One of my best friends asked me to teach her 5 kids how to grow a garden. My first question to this sweet family was, “Have you tasted a ripe tomato from a garden?” And to my surprise, they all shook their heads no. They had never had a fresh tomato from a backyard garden before.
I then had them go to a farmers’ market to experience the tastes of foods fresh from the garden so that they would see why a veggie garden can make a huge difference in taste and give them motivation to grow a garden.
That first taste of a fresh tomato from a garden can feel magical. You just can’t buy that kind of goodness in a store vs. eating homegrown tomatoes in the grocery store, tomatoes are picked green and ripened for months before ever hitting the grocery store shelves. The sweet taste lost in the waiting.
With just a small garden, you can grow a few things that will add nutrient and taste with little work.
Growing a veggie garden doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, with the right knowledge of what to plant and when, you can grow a veggie garden of summer freshness with ease.
Here is a blog post about the 10 easiest vegetables to grow and eat from your summer garden.
How to Create an Easy Summer Garden
Creating a garden for summer doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Having a plan or direction to grow the easiest vegetables can make it doable. With a few simple steps and the right materials, you can easily create a beautiful and bountiful garden this season.
Here are some tips for creating an easy summer garden:
Choose a sunny spot for your garden. You need at least 6 hours of direct sun.
Make sure you choose crops that will do well in your climate. Choose warm and hot weather crops as suggested below.
Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris, then adding organic compost and fertilizer as needed.
Plant your chosen crops and water them deeply each day during hot weather.
To ensure healthy growth, use mulch or organic compost around crops to reduce evaporation and keep weeds under control.
Monitor levels of moisture, sunlight and nutrients regularly to ensure conditions are ideal for plant growth over summer months.
Why a Summer Garden is Worth Having
What is your why for wanting a summer vegetable garden? That why is important to remember when it’s hot outside and all you want to do is stay inside instead of watering.
A summer garden can be a great asset for any home bringing beauty and color, outdoor enjoyment of nature, creative expression, fresh produce and even stress relief. Find your why and stick to it!
List of Easiest Vegetable to Grow for Beginner Gardener
You don’t want to plant any of these crops in early spring. The easiest vegetables to grow for summer don’t like spring frost. Wait for the temperature to heat up and make sure that the spring frost is over with the last spring frost being 6-8 weeks done before planting summer crops out.
Here is a blog post on what to grow with kids in the garden.
Bush Beans or green beans are easy to grow because they have a short growing season, with mature beans usually ready to harvest within 45-60 days of planting. Green bean plants don’t require much space, don’t need support, and need minimal care. Bush beans are also tolerant of both hot and cool temperatures, making them ideal for summer gardens that can vary in temperature throughout the season.
Long beans are easy to grow in summer gardens because they have a long growing season, with mature beans usually ready to harvest within 90-120 days of planting.
They require minimal space and care, such as occasional weeding and regular watering, and are tolerant of both hot and cool temperatures.
Long beans can also be harvested multiple times throughout the season, making them an excellent choice for a summer garden.
Pole BeansPole beans or green beans thrive in warm temperatures. They require minimal care and maintenance, such as weeding and regular watering, and they have a long growing season, with mature beans usually ready to harvest within 90-120 days of planting.Pole beans also have the advantage of providing an abundant yield with little space, making them ideal for summer gardens with limited space.
Summer squash are easy to grow in summer gardens because they require minimal care and maintenance, such as weeding and regular watering.
They thrive in warm temperatures with plenty of sunshine, and mature fruits usually will be ready to harvest within 45-60 days of planting.
Winter squash needs more time than summer squash to ripen, usually taking 90-120 days from planting to harvest.
The soil should be well-drained, amended with compost and kept consistently moist throughout the growing season.
Planting winter squash in hills or mounds provides better drainage for the plants and helps to increase air circulation. Winter squash also benefits from support such as cages or trellises to keep the fruits off of the ground.
Cucumbers are an easy-to-grow vegetable that can be planted in either a garden or a container.
They thrive in sunny, warm weather and moist soil with good drainage. Planting cucumbers in a garden will allow them to be well-established and provide plenty of space for the fruits to spread out and grow without overcrowding.
