How to Choose Plants for Your First Vegetable Garden

So as some of you might know I actually have a black thumb.  I don’t know what is worse then a black thumb?  If there is something worse, well that is me.  Basically the plants see me coming and they play dead in stores because that will inevitably happen once we get home anyway.
BUT!  Every year Spring comes around and I see all the people with lovely gardens and flowers blooming and I decide to get back on the horse and try, try again.
This year is no different.  I have already picked up a few herbs to plant and once again I am going to make an attempt at a little garden for my girls.
I have a friend that is a master gardener and she very kindly wrote up some great tips for where to begin when you want to start a garden.
I thought some of you might find this helpful – I know I certainly did!  So here are her tips to selecting the right veggies for your garden:


Growing a vegetable garden is one of the most rewarding activities you can do for your family. Home grown vegetables taste better and have more nutrients than store bought veggies since you can pick them the same day you want to use them or even can them when they are at their ripest. There are an infinite number of veggies that you can grow in your backyard or even just on your patio or balcony. Here are a few perfect plants to grow in your first veggie garden:

Green beans are an easy plant to grow in your first vegetable garden. The only hard part is knowing if the plants or seeds you have are a bush variety or are climbers. If they are bush beans, then you don’t need to do anything other than plant them a half an inch under the soil and water in well. If they are climbers, you will need to add a trellis or plant them up against a wall so that they can climb up. Green beans start to produce on average 45 days after you plant them.

Cucumbers or zucchini are also very easy vegetables to grow. When planting the seed, make sure it is buried at least 3x the diameter of the seed. Since these tend to be large seeds, make a hole half an inch down and cover it up. In a week the plant will be about an inch high already! If transplanting, make the hole the size of the root ball and gently tease out the roots and place it in the hole then water it in well. These plants can get quite large so plant 12 inches apart. It should start to set out fruit after 30 days and you can be eating cucumbers and zucchini in as little as 60 days.

Tomatoes are another plant that are not too difficult to grow. There are so many varieties to choose from and selecting what you want to grow might be the hardest part! The key to tomatoes is to remember they will not set fruit if the daytime temperatures get over 90 degrees. If you are in the Southwest, plant tomatoes in February and after Mother’s Day in most areas of the Midwest and Northern states. Make sure that the tomatoes are not on the ground as too many insects and critters will eat them before you do! You can harvest the tomatoes when they are still green or you cut some of the vine with it and allow them to continue to ripen on the vine in your kitchen.   (technically tomatoes are fruit but in cooking they are usually used as a savory ingredient so we included them as a veggie for the purposes of this post.)

Both spinach and leaf lettuce are also quite easy to grow for the beginning gardener. You can mix the seed and spread the mixture over an area and cut the baby leaves after they are a couple inches tall. This successive sowing will keep new leaves growing each week and allows you to have fresh greens until the weather gets too warm!

These are just a few of the perfect plants to grow in your first veggie garden. There are many more just waiting for you to try and see if you have a green thumb too!