What to grow in a garden

Info Guru,

Rate This Article:

4.4 / 5.0
garden seeds
You can start your garden from seeds or plants
  • Share
  • Tweet

What to grow in a garden may be a difficult decision for the novice gardener

The mistake that many virgin gardeners make is going too big and too diverse the first time out. The options of what to grow in a garden are overwhelming.

Cool your jets.

You don’t have to plant everything in the garden catalog the first year. Start small and then grow and experiment in the years that follow as you figure out what you’re good at growing and which vegetables and flowers you like best. If you have a greenhouse - either a smaller, portable greenhouse or a beautiful English-style greenhouse structure - you can start seeds earlier in the season to get a jump on your gardening window. Greenhouse gardening makes planning easier and gives you flexibility because your plants will be stronger when you transfer them to the ground.

You can grow your food and flowers from seeds or from small plants purchased at your local nursery. Here are some good ideas of what to grow in a garden:

Before you plant anything, determine the correct size for your garden. If you have a family of four or five and don’t want to can or freeze vegetables because you plan to eat all of your harvest, make your garden approximately 10 feet by 16 feet. Create 11 or so rows, which are each 10 feet long.

Ideally your rows should run north and south rather than east and west, which takes advantage of the sun. If you don’t think this is big enough expand your garden to 20 feet by 20 feet, which allows space to grow corn.

If you want vegetables that produce more than one crop per season plant cabbage, lettuce, spinach, turnips, beans, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, beets and rutabaga.

In addition, plant approximately five tomatoes, which should be staked; six peppers; four zucchini; bush beans; swiss chard and marigolds - those stinky little flowers that fend off rabbits. Plant some cucumbers, which can be pickled.

If you want to plant potatoes keep in mind that potatoes and tomatoes are like vinegar and water: they don’t mix. Keep them far apart!


For some, a summer without garden tomatoes is not summer at all.

Tomatoes come in various varieties and colors (red, orange, yellow). Some are big, some are meaty, some are small (cherry tomatoes) and some are medium sized (plum tomatoes.) They are great eaten raw, in a salad or on a sandwich or canned and used later in your spaghetti sauce.

The tomato seed arrived in America with the very early settlers but were considered ornamental plants until the 1830s because, up until then, they were believed to be poisonous. A Colonel Johnson sat on the courthouse steps in Salem New Jersey in the 1820s and ate a basketful of tomatoes, showing that they weren’t poisonous. He made his point. Tomatoes were referred to as “Wolf peach” back then. In 1949 the Big Boy tomato, a favorite of many, was introduced.


Some people are just crazy about garden green beans. Beans originated in tropical areas but now grow just about anywhere. String-less beans were the invention of Calvin Keeney. This type of bean doesn’t require string removal or extensive cooking to soften them up. Some beans are green, some are white and others are purple. If you have bean lovers in your family include this vegetable in your garden.

Corn on the cob

Native Americans were growing corn long before Christopher Columbus arrived in American. He took corn back to Spain and from then on corn spread to many countries. Corn is white or yellow or variegated. Boil it, coat it in butter, add a bit of salt and this is about as good as eating it gets. 


Cucumbers are great eaten raw. Add some vinegar, oil and salt and chow down. Cucumbers can be bitter but the modern-day versions are less so than their predecessors. Put them in your salads or make a cucumber sandwich.

If you want to turn your cucumbers into pickles the vegetable must go through the pickling process. The primary way to achieve this is through anaerobic fermentation. The cucumbers are submerged in a solution of brine that you make with pickling salt. Weight the pickles so that they stay under the solution. Once they are completely fermented soak the pickles in clean water, which removes the salt. Slice the pickles and put them in a sealed, sanitized glass canning jars. There are various ways to make pickles depending on what type of pickle you want. Some methods are rather complicated; others less so. Scour the Internet or your cook books for the recipe you most like. 


Essential Garden Guide: garden vegetables

Rate this Article

Click on the stars below to rate this article from 1 to 5

  • Share
  • Tweet