Plant cucumbers with some kind of support, as they can become heavy when they begin producing fruit. Mulch will help to keep weeds away and conserve moisture levels.
Tomato PlantsThe best time to plant tomatoes as seen in this blog post, is when the soil has warmed up, usually around late spring or early summer after the last spring frost. This early summer crop likes well drained soil and ample sunlight. Growing tomatoes can be so rewarding. Watering your tomatoes deeply once or twice per week should be sufficient, but do not water too often as this may encourage disease. Providing support such as stakes or cages will help keep them upright while they are growing and will also prevent fruits from lying on the ground where they can become diseased. My favorite tomato to grow are cherry tomatoes because it continues to produce all summer and is easy to snack on right from the garden.If you want more support in growing your own tomatoes in a pot, check out this mini-course with video and ebook that will walk you through the process.
Smaller pepper varieties are ideal for summer gardens since they usually ripen faster than larger varieties, and they don’t require as much space.
They also tend to be more disease-resistant and easier to care for because they don’t need as much water or fertilizer as bigger peppers.
Smaller peppers can also be harvested earlier than larger ones, ensuring that you have a fresh crop of spicy goodies at all times.
Eggplants prefer warmer temperatures. Eggplants require very little water, so they can be watered deeply once per week during dry spells to keep their soil moist.
They don’t need much support either. Eggplants are an ideal crop for pest control because planting them near vegetables such as potatoes and peppers can help keep pests away due to their strong scent.
Okra is relatively easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance. It prefers warm weather, so summer is the perfect time to plant okra seeds in your garden.
Okra does not require a lot of water and is quite resilient when it comes to pests and diseases. The plants will thrive in consistently warm temperatures with rich soil. Okra can be harvested within two months, giving you plenty of delicious meals throughout the season.
What Makes a Low-Maintenance Vegetable Garden?
A low-maintenance vegetable garden means that it is filled with the easiest vegetables to grow. The first step to creating a space of the easiest vegetables to grow that are low-maintenance is choosing the right plants.
Choose vegetables that are easy to grow, such as squash, and cucumbers. Use the list above to know what veggies like warm soil and hot temperatures to grow.
Using raised beds or containers can make your summer garden easier to maintain with well drained soil. Also get into a regular watering schedule and make sure the soil does not dry out too much between waterings.
I use a timer with my drip irrigation watering system to keep the garden watered without having to stand in the heat or forget to water.
What Should I be Planting in My Garden?
In a summer garden, the easiest vegetables to grow love being planted along with herbs and flowers. They all provide each other with protection. Some of the most popular vegetable choices for summer gardens include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, okra, cucumbers and beans.
If you are looking to add some fresh herbs to your kitchen garden, consider planting basil, rosemary and oregano. For flower beds or borders, choose petunias or other annual varieties such as marigolds or zinnias.
What to Grow from Seed?
The easiest vegetables to grow are ones that you can plant directly into the soil of a summer garden. These include cucumbers, okra, summer squash, winter squash snap beans, bush beans, pole beans, and long beans.
These veggies do best to start directly in the soil and not getting moved as a transplant. The roots of these particular crops don’t like to be moved and are quick growing plants that will grow a few weeks faster outside than they would starting indoors.
What to Plant as Transplants?
Definitely plant seeds indoors for tomatoes, bell peppers,, and eggplants. These seeds will not sprout unless it is at least 60 degrees in the soil and if you wait to start outdoors, than you will probably lose out on the season to enjoy the fruit from these plants.
Start indoors 2-3 months before you will sow seeds you want to transplant outdoors in your own garden bed.
Getting a Head Start in Early Spring
You can give your crops a jumpstart by starting them indoors and then transplanting them once the temperature has warmed up. Some crops like cucumbers, squash, melons green beans, and pumpkins do not transplant well, so these should be direct sown in the garden.
Lots of Direct Sunlight Needed
Direct sunlight is essential for growing summer crops as it helps them to grow stronger and produce more fruit. Sunlight provides energy to the plants, which they use to photosynthesize and convert into food.
