11 Easy Plants to Grow for First-Time Gardeners

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These 11 Easy-to-Grow Plants Are Perfect for First-Time Gardeners

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Few moments are as satisfying as the first bite of a garden-grown tomato or making a batch of basil pesto of your own choosing.

Whether you're digging a backyard or planning to plant containers for your patio, deck, or fire escape, you can grow your own veggies, flowers, and herbs this season, and these plants will help even beginners and black thumbs pull it off.

Here are 11 of our favorite plants that are easy to grow in your garden.

Lettuce

  • Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–6.5

Tender greens like lettuce are some of the quickest, earliest, and easiest vegetables you can grow in the spring. Plant the seeds as soon as you can work the soil and you'll be making a salad with your own veggies in just 4 weeks.

Look for cut and repeat varieties that grow back after harvest, or plant new successions every 2 weeks for a continuous supply until spring. Other varieties, usually lettuce, like Summer Crisp, can be grown in warm summer climates.

Radishes

  • Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.0

Radishes are another easy garden crop to grow - plant them in late winter or early spring to harvest just three weeks later. There are tons of colorful varieties in addition to the basic reds - a light French breakfast, a little Cherry Belle, and a multi-colored Easter egg are some of our favorites.

Quick Tip
Some popular varieties, like the Nero Tondo hot black radishes and the modern pink and green watermelon radishes, take longer to grow but provide nice color and plenty of flavors.

Kale

  • Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. acephala
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5–6.8

You can never eat too much kale for smoothies, salads, stir-fries, and tons of other recipes. Different varieties of kale, like curly, lacinato, Red Russian, and Winterbor, are all easy to grow from seed in early spring.

Watch out for pesky orange and black harlequin beetles that poke holes in brassica leaves, such as kale, cabbage, mustard, and arugula. Pick them up and toss them into a bucket of soapy water or cover the cabbage in a floating frosting to protect it after planting.

Peas

  • Botanical Name: Pisum sativum
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.5

Peas are one of our favorite early summer crops, especially sweet and succulent varieties like peas and peas, in which you can eat the whole pod.

Plant as soon as the soil can be worked while the weather is still cool, from February to April, depending on your growing area. Your harvest will be perfect for salads, stir-fries, and stir-fries.

Quick tip
The peas are ready to harvest when they are plump and juicy, but don't leave them on the plant too long or they will get tough and lose their sweetness.

Sunflowers

  • Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Loose, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.5

You probably planted sunflower seeds in a paper cup when you were a kid; These large, beautiful flowers are easy to grow. There are plenty of varieties available, from low-growing types that are ideal for cut flowers to giant cultivars that reach 3.6 meters tall at maturity.

Plant them in a place where you don't mind having sunflowers year after year, as the plants can sow aggressively.

Cherry Tomatoes

  • Botanical Name: Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.2–6.5

If you're new to gardening, it's tempting to try growing your favorite greens, but some of these tomatoes can be tricky. Cherry tomatoes, however, are easy to grow, with a bountiful harvest that you can eat while you're harvesting. They are also great for containers on your patio, porch, or fire escape.

Be sure to keep buds away, buds that grow where the branches and main stem meet, to help focus growth on flowers and fruit. Use a tomato cage or stakes and ropes to support your plant, as cherry tomatoes can become large and dense in the height of summer.

Marigold

  • Botanical Name: Tagetes
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.5

Some plants are only good for each other. That's the idea behind supplemental planting, where different plants combine to help one (or both) grow better.

Marigolds and tomatoes have been planted together for a long time, and now we know why: The flowers release a compound called limonene, which helps keep pests like whiteflies away from other crops like tomatoes. Also, the cheerful orange and yellow color of the marigolds creates a nice border around the tomatoes.

Basil

  • Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.0

Tomatoes and basil go together in so many delicious dishes, so it's only natural that they're best friends in the garden too. This aromatic herb is another excellent companion plant for growing tomatoes; Plus, it's great for pestos, pasta, and tons of other preparations in the kitchen.

Quick Tip
When your plants have about six leaves, pull on the top to encourage them to branch out into a bushy, bushy shape. Do the same when the flowers appear - you want the plant to focus on making more foliage, not flowers.

Nasturtium

  • Botanical Name:  Tropaeolum majus
  • Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5–7.5

This attractive flowering herb does double duty - its bright red, orange, and yellow blooms beautify your garden, while the flowers and leaves can be picked to add a pungent and tangy flavor to salads, pestos, and more.

Soak the seeds in water the night before planting to help germinate and then direct the seeds to the ground as nasturtiums are not well transplanted. The spillable varieties are great additions to planters and containers, while the vine varieties are better trellises to give them some support.

Potatoes

  • Botanical Name: Solanum tuberosum
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Rich, loose, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 4.8–5.5

Yes, you can grow your own potatoes, and freshly harvested potatoes are so delicious, you won't want to go back to the ones you buy.

Buy seed potatoes in the spring or store organic potatoes from the farmer's market and keep them on the counter until your eyes start to sprout. Slice the potatoes so each piece has a few eyes, then let them rest for three to five days to allow the cuts to form calluses.

Quick Tip
Plant the pieces in early spring with the eyes pointing upward in beds or large containers. When the vines begin to die in early summer, they are ready for harvest.

Garlic

  • Botanical Name: Allium sativum
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–7.0

Garlic is the best "make it and forget it" crop. Plant garlic seeds in late fall, placing each garlic clove in the ground pointy side up. Mulching with a few inches of hay, straw, or chopped leaves will insulate the garlic during the winter and help the soil retain moisture and keep weeds out in the summer.

In late winter, the plants will sprout. Remove weeds as needed and only water in prolonged hot, dry weather.

For stiff-necked varieties, you'll want to harvest the flower stalks or stems, in early summer to focus growth on the bulbs. Cook with them or turn them into pesto.

When about a third of the foliage begins to die, usually in late June to July, take the plants out and set them outside or hang them to dry in a cool, dry, shady place for a few weeks.

Once dry, cut the stems, leaves, and roots and remove the outer layer of skin. Store garlic in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place and use it in all of your favorite recipes.

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Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Planting Vegetables

Source: Self Sufficient Me

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