10 Best Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners to Grow

10 Best Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners to Grow

If you’re new to gardening, direct-sow vegetables are a great place to start. These are vegetable seeds that you can sow directly into your outdoor garden — no need to start indoors! From flavorful salad greens to bountiful summer squash, there are many satisfying crops to grow in your no-fuss garden plot.


Keep reading for 10 easy direct-sow vegetable recommendations for beginner gardeners. All are simple to grow in an area with full sun and well-drained soil, and many are good for containers if you’re short on space. Choose a few favorites for your garden and get ready for a harvest of homegrown produce!

Looseleaf Lettuce

With very little care, looseleaf lettuce produces plentifully – even in containers. You won’t be waiting long for your first crop either: most varieties mature in just 45-50 days. Lettuce loves the cool weather of early spring, so plant as soon as soil is workable. For a continuous supply of crisp salad greens, resow every other week until temperatures reach above 70°F. You can plant again in late summer when the temperatures dip to enjoy fresh leaves come fall.

Bush Beans

You don’t need tons of gardening experience to grow an abundance of fresh, crunchy bush beans. Unlike climbing pole beans, bush bean plants are compact and grow two feet tall or shorter – that means you can grow them in patio containers! Sow this warm-season favorite after all danger of frost has passed. For a continuous bounty of beans, sow a new crop every two weeks until midsummer.



As soon as 21 days from sprouting, you can harvest flavorful radishes unlike anything from the supermarket. Radishes are some of the fastest and easiest vegetables to grow, making them a satisfying pick for new gardeners. They’re great for containers, too. A cool-season crop, radishes should be sown in early spring or late summer for a fall crop. The trick is to pick these quick growers before they pass their prime. The best way to determine the right harvest time? Pull one and do a taste test!


Sun-loving cucumbers are a summer garden staple and require little attention on your part. Just make sure to plant them in warm soil when there’s no more danger of frost. Space-saving bush cucumber varieties can grow in containers without support, whereas vining varieties are more sprawling and benefit from the support of a trellis or fence. Take note: cucumber plants are very thirsty, so water them well at the soil line.


An early springtime favorite, fresh-picked peas are tender, sweet and easy-growing! Peas come in three types, giving you a variety of choices: garden-shelling peas, snap peas or snow peas. Plants thrive in cool weather, so you should sow seeds in the garden about a month before your area’s average last frost date. Whether you plant a climbing variety or bush variety, all peas grow their best with support. Make sure to set trellises for climbing peas before planting.

Summer Squash

Summer squash is super-prolific and comes in a fun assortment of colors and shapes, from classic green zucchini to yellow crooknecks and round patty pan fruits. Plant in early summer and prepare for a delicious supply all season. Squash requires a little more room to grow than the other vegetables on this list: sow seeds about 3’ apart in the garden. The plants have high water content, so be sure to keep them well hydrated. Squash is best eaten when the skin is shiny!


Leafy kale is a popular first crop because it’s low-maintenance, cold-hardy and packed with nutritional benefits. The versatile green can tolerate frost – in fact, its flavor becomes sweeter after the plant has experienced a first frost! Sow your kale seeds in early spring or fall and start harvesting once plants have 10-12 leaves each.


Fast-growing and container-friendly, turnips are a terrific cool-season crop for aspiring green thumbs. Bonus: You can eat both the roots and the leaves! Sow turnip seeds in well-worked, loose soil so they can reach their full shape and size. Within a couple months, you can enjoy the crispy roots raw or cooked.  


Also called green onions, scallions are simple to grow in your own backyard. Scallions like cooler weather and should be sown in early spring or fall. If you live in a frost-free southern area, you can grow scallions all winter long! Both the stalks and the bulbs of scallions are edible, adding delicious mild onion flavor to just about any dish.


We couldn’t wrap up this list of beginner-friendly vegetables without including arugula! This slightly peppery salad star grows quickly from seed – ready to harvest in as little as three weeks. While arugula prefers spring and fall weather, it tolerates warmer temperatures better than other greens. During hotter weather apply mulch around plants to keep roots cool.

July 6, 2021
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