13 Easy Crops to Grow for the Beginner Gardener

Are you under the impression that you can’t grow anything?

Have you tried gardening in the past with disastrous results? Oh, friends, don’t give up. I was once the exact same way.

When we first started gardening, I killed four gardens trying to get something to grow. That was almost ten years ago.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks and discovered there are easy crops to grow. Are you interested?

Great! Here’s my list of easy crops to grow:

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1. Green Beans

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Green beans made the top of this list because they’re so simple to grow. There’s no starting of seeds or transplanting, in most cases.

Instead, green beans can be directly sown into the area you’d like to raise them. This makes life much easier for beginner gardeners.

You buy the seeds, place them in quality soil, provide adequate care (such as watering, weeding, and proper lighting), and watch them grow. Just be mindful of spacing and supporting the beans if you choose a type that runs.

2. Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are easy if you only raise a few plants. By reducing your numbers, it gives you an opportunity to gain experience and keep a close eye on each plant.

Place them in a container with quality dirt, water them, and fertilize as needed. You could grow them in a raised or in ground bed as well.

Be sure they have plenty of sunlight. The biggest problems people run into with tomatoes are pests, disease, and over watering.

I recommend container gardening as you learn to grow tomatoes because it helps beginner gardeners avoid many of the diseases and pests that are attracted to larger garden areas.

3. Squash

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Squash is one of those plants that the first year you grow them you think, “Oh, wow! It’s growing!” Every year after you’re like, “Oh no, it’s growing!”

I say this because one plant produces a massive harvest. You don’t need many squash plants, but if you plant them in a mound of quality soil, they should grow with little extra effort on your part.

Check into companion planting to help avoid pests. Diseases and pests are squash plants’ biggest struggles.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce is another one of the easy crops to grow. Again, I recommend growing a leaf lettuce in a container to simplify things even more.

Leaf lettuce is resilient, you don’t have to worry about spacing when planting, and you control the soil when gardening in containers.

Be aware that lettuce does best in cooler temperatures. If you grow lettuce in warm weather, it may bolt (or go to seed) quickly.

5. Spinach

Spinach is the first crop I ever grew when my husband built me a greenhouse almost a decade ago. I chose spinach because of how easy it is to grow.

My greenhouse had beds in it. I sowed the seed directly and had a great harvest for a first-time greenhouse gardener.

If you want to grow spinach too, sow the seed directly into quality soil. When it sprouts, you may have to thin the plants out, but spinach is a durable plant that grows well in cooler temperatures.

6. Herbs

If you can’t grow a thing, buy some herbs! I’ve had great experiences growing herbs because they produce well with only minimal care.

Plus, many times, they’ll go to seed at the end of the year. This produces volunteer plants that will sprout the following year.

To grow herbs, I recommend starting with seedlings purchased from your local nursery or big box store. Plant them in quality soil with ample sunlight. They should produce if the weather is warm enough.

Some herbs are perennials, so they’ll come back year after year.  One herb to be mindful of is mint. Once rooted, it will take over the bed its growing in, and is nearly impossible to get rid of.

7. Corn

Golden ears of corn are a beautiful sight standing in your garden. They taste delicious, too! The best thing about corn is that it’s easy to grow.

The seeds usually come in a coating that is poisonous to animals which encourages squirrels to leave them alone while the seed is sprouting.

Once it has sprouted, you may need to thin the corn out. Other than that, keep it watered, fertilized, and monitor for pests.

It’s a good idea to plant the corn in a box formation, instead of rows, as this protects it from wind damage.

8. Greens

I love growing greens. Turnip greens to be exact. It’s a two-for-one crop that is simple to raise in your garden.

The seeds are tiny, so they should be direct sowed. Don’t dig individual holes. Instead, cast them out over quality, freshly tilled soil.

Once they sprout, thin them as needed. You can eat the greens while they’re tender and wait until the end of the season to harvest the turnips.

9. Peppers

Peppers are another crop I recommend starting with only a few plants. This allows you to learn to care for this type of plant and spot pests or problems easier.

You can raise pepper plants in an inground bed or a raised bed, but I recommend starting with container gardening because it’s easier to watch the soil and learn about watering properly.  

Pepper plants need plenty of sun. They should be watered regularly and fertilized approximately one time per month. Be sure to monitor for pests or signs of disease.

As the weather heats up, your pepper plants should begin producing a bountiful harvest.

10. Root Crops

I put root crops towards the end of this list because, in theory, they’re easy to grow. They don’t require vast amounts of sunlight or warm temperatures.

Radishes, carrots, and potatoes are easy root veggies to grow. The difficult part about growing root vegetables is the soil.

I usually recommend raising them in containers to begin with. If your soil isn’t loose enough it will hinder their growth.

11. Gourds

Gourds? Why would I possibly want to grow gourds? Well, because you can make a variety of crafts out of them, and you can even grow your own loofah sponges.

My husband and I accidentally found out how easy they are to grow when we planted some at our house for my mother-in-law. They were gorgeous, provided a ton of shade, and she had a ball crafting with them.

Be aware, you only need to grow a few seeds. They easily reseed and will most likely come back year after year.

12. Asparagus

Asparagus is a wonderful perennial crop to grow. It’s a good companion for a variety of other plants and doesn’t take up a ton of room.

Be sure to grow your asparagus where it has room to come back larger with each passing year.

It should also be out of the way to make sure it doesn’t get mowed down during yard work. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. 😊

13. Strawberries

The last item on our list of easy crops to grow is strawberries. Strawberries are delicious (especially in ice cream!)  and if planted in a permanent location, should come back every year.

You can grow them in hanging baskets, containers, window boxes, or in a bed. If you grow them in a bed, be prepared that they come back thicker each year.

Be sure to thin them when they come back to provide room to produce and breathe. Lack of airflow can make them susceptible to fungus.

If you’re new to gardening, I hope this list serves you well.   

Finding easy crops to grow isn’t difficult. Many times, you just have to garden differently in the beginning while you gain your footing.

Now, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into action. Go buy some seeds, quality soil, a few planters, and get busy gardening. Happy grow season, everyone!