Home Gardening 101: Easiest Backyard Vegetables
Ready to harvest your inner green thumb? We’ve picked the easiest vegetables for home gardening. With a bit of water, miracle-gro, and love, you’ll be dishing up backyard-to-table meals in no time. These tips for home plants are ideal for any level gardener:
Forget about buying salad from a bag, arugula fresh from your garden is supreme. Quickly jazz up any salad with these peppery leaves. Most importantly for home gardening, arugula grows fast and easily.
Tips for home: Plant in a sunny spot in early spring for a spring harvest or late summer for a fall harvest. Arugula prefers the cooler days of spring or fall.
Make room for at least one cucumber in your summer garden and you won’t regret it. Trust us. There are plenty of ways to use cucumber: in salads, on sandwiches, for pickling, or even replace toast rounds with a cucumber slice and top with a salmon salad for a refreshing party appetizer.
Tips for home: If you let them, cucumber plants will sprawl, so give your plants plenty space to stretch their roots and avoid planting cucumbers until all danger of frost has passed.
Nothing says summer more than a garden full of plump, juicy tomatoes. With a little water and a lot of sun, tomato plants will grow and fruit all summer long! Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants (not to mention the fact that you’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin D while home gardening), and nothing is better than a juicy bite of a homegrown tomato.
Tips for home: Purchase starter plants from your local nursery as a foolproof and time-saving way to start. Be sure to support the vines with a cage or stake and pinch back side shoots.
If you’ve dined at any hip restaurant recently, you know that kale is very “IN.” Why not grow what the best restaurants in town are serving? The variety Nero di Toscana is especially versatile and its bumpy leaves are extra hardy. Dress leaves with plenty of lemon, EVOO, garlic and Parmesan for a healthy Tuscan salad.
Tips for home: Kale is a cool-weather crop that craves some sun or light shade.
Radishes are ideal for beginner gardeners, easy to grow and full of flavor. This veggie is an absolute must for anyone wishing to grow fresh, organic salad crops. You will soon come to crave that peppery addition to your signature salad.
Tips for home: Plant seeds directly into the garden in early spring for a spring harvest or late summer for a fall harvest.
An essential for any Italian cooking, this aromatic herb can grow outdoors in pots, in ground or on a sunny windowsill indoors. When the leaves grow to an attractive size, just pluck them off for your pesto or pasta and wait as the plant continues to produce fragrant leaves. If you have an abundance, simply dry and use long after summer has passed.
Tips for home: If you grow basil in a container, use one with good drainage
Get adventurous! Peppers are available in a wide variety of flavor profiles, colors and sizes…why not experiment in the backyard? Sweet bell peppers, and many hot peppers, are native to Central and North America, while other hot pepper varieties are native to Asia. Beyond the traditional green variety your parents had to choose from, there is a spectrum of yellow, red, orange, and even purple shades. Use peppers in just about anything: salads, fajitas, kabobs or as an alternative to chips with a tasty dip.
Tips for home: Starter plants are also at most home gardening stores. Water well, and once the first set of flowers appear on your plants, gently pinch them off.