Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden

Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden Starting a new garden can be exciting. It can also be a bit overwhelming. There are so many plants to choose from, how do you decide which to include? To make it easier, we made a list of our favorite plants for beginning gardeners.

RadishesTop Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Radish
Radishes are one of the easiest, and fastest, vegetables to grow. With barely a month between sowing the seeds and harvest, they can be sown every week or so throughout the summer for a continual supply for salads and healthy snacking. There are three main types of radish: round, long, and daikon.

A couple of our favorites:
Easter Egg are a mix of pastels, with a zesty crispness
French Breakfast have a somewhat milder spicy flavor


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: LettuceSalad Greens
Few things are more delicious than a fresh salad harvested directly from the garden. Whether you like crispy romaine, soft butter leaf, or fresh baby greens, we encourage you to add some to your garden.

Some of our most popular varieties:
Sweetie Baby Romaine is a fast producer
Rocky Top Lettuce Mix is a great mix of flavors


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Green BeansGreen Beans
Green beans are easy to grow, easy to harvest, and even easier to eat! Pole beans grow up walls and fences, making them perfect for small spaces. Bush beans are shorter and more compact, but still give a prolific bounty.

Your best bets:
Blue Lake for tender beans with good flavor
Rolande for a delicate flavor for special dishes


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Swiss ChardSwiss Chard
Swiss Chard is an under-appreciated plant. Chock full of vitamins A, K, and C, it’s a nearly-perfect vegetable. The baby greens are tender enough to eat in salads, while mature leaves can be sautéed or added to soups. It’s never bitter like other greens, and is perfect for cut-and-come-again gardening. In temperate climates, it can survive for years.

Give these a try:
Rainbow Bright Lights for a fun, colorful plant
Italian Silver Rib for large, flavorful leaves


TomatoesTop Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Tomatoes
There are more varieties of tomatoes than any person would ever taste, much less grow. No matter what the climate is like in your area, you will be able to find several that will grow well.

Good all-round pleasers:
Sungold for the sweetest cherry tomatoes
Brandywine for a great slice tomato
Amish Paste for rich tomato sauce


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: BasilBasil
Basil is an easy-growing herb that will continue to produce leaves all summer long with routine harvests. Often associated with Italian food, it has plenty of other uses as well, including adding a bold flavor to salads, and seasoning for soups and baked dishes.

Genovese for the best pesto dishes
Cinnamon for a spicy flavor in salads
Thai Sweet for Asian dishes


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: StrawberriesStrawberries
Once you’ve had a homegrown strawberry, you’ll forever be disappointed with grocery store berries. Fortunately, they are very easy to grow, and can be grown in containers, borders, and anywhere you have an open spot.

Chandlers are super sweet
Mingonettes are heat-tolerant
Yellow Wonder Wilds are unique and delicious


Peppers Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Peppers
Whether you like sweet peppers or peppers with a bite, you should make sure to include them in your garden. They love the summer heat and sunshine and will make a great compliment to summer salads and kebabs.

Rainbow Bell Mix for a colorful assortment
Sweet Banana for salads and grilling
Jalapeño for pizzas and spicy dishes


Top Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Summer SquashSummer Squash
Summer squash grows quickly and will provide you with delicious fruit all summer long. When picked young, summer squash is tender and has a delicate flavor, perfect for grilling, sautéing, stuffing, or sliced thinly and adding to salads. Plants can be trained to grow up a trellis or fence, to save space.

Ronde de Nice for cute little globes
Summer Scallop Trio for UFOs and pattypans
Black Beauty for the classic zucchini


BorageTop Ten Plants for a Beginner Garden: Borage
Borage is a favorite plant for gardeners because of its beautiful and edible flowers, which bloom all summer long, attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden. They have a mild flavor similar to cucumbers and make a lovely addition to salads, as well as a fun garnish for cocktails.

Blue Borage is the most common type, but it can also be found in white and pink


Smart Gardener: The easiest way to plan, grow and harvest your own food.

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Author: Karen Price

Karen has an associate teacher certificate in early childhood education, and a bachelor's in outdoor education from the Environmental Studies program at Sonoma State University, in Sonoma County, CA. It's her mission to be an advocate encouraging families to grow and eat more vegetables.

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