If you are planning to start a garden for the first time it can be hard to know where to begin. Seed catalogs are full of pictures of perfect vegetables and it is all too easy to get carried away and order far too many packets. In fact probably the biggest mistake a beginner can make is to try too many things at once. So this article by Rebecca Cuttler which I found on the Houzz website should help to solve this problem by concentrating on just eight easy-to-grow plants.
For gardeners, poring over the pages of a seed catalog can be a feast for the eyes. Whether it?s heirloom crookneck squash or ?Green Zebra? tomatoes, the seed varieties available to home gardeners rival any farmers market. Similarly, going to a nursery and seeing row upon row of baby tomato, lettuce and kale plants can make it hard to decide where to start. What?s a backyard food grower to do?
By growing a small selection of carefully chosen crops, you will give yourself the best opportunity for success. If you?re new to gardening, it?s better to grow just five types of vegetables rather than 15. Over time, you?ll learn which crops and varieties work best for your microclimate, taste and lifestyle.
Here are some of the best vegetables and herbs for urban gardeners of all types, including beginners. In addition to being easy to grow and productive, many of these crops are well-suited to growing in small spaces.Start with favorite vegetables that you regularly buy from the grocery store. If you?re a big fan of kale salads, be sure to plant kale. Radishes are very easy to grow and look gorgeous, but if you?re not a fan of eating them, don?t grow them.
Sweet potatoes and peanuts are popular crops in the American South, but they rarely succeed in northern climates. However, tender greens like spinach thrive in cool environments. To find vegetables that suit your growing region, look for local seed companies, check out what?s being grown in farmers markets and ask neighbors what they?re growing. Find out your area?s average first and last frost dates; these will provide an essential guideline for when to plant seeds.
Your garden space will also inform what you can grow. If your space is small, choose plants with a small footprint. Zucchini can grow in a large container, but their huge, sprawling leaves may take up the better part of a balcony garden.1. Snap peas. Few things in life rival the flavor of a fresh snap pea right off the vine. Because the sugars in this crop degrade quickly, snap peas truly taste better when grown at home. With their vertical growth, peas don?t take up much room ? just be sure to set up a trellis and train them rigorously, as the vines can get unruly. Peas are a cool-season crop and are planted directly into the soil as seeds in late winter or early spring in most areas.
Tip: Use a pea inoculant (a powder that acts like a probiotic for peas and beans) at the time of planting to ensure success. Look for varieties that are resistant to pea enation mosaic virus and powdery mildew.
When to plant: Sow seeds about four to six weeks before the average last frost date in spring. In mild-winter climates, peas can also be planted in the fall; sow seeds two to three months before the first expected frost date.
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade; provide afternoon shade in hot climates.
See how to grow snap peas and other peas2. Radishes. Cheery, colorful radishes are some of the first vegetables gardeners can harvest in the spring. This attractive cool-season plant grows quickly and takes up little room, making it an ideal choice for small-space gardeners. Don?t know what to do with radishes? For a classic French dish, slice them raw (wash and scrub well to remove soil) and serve with salt and butter. The leaves are also edible and can make a good substitute for cooked spinach.
When to plant: Sow seeds two to three weeks before the average last frost date in spring, and in late summer four to six weeks before the average first fall frost. Continue sowing seeds every two weeks in both spring and fall.
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
See how to grow radishes