5 Easy Foods to Plant in Your Home Garden
From salads and sandwiches to side dishes and meatless entr
Lettuce and Salad Greens
With the exception of iceberg lettuce, most varieties of this salad staple are fairly easy to grow and maintain. Consider a leafy variety such as endive, green leaf or radicchio to keep things tasty but simple. Leaf lettuce can be harvested repeatedly throughout the growing season by picking the top leaves to make room for new growth. Lettuce is an ideal shade plant and often flourishes beneath taller plants such as beans, corn or tomatoes.
Lettuce and tomatoes are perfect companions, and most tomato varieties are just as easy to cultivate as lettuce. Starter plants are widely available at garden centers and home improvement stores. Choose a patio variety or a fruited heirloom plant to minimize your efforts, and prepare the soil with a good compost before transplanting to maximize your results. Tomatoes need a sunny spot in your garden, but are fairly drought-tolerant and do not require a great deal of water.
Herbs such as basil, parsley, rosemary and chives bring a sweet aroma to your vegetable garden, as well as your cooking. These herbs can grow almost anywhere and tolerate a variety of conditions. Chives are especially hardy and can handle large amounts of direct sunlight. Plant herb seeds directly in prepared soil near the bottom of other plants in the garden. Place basil near your tomatoes to keep away insects and to enhance the tomatoes' flavor.
Beans and Peas
Green beans, snap peas, pole beans and other legume varieties need water, sunlight and plenty of vertical space to grow. When these basic needs are met, these plants flourish with plentiful harvests for most of the summer. Plant peas early and consider using a trellis for support. Bean plants also do best near stakes or trellises, and prefer warm soil with adequate drainage.
Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Summer squash varieties, such as zucchini and yellow squash, are excellent vegetables for beginning gardeners. These plants grow best in warm, moist soil, and seeds are usually planted late in the season. With plenty of sun and adequate water, two plants can typically keep squash on the table all summer.
Planting a garden is an excellent way to put fresh and healthy organic food on the table, and it is much easier to get started than you may think. These easy-to-grow foods do well in a variety of soils and climates, but you should check your local growing zone to be sure that a plant variety is right for your region.