Most garden vegetables are easy to grow, though some certainly come with In addition, growing from seed is less expensive, offers more variety, and has a higher success rate. Here are some of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed.
Should I Grow Vegetables from Seed or Transplants?
There’s nothing wrong with starting your garden from small plants which you purchase (called “transplants”)—in fact, many people do. There are a handful of vegetables that can be challenging to grow from seed and are best purchased as young plants from a garden store/nursery (tomatoes, for example, can be finicky to start from seed). Transplants also allow you to get a head start on growing plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, which require a long, warm growing season.
That said—unless you have a short growing season—many vegetables are easy enough to grow from seed. Here are a handful of the benefits of starting from seeds:
- Seeds are much cheaper, especially in greater quantities. They often keep at least a couple years, and they can be shared with friends and neighbors, too.
- Seeds offer much more variety than the often limited choice of transplants in a nursery. Just take a look at these seed catalogs and let the dreams begin!
- Some vegetables do not survive being transplated from one place to another.
- Starting from seed means that you can sow seeds directly in the garden, which opens the door to growing crops such as corn, melons, squash, beans, and peas, which simply do not grow as well when transplanted from one place to another.
- Starting plants from seed means you can ensure they are healthy and strong right from the start.
10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow Yourself
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 at home.
1. Green Beans
Bean plants are fast growers and thrive in warm, moist soil. Green beans are generally divided into two categories: bush beans and pole beans. The main difference between them is their growing style:
- Bush beans tend to grow compactly, without support; they generally require less maintenance.
- Pole beans produce long vines that need to climb stakes or trellises; they typically yield more beans and are mostly disease resistant.
See our Growing Guide for Green Beans for more information on planting and growing beans!
By far, one of the most commonly grown vegetables (or rather, fruits) is the tomato, which is a staple of the home garden. The fact that they produce tons of fruit over a long period of time makes them an easy choice for beginners, too.
The huge selection of tomato varieties out there today means that there’s a type of tomato for every garden and for every taste. For sandwiches or burgers, try a beefsteak tomato. Want to make your own homemade sauce? Go for a Roma. Just want to eat fresh tomatoes on the fly? Cherry tomatoes are perfect. No matter the need, there’s a tomato to match it!
The most difficult part of growing tomatoes tends to be keeping them watered enough. Read all about growing tomatoes here.
Carrots are a popular root vegetable for good reason! They’re super easy to grow as long as they’re planted in loose, sandy soil during the cooler periods of the growing season—spring and fall (carrots can tolerate frost). Not all carrots are orange; varieties range in color from purple to white, and some are resistant to diseases and pests.
Many beginners find their carrots are short and deformed. This is typically due to poor, rocky soil, so it’s important to provide soft, loose soil that drains well. Mix in some sand and really loosen it up. Also, it is essential to THIN carrot seedlings to the proper spacing so that 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.
Super-nutritious 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 southern United States. Another nice thing about kale is that it only gets sweeter after being hit by a couple frosts.
Lettuce is one of the few “vegetables” that does fine in some shade and, in extremely hot weather, actually prefers a shady respite. Lettuce growth slows in shade; it is also slower to go to seed, or “bolt,” which means that it can be harvested for longer.
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.
8. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard—or simply “chard”—is a member of the beet family. It does well in both cool and warm weather. It is a nutritional superfood, high in vitamins A, C, and K as well as minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber—plus, its rainbow of colors are beautiful!
See our Growing Guide for Swiss Chard.
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. The quick-to-sprout radishes (some mature in as little as a month) 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.
10. Summer Squash (Zucchini)
Summer squash and zucchini like well-composted soil and need plenty of space (plant them 3 to 6 feet apart in warm soil and lots of sun.) Soon enough, you’ll have so many zucchinis, you’ll be leaving them on neighbors’ doorsteps! Always water at the soil level—not the leaves—to avoid powdery mildew.
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 complete library of 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!