Tired of growing the same varieties of veggies year after year? To diversify (and hone your skills as a gardener), try growing your garden from seed this year! Here are some of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed rather than from transplants.
Why start plants from seeds versus buy young plants from stores? Here are three obvious reasons:
- Seeds are much cheaper, especially in greater quantities.
- Seeds offer more variety than the often limited choice of transplants in a plant store.
- Starting plants from seed means you can ensure they are healthy and strong right from the start.
10 Easy Vegetables to Grow From Seed
This is not a complete list, by any means, but these are considered some of the easiest and most common vegetables that can be grown from seeds.
Bean plants thrive in warm, moist soil. Bush beans need no support, but pole beans do need to climb something, such as poles, strings, trellises, or tepees. See our Growing Guide for Beans.
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Beet roots will develop quickly and uniformly in loose soil, so before planting, work the soil to remove clumps and stones. If you prefer to harvest small beets, double the number of seeds per row; crowding results in small roots. A mix of seeds from red, yellow, and white beets will yield a variety of flavors and colors. Buy packets of mixed seeds or blend your own. See our Growing Guide for Beets.
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Many beginners find their carrots are short and deformed. It’s important to provide well-drained, soft soil. Mix in some sand and really loosen it up. Also, it is essential to THIN carrot seedlings to the proper spacing so they’re not overcrowded. Be bold! Thin those seedlings if you want carrots to form properly. See our Growing Guide for Carrots.
Prepare in advance for cucumbers; amend the soil with a fertilizer high in nitrogen and potassium to support the plant’s large yields. If possible, plant cucumbers in the sun next to a fence. The fence will serve as support for climbing and act as a shelter. Or plant them near corn. The corn will trap the heat that cucumbers crave and also serve as a windbreak. See our Growing Guide for Cucumbers.
Supernutrious kale is an easy member of the cabbage family to grow. You can set out plants any time from early spring to early summer and kale will grow until it gets too hot. Plant again the fall, especially if you live in the south. Kale only gets sweeter in cold weather. Try kale baked, stir-friend, or steamed. Enjoy in salads, smoothies, omelettes, casseroles, or wherever you’d use spinach. See our Growing Guide for Kale.
Lettuce is one of the few vegetables that does fine in some shade and, in extremely hot weather, prefers a shady respite. Lettuce growth slows in shade; it is also slower to go to seed, or “bolt.” If you want full heads of romaine and head lettuce to develop, thin them. Allow for 8 to 10 inches between plants. As you thin young plants, save the delicate small leaves for salads. See our Growing Guide for Lettuce.
Plant peas as soon as the soil can be worked—2 weeks before the average last spring frost for your region, if possible. To harvest a continuous supply of peas during the summer, simultaneously sow varieties with different maturity dates. Then sow more seeds about 2 weeks later. Continue this pattern, sowing no later than mid-June. See our Growing Guide for Peas.
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Growing a pumpkin is easy and fun. Just give them need warm soil that’s rich in compost because they’re greedy eaters. Water often as they drink a lot, too. Plant seeds on a mound and give them plenty of room (3-foot diameter) for their vines to sprawl. See our Growing Guide for Pumpkins.
Radish seeds are natural companions to carrots. Mix radish seeds with carrot seeds before you sow, especially if your soil tends to develop a tough crust. Radish sprouts will push up through the soil, breaking it up for the later-sprouting carrots. As you harvest the radishes, the carrots will fill in the row. See our Growing Guide for Radishes.
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10. Squash (summer and winter)
Like pumpkins, squash and zucchini also like well-composted soil and need plenty of space (3 to 6 feet apart, warm soil, and lots of sun.) Always water at the soil level—not the leaves—to avoid powdery mildew. Soon enough, you’ll have so many zucchinis, you’ll be leaving them on neighbors’ doorsteps! See our Growing Guide for Squash and Zucchini.
The above are some of the easiest vegetables you can grow, but there are many, many more veggies for you to try! Check out our Growing Guides for advice on planting all the popular vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers.
And now that you know which seeds are easiest to grow, see our Tips to Starting Seeds Indoors!