If you’re starting to think about starting a garden and growing your vegetables, you may bewonder – how hard is it to grow vegetables? The ability to grow a vegetable depends on many things, including climate, soil, water, care needs, and more.
That is why we’ve answered your questions about the most difficult plants to grow, the best starter vegetables, what you can do to make the process easier on yourself, and any other questions you have.
What is the Most Difficult Vegetable to Grow?
There are a few exceptionally difficult vegetables to grow. As a general rule, vegetable gardening is not particularly low maintenance, but these veggies take the cake when it comes to difficulty growing and maintaining in your garden.
Cauliflowers are well-known for being very hard vegetables to grow. This is because cauliflowers have a very long growing season, but they are unable to thrive if the weather is too hot or too cold.
You have to plant cauliflowers early enough for them mature before the hot summer temperatures. However, they also must be planted late enough that the cold weather doesn’t kill them before they’ve had a chance to start growing.
Event with correct growing conditions, cauliflowers attract bugs, cabbage worms, and diseases. All this combined makes them one of the most laborious vegetables to grow.
Like cauliflower, artichoke can be a challenge for beginners because they are sensitive to both climate changes and pests. The globe artichoke is a native of the Mediterranean, and artichokes are usually grown as perennials there.
Artichokes thrive in moderate conditions, making them difficult to grow in locations with several seasons.
Artichokes also have a pest problem – specifically with aphids. The insect stunts the leaves and spreads viruses that can hurt artichokes long-term.
As a root vegetable, beginners may believe carrots are relatively easy to grow. Unfortunately, this is a myth, as carrots require quite specific soil to grow in. Carrots can only thrive in at least six inches of soil that has been well tilled and loosened.
The type of soil also matters. Carrots are unable to grow well in clay soil. While mineral soil is okay, hummus is your best best for a strong crop. That soil should also be free of other debris – if there are even small pebbles in the dirt, the roots can become misshapen.
The difficulty with onions is choosing the right kind to grow in your at-home garden. There are seven basic types of onions – yellow, red, white, green, shallots, sweet, leeks – and that is only the beginning of the onion variations.
Onions are sensitive to how much light they receive, but each type needs something different. Some require 12 hours of sunlight a day – others, up to 16. Without the proper amount of light, your onion crop will be history.
Sweet potatoes were grown as a tropical plant, meaning they need hot weather to grow – and a lot of it. Sweet potatoes require 100 days of hot weather to grow in hot soil. This makes them fairly easy for gardeners in the south, but exceptionally difficult for those living in the northern parts of the globe.
What Vegetables Are Easiest to Grow?
Of course, not every vegetable is hard to grow! While some of the following options may not be perfectly suited for your environment, they’re generally agreed on as some of the easiest to grow vegetables for home gardening beginners and are among the easiest vegetables to grow.
Lettuce is a hearty vegetable that can be grown directly in your garden or started indoors and transplanted. It is one of the few crops grown year-round in many climates.
While in hot weather, it does need to have shade – however, this is an easy fix by simply adding an overhang to any garden sections your lettuce has been planted in.
If you have less than stellar soil, consider green beans. Green beans can grow even in the worst of soils because they fix the nitrogen as they grow. In cooler regions, you will find snap beans are easiest; in hot climates, try lima beans, southern peas, or asparagus beans.
Radish seeds are quick – they can be harvested less than a month after planting and can be put in the ground as soon as you first work the new spring soil.
Radishes are also popular because they make carrot growing easier. If you mix up the radish seeds with carrot seeds before you sow, the quick-growing radishes will break through the soil, naturally loosening it for your carrots.
Cucumbers are easy to grow as long as you have prepared appropriately in advance. Make sure to amend your soil with a high nitrogen and potassium fertilizer. Plant your cucumbers in the sun near a fence. That will work as a support for climbing and be used as a shelter.
Spinach is another easy-to-grow plant that yields many leaves in a very short time. This cut-and-come-again vegetable can be grown all year round with the right varieties and works well in a garden or containers.
The best time to plant spinach is during the cooler weather of spring and fall.
Tips to Make Growing Vegetables Easier
If gardening seems intimidating or you had an unfruitful first attempt, do not despair. There are some steps you can take to make gardening easier on yourself.
Nourish Your Soil
Your garden having nutrient-rich soil encourages better, more extensive root systems and creates stronger plants.
You can help nourish your soil by using manure, compost, or leaf mold. The latter two can be made at home for free, so consider composting what you can to help your garden flourish.
The ideal time to add these fertilizers is in the winter, which will allow them to sink into the ground by spring.
Do Your Research
While it may seem obvious that you need to research first, do not underestimate the importance of finding what vegetables and fruits thrive in your environment.
You should also make sure to figure out the spacing each plant needs and what plants to better when planted in a shared bed together, like radishes and carrots. If you need to, you can even use a gardening app.
Grow Dedicated Beds
Having a system of permanent beds will cut down on wasted space and concentrate your resources. Gardening beds allow your plants to be grown in blocks, you’ll be able to get at the plants from all sides, and won’t waste any organic matter that is meant to strengthen your soil.
Rainwater is softer, naturally at a pH preferred by plants, has fewer contaminants, and is just better for your plants. If you’re using treated water on your vegetables, switch to water barrels to collect rainwater to encourage better growth.
How Hard Is It To Grow Vegetables?
Is it worth growing your vegetables? Even an experienced gardener can have difficulties with plants that do not have the proper soil or climate or are just fickle. If you plant slow-growing vegetables, it can be hard to determine the progress of growth.
A little over 30% of families in the United States have a vegetable garden, making it a large and fruitful community that you can turn to when you have difficulties.
At the end of the day, if you enjoy gardening and want to spend some time cultivating your vegetables, yes, it is worth it to grow your own.