16 easiest vegetables to grow for even first time beginner gardeners! Fast growing from seeds, in pots & gardens for all year round harvest!
We love gardening and growing our own food! After years of successes and failures with so many vegetable varieties, we are going to share with you today 16 easiest to grow vegetables that are also very productive and fast growing.
If you are a first time beginner gardener, or have a small space garden, these vegetables are great choices. Many of them are easy to grow from seeds, and produce well in pots and containers.
Before we explore all the vegetables to grow, make sure to get your garden ready! Here’s a detailed guide on 8 simple steps to start your best vegetable garden, with lots of great tips on planning, starting seeds, choosing soil and fertilizers, pest control, and more!
* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .
1. Arugula: easiest vegetables to grow for first time beginner gardeners
Because Arugula is such a fast growing cool season vegetable, we always seed them in small patches in our garden every month from September through May. In cold winter climates, you can grow Arugula in winter in a greenhouse or cold frame.
2. Lettuce: easiest vegetables to grow in pots
Even on a small patio or balcony, you can grow lettuce easily in pots. Like Arugula, lettuce is also a fast growing cool-season vegetable . We love to grow mixed heirloom varieties with different colors and textures!
3. Kale: cut and come again
Kale is super nutritious and grows easily in containers and in garden beds, photo above by Nicole. In mild winter climates they can grow year round. They are also very cold hardy, and the leaves turn sweeter when temperatures get colder.
The 3 popular varieties are Lacinato kale (our favorite, also called Tuscan kale or Dinosaur kale), Curly kale, and Red Russian kale. Photo by A little seedy.
4. Bok Choy and other tender Leafy greens
These tender leafy greens popular in Asian cooking are all in the cabbage family. They are fast growing, easy to grow from seeds, and great for pots and containers. Photo by Miranda.
They come in many leaf shapes and colors. Here’s a Red Giant Mustard variety in Sandra’s urban garden, which has slightly more peppery taste.
5. Cabbage: great for small gardens
Cabbages form tight heads which makes them great for small space gardening.
There are lots of varieties of cabbages with different shapes, sizes and flavors. Early varieties can be ready for harvest in less than 2 months.
You can direct seed cabbages, but we prefer to plant the seeds in pots first, and then transplant the seedlings with the right spacing in the garden.
6. Radish: easiest vegetables to grow for a winter harvest
Radishes are great cool weather crops for spring and fall planting. Radishes do not like to be transplanted. Plant seeds directly in the garden.
Smaller radish varieties such as French Breakfast or Easter Eggs ( photo above by Petra )are fast growing and ready to harvest in 4 to 6 weeks. The bigger Asian radishes such as Daikon are great for fall planting and winter harvest.
7. Beets: easiest root vegetables to grow
Like radishes, beets are some of the easiest root vegetables to grow. They are easier than carrots, and very productive. Both the leaves and roots are delicious in salads and stews.
Direct seed beets in spring and fall for many months of harvest.
8. Swiss Chard: easiest vegetables to grow all year round
If you love spinach, try the much easier to grow cousin: Swiss chard! They are in the same family, but Swiss Chard can take more heat and cold, is much more productive and equally delicious.
There are times due to poor planning, when we don’t have vegetables to harvest in the garden, but our Swiss chard always comes to the rescue!
9. Broccoli: much easier to grow than cauliflower
Broccoli is one of our favorite vegetables to eat and to grow. They are a lot easier than Cauliflowers. As long as you give them plenty of room and good rowing conditions, you will have a great harvest.
We like to grow broccoli varieties such as Calabrese, that give out lots of side sprouts after the main crown is harvested.
10. Potatoes: easy to grow in containers
Once you learn a few important basics about growing potatoes in pots or in garden soil, you can easily grow 10 or more potatoes from 1 seed potato!
Here are 3 great tutorials on potato growing:
- 5 easy steps to grow potatoes for a big harvest.
- How to grow potatoes in containers and which containers are the best.
- Why potato towers do NOT work: read before you try it!
11. Cucumbers: fast growing and productive
Cucumber are so easy to grow, but we do have two tips here!
First, choose better tasting varieties! Once you tasted how crunchy and flavorful some varieties like Suyo Long or China Jade cucumbers are, you may never want those generic thick skin cucumbers again!
Second tip: grow your cucumbers on trellis to keep the fruits off the soil. Here are 15 best easy cucumber trellis ideas for you!
12. Beans: easy to grow from seeds
Bush beans and pole beans are among our must-have warm season crops.
Bush beans are fast growing and pole beans are more productive but need good vertical support.
A bean tee-pee is easy and fun to build. Here are 24 magical DIY garden trellis ideas!
13. Tomatoes: so many amazing varieties
We always grow a mix of cherry tomatoes and larger tomatoes in our garden each year. Choose varieties that are suitable for your climate and grow space.
Here’s our secrets on how to grow 100 lbs of tomatoes in just 20 square feet!
14. Zucchini: huge harvest for beginners
Even if you are a first time gardener, you will likely be bombarded by a big zucchini harvest!
Keep your zucchini plants well watered and give them plenty of room to grow. You only need a few plants, because they are some of the most productive vegetables in the summer garden.
15. Winter squash: colorful and productive
In addition to the popular butternut and spaghetti squash, we also like to grow other sweet and delicious winter squash varieties such as buttercup, Sweetmeat, Blue Hubbard, galeux d’eysines, etc.
You can grow smaller varieties like Butternut squash in pots, but most Winter squash varieties need lots of room to grow. They are very easy, and great for long winter storage. Photo by Press Democrat.
16. Most peppers: except for bell peppers
Bell peppers tend to require more care and are less productive. But most other pepper varieties are very productive and easy to grow.
There are countless varieties of peppers and every passionate gardener will likely have a favorite that we haven’t tried. So always ask, and be adventurous!
Happy growing! Come say hello and share your garden photos or questions with us on Instagram @apieceofrainbow!