Direct sunlight also helps plants to grow and develop a strong stem, ripen their fruits, and can result in better yield of crops. Inadequate sunlight will lead to smaller plants with fewer fruits and yields.
The heat of summer can devastate summer crops. But keeping your plants watered at the base consistently allows for the roots of young plants to continue to bring nutrients to the plant stems and helps it to continue to produce especially in the heat.
When the soil is so dry, the plant goes in survival mode and stops producing veggies and fruits.
Adding Nutrients Two Ways
Compost can be a great way to help young plants to grow strong and healthy. Compost is full of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which help the plants grow bigger and healthier.
It also helps retain moisture in the soil, which is important for hot summer days. Furthermore, organic compost improves soil structure which allows oxygen to get to the roots and provides better drainage for loose soil. This improved environment for garden soil leads to healthier and more robust vegetables.
Organic Liquid Fertilizer
Organic liquid fertilizer can be an effective way to help summer vegetable gardens grow strong and healthy. Liquid fertilizers provide vital nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that the crops need to photosynthesize and convert into food.
Additionally, liquid fertilizer helps retain moisture in the soil which is especially beneficial during hot summer days. Furthermore, organic liquid fertilizer helps improve soil structure which allows oxygen to reach the roots of root vegetables and provides better drainage. This improved environment in poor soil leads to healthier and more robust vegetables.
What Can I Grow with my Veggies?
Companion planting is a gardening practice that involves growing different plant varieties together in close proximity. This type of planting has many benefits such as providing natural pest control, increasing pollination, improving soil fertility and enhancing growth.
Companion planting can create a visually appealing garden with a variety of colors and textures. As an example, tomatoes are often planted with basil to improve the flavor of the tomatoes while also creating an aesthetically pleasing combination.
Having herbs in your vegetable garden has many benefits. For starters, herbs can help improve the flavor of your vegetables and make dishes more interesting. Herbs are also great for attracting beneficial insects and helping ward off pests.
Growing herbs can improve soil quality by releasing nitrogen into the soil. Having herbs in your garden adds visual appeal with their bright colors and lush foliage.
Flowers attract beneficial pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, which help to improve pollination of vegetables and increase yields.
Flowers also act as a natural pest repellent that can ward off pests while simultaneously making the garden more aesthetically pleasing. Some flowers such as marigolds have antibacterial and antifungal properties, so they can help protect your other plants from disease.
What are you ready to start growing in your garden? Will you start with a few packets of seeds that are cheap and will give you lots of food? Will you start your seeds indoors so that by the time the cool weather here warms up, you are ready to plant in your summer garden?
I hope that you found encouragement to take your garden to the next level and plant seeds and transplants from this summer veggie list and start growing your own food today, even with your kids. Check out the benefits of gardening with your family HERE.
What is the easiest and fastest vegetables to grow?
Squash, cucumbers, and beans thrive in hot temperatures and sandy soil and can be harvested quickly once they have matured. They tend to require less maintenance than other vegetables and can tolerate more drought conditions.
What is a cheap easy vegetable to grow?
Growing from seeds is the cheapest way to grow vegetables because it eliminates the cost of purchasing seedlings or transplants. It allows you to either sow seeds directly select specific varieties that are suited to your climate and soil conditions.
Lastly, you are able to save seeds from year-to-year which further helps reduce costs.
What can I grow in my garden all year round?
Kale and Swiss chard can be grown in a variety of seasons because it is frost-resistant and can tolerate temperatures down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a great option for cooler climates. Additionally, kale is relatively drought-tolerant, meaning that it doesn’t need regular watering or a lot of soil moisture to survive. Check out this article about growing in the winter with frost.
Kale and Swiss chard are also high in nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and iron. This makes it an ideal vegetable to grow all year round – you can enjoy the fresh produce during any season!
What should I not grow in the summer?
A cool weather plant will have a difficult time surviving the summer heat and may make it through a hot season with partial shade. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Check out this blog post about growing leafy greens in cool weather.
Things not to grow in summer include leaf lettuce, pea seeds, snow peas, and other lettuce varieties. These veggies can handle chilly weather and are not the best vegetables for the home garden in the summer. But you can plant them late summer for a fall crop and get ready for cold weather and a fall harvest.