half the time I didn’t pay attention and I couldn’t do all the fancy moves that I was being taught.
Then I went to a class structure with a couple of other girls. It was the same thing. The goal was to compete. Hello. I just wanted to be a majorette. Shiny costume? Boots?
Finally my freshman year I trained with the head majorette to try out for the team. For a whole year, I learned the routines and really loved twirling.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make the team because I was so nervous I couldn’t remember the routines. I only did well on my own freestyle routine. But, at least for that one year, I had a lot of fun.
The moral of the story is do what you love (or in this case, eat) and it won’t be as much of a struggle or a chore.
Top Three Easiest Vegetables to Grow.
Back to the top 3…
In the past, I listed my six favorite easy to grow vegetables. I still stand by my choices.
So if I have to narrow it down to three, here goes. (Don’t scream at me.)
Lettuce is so easy to grow and there are so many cool varieties to choose from. I like red leaf and bib lettuce but I am not that adventuresome. There are so many different varieties of lettuce out there. Just open up your mind to different ones. (I should take my own advice.)
Be sure to check out my favorite heirloom seed companies to look for different varieties.
As wonderful as lettuce is, it has a dark side. It bolts when it gets hot. (Bolting means it starts to flower and then seed.) When a plant bolts, it tastes bitter. You can throw your bolted lettuce in your smoothie, but that plant is over.
I have left the bolted lettuce in the bed to go to seed in hopes of getting baby lettuce plants in the fall. Unfortunately, I rarely get baby lettuce seedlings.
Before you throw up your hands and say, “Anna, come on.” Tomatoes get early blight, late blight, and other diseases.
I get it. Tomatoes are not a walk-away-and-turn your back type of easy plant.
Remember my twirling story? (Oh yeah the twirling story.)
I know you are going to love growing your own tomatoes. Although I am an heirloom tomato lover. there are hybrid seeds, which are more disease resistant than others. (And no, these are not GMO seeds. Just look for organic hybrid seeds.)
In 2016, Mother Earth News provided a list of favorite hybrid tomatoes, which are resistant to those lovely diseases. (They also included their favorite heirloom seeds as well.)
Another word of advice. Only grow one or two tomato types to increase your gardening confidence. And don’t forget to support them with a cage and give them room to grow. (I give mine 2 to 3 feet of room to grow since I don’t prune them.)
#3 Green Beans
I love growing green beans since they grow the whole summer and into the fall. Their production slows when it gets hot but picks back up when it gets cooler.
Plus, they are relatively easy and oh so delicious. You haven’t lived until you have eaten a raw green bean off the vine.
There are three varieties of green beans: pole (grown up a trellis,) bush (short plants,) and half runners (they don’t grow as long as pole beans but still need a trellis.)
I grown both bush and pole beans. I happen to like bush beans and grow a purple variety. Unfortunately, once you cook purple green beans, they turn green. This is a minor problem.
In years past, Mexican Bean Beetle has been a frequent visitor to the garden. Just to give you some background, I use to grow about 6 different varieties of bush beans (black beans, white beans, green beans, etc.) My problems may have started with the amount of beans I was growing. Who knows.
Or one Mexican bean beetle told a friend who told a friend and so on and so on.
Last year, I said enough of this beetle and only grew black beans under a netted cage and pole beans (scarlet runners.) Pole beans take up so much less space in the garden. ( You know that vertical gardening is my thing.)
And guess what? My bean pest problems went away even though pests like pole beans more than bush.
Just an FYI, last year my pole beans grew up my 8 foot trellis and down the other side. Give a bean a trellis and it will grow everywhere.
In Mother Earth News, Barbara Pleasant (my gardening guru) mentions which bean varieties she likes HERE.
So these are my top three picks. So whatever you choose, twirl on and just enjoy.
Join the Conversation:
Which are your easiest vegetables to grow?
I like your choices of 3 vegetables. Tomatoes are easy to grow in pots on balconies. or small places, lettuce is one my favorite because I love it and it usually will last for quite a while and then come back in the fall. Green beans are also on the easy to grow list. I like zucchini a lot and peas especially the Sweet Spring peas. Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts Sharing on twitter & pinning.
It is always nice to see you! I like growing zucchini too but struggle with squash borers. Peas are great too. I wish my season was long enough for peas! Anna
The Food Hunter says
We grow all three and lots of others
Raia Todd says
I’ve tried tomatoes and beans (allergic to lettuce), and I really struggle with the tomatoes. They sprout well, but never get their second set of leaves and end up withering. 🙁 But I can do the beans and kale pretty well. 😉
Sounds like damping off. Are you growing them inside? And are you using a soil-less mix like peat pods? Anna
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
I would love to grow lettuce and green beans. I need to figure out how to make this work in our space (we rent, so I’m limited in space and what we can do). I am going to do tomatoes for sure for my kiddos this year.
You can use grow bags. Take a look at them here.
linda spiker says
Maybe I will try these. I have had no luck in the past. Maybe this is my year!
Yep, Linda! Anna
YES! Lettuces pretty much grown like weed. So easy and can definitely be grown in pots too for those who are in temporary places.
Love growing lettuce, Anya. Anna
Any advice for growing these with limited space? I’d love to try growing lettuce and green beans, would they grow in pots?
Sylvie, you could absolutely grow lettuce in a pot. If you want to grow green beans, I would only grow half runners and make a 3 to 6 foot trellis to stick in the pot. Use a nice size pot and only grow one plant. You can do a couple bush green beans but you won’t get a ton of beans. Anna
Condo Blues says
Hi Anna! I featured your post on my blog today. Happy gardening!
Eva Bradshow says
Tomatoes… I can eat all summer just tomatoes and cheese 🙂
Eva, me too. Anna
Curry leaves, tomatoes and chillies are my favourite.
Greenhandle, I never grew curry. What is it like to grow? Anna