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Discover the pleasures of gardening by taking on crops that can grow easily in your first garden.
Photo by Adobe Stock/goodmoments
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Radishes are ready to harvest in only a few weeks.
Photo by Getty Images/emapoket
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Plant salad greens in the spring and fall for year-round harvests.
Photo by Getty Images/nikamata
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Green beans are easy to grow and can be preserved and enjoyed long after their season is over.
Photo by Getty Images/brytta
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Even if your onion plants don't thrive, you can still eat the greens.
Photo by Getty Images/rootstocks
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Plant strawberries in a sunny spot.
Photo by Adobe Stock/MaZiKab
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Let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a variety of colors and flavors.
Photo by Adobe Stock/sleto
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Zucchini plants yield a prolific harvest.
Photo by Adobe Stock/vvmich
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There's no substitute for a homegrown tomato.
Photo by Adobe Stock/posinote
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Basil grows well from seeds or transplants.
Photo by Adobe Stock/nextrecord
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When kept cool, potatoes will store well for months.
Photo by Adobe Stock/shanty
If you want to grow a garden next spring, it’s never too early to start planning. One of the best ways to “learn as you go” is to read the seed catalogs that many companies will send for free. One of our favorites, with lots of gardening advice and great color photos, is Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 crops discussed below. All are easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seeds.
1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not-so-great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks. Plant the seeds in spring and fall.
2. Salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix — many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year-round.
3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they’re also delicious when pickled as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.
4. Onions.Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.
5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare-root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well weeded.
6. Peppers.Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.
7. Bush zucchini. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bumper crop.
8. Tomatoes. There’s just no substitute for a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing.
9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.
10. Potatoes.An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low-maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. ‘Seeds’ are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring.
• Pickled Radishes Recipe
• Creamed Lettuce Soup Recipe
• Herby Pickled Beans Recipe
• Bakes Stuffed Onions with Apples Recipe
• Preserve Strawberries: Easy Recipes to Stretch Strawberry season
• ‘Fish’ Pepper White Sauce Recipe
• Stuffed Zucchini Cups Recipe
• Tomato Juice Cocktail Recipe
• Basil-Infused Olive Oil Recipe
• Warm Potato Salad with Lemon and Mint Recipe
Discover more great gardening resources:
• The Vegetable Garden Planner
• What to Plant Now
• In-Depth Companion Planting Guide
Published on Dec 29, 2006
The Organic Growers School of Asheville and national media brand MOTHER EARTH NEWS announce a collaborative effort for the regional Organic Growers School Spring Conference held at Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, NC, March 18-20, 2022.
One of the best parts of photography, especially wildlife photography, is the magic moments. You know what I mean: Everything just falls in place in the most unexpected and beautiful way that you know, you just know, you just got something special. The setting, the lighting, and the subject come together to create something you […]
Side View Of Red Ford Mach E Electric. Photo by Seth Leitman Let’s hear it for Ford Motor Company expanding the Mustang family into the electric age with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E. It’s an all-new, all-electric SUV born of the same all-American ideals that inspired the best-selling sports coupe in the world. Developed in a […]
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