Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your garden, it’s important to choose plants that are easy to grow. The best beginner-friendly vegetables are those that require a minimal amount of care and can tolerate mistakes that beginners make.
Those include the ZZ Plant, which tolerates low light conditions. Water it infrequently and only when the soil is dry.
Marigolds are an easy annual that can tolerate a variety of conditions. Choose a hardy, double-flowering hybrid like ‘Durango’ with flowers to 5cm across and short plants to 30cm tall.
Plant them in full sun and rich, well-draining soil. A light application of a balanced organic fertilizer helps the blooms grow strong and healthy.
Swiss chard is another of the easiest vegetables for beginners to grow. Sow seeds indoors in seed trays or small pots, then transplant to the garden once they’re two inches tall.
Zucchini (or courgettes) are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and they can produce abundantly when planted in full sun. Sow the seeds 1 inch deep directly into garden soil, spacing rows 3 feet apart. If you prefer, sow the seeds in low mounds or hills of soil with 3 to 4 zucchini seeds in each.
To help zucchini plants produce more, stake them and tie the stem loosely to the stake. This forces the plant to put out more fruit and it helps prevent the lower leaves from becoming prone to powdery mildew.
Tomatoes are a warm-weather crop that thrive in sun. Plant them in the ground or in pots, and you’ll have a garden-fresh harvest all summer long.
Look for varieties that are good for your climate (like ‘Early Girl’, which matures in 50 days) or are resistant to common tomato diseases.
The peace lily, known as Devil’s Ivy, is another easy-care plant for beginners. It can tolerate a lot of bright indirect sunlight and is forgiving to infrequent watering, says Pangborn.
Sunflowers brighten the garden and attract birds and other wildlife. The tall, cheerful blooms also make a striking cut flower.
Sunflower plants love full sunlight and long, warm summers for best performance. Choose a planting spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct light each day.
Sow seeds directly in the garden in late spring after all risk of overnight frost has passed. Space regular-sized varieties 8 to 12 inches apart; jumbos need about 16 to 20 inches of space.
Basil is a relatively low maintenance herb that can handle pests like Japanese beetles and grasshoppers. Regular pruning and picking encourages growth, and a layer of mulch helps keep soil moist longer (especially as temperatures rise).
Basil plants thrive in nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. Water them thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil is dry. If they start to slow down, try adding a little balanced or slightly high-nitrogen organic liquid fertilizer to see if they perk up.
Nothing says spring like daffodils, which (like other narcissus) are among the easiest flowers to grow. They’re a natural for planting under deciduous trees, and they also thrive in perennial beds or with groundcovers.
Daffodils love full sun and well-draining soil. Plant them with the tops, or points, at least two times as deep as they’re tall (the top of a 2″ bulb is planted 4 inches in the ground). For containers, make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes.
Pansies are a cool-weather flower that can add a pop of color to the garden in early spring or fall. Treat them as annuals or short-lived perennials depending on your climate.
Start them from seed in late winter or autumn to get a bigger crop, and protect them from winter frost by covering the soil with bottomless milk jugs or straw mulch. These flowers thrive in well-drained, fertile soil.
Cucumbers are another warmth-loving vegetable that’s easy for beginners to grow. They like bright sunshine, but also need plenty of water and regular feeding with a balanced fertiliser to thrive.
If you prefer not to be tied down by trellis or tomato cages, look for bush-type varieties such as Regal cucumbers. Alternatively, choose all-female plants to avoid the need for pinching out male flowers, which can pollinate and produce bitter fruits.
Radishes grow quickly and are a good choice for beginners. They are easy to plant and tolerant of frost.
They like plenty of light and consistent, even soil moisture. They don’t want mud, though, so avoid overwatering.
Loose, well-draining soil is important for radishes and they thrive in sandy or loamy types of soil. For best results, amend the soil with organic matter before planting. Also, make sure the site is free of clumps or rocks.
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