Before you plant, create a plan! I have finally finished my raised bed plans using my grow veg planner and now i’m finishing up my seedlings in preparation for the summer garden. In Michigan, many vegetables like flowers need to be started a little earlier indoors for you to pick the optimal amount of produce for the year. Some of the vegetables on this list can also be direct sowed which means planted directly into your beds. Since I have some bad luck with the birds and field mice, I always prefer to give them a bit of a head start indoors. There are some fussy vegetables to get going like eggplants and peppers, we are going to stay away from those today.
We are going to focus on the easiest vegetables to grow from seed for your seasonal garden.
Zucchini is one vegetable that I always seem to underestimate. I think that I need 3 or 4 plants each year and that results in me begging my friends to take one or thirty zucchinis home from my garden. If you are a family of five, two zucchini plants will suit you just fine. Zucchini is extremely easy to start from seed and grows quickly with most varieties maturing between 60-70 days. One of my favorite varieties to grow is the Black Beauty variety. It produces faster than others at around 50 days and was first introduced to the US around 1920. Most zucchini is best picked young but if you find one that has grown to the size of a newborn baby, use it for bread or noodles. When Cooking zucchini I like to remove the seeds as they contain water. Zucchini is easy because it is easy to germinate and if you like, can also be direct sowed.
I have way too many beans planned for my garden this year but they have been hand selected by me to grow over the arches in the garden. I chosen the Taiwan Long bean to grow over the arches. Beans are fast growing and you can succession plant each season. I usually have a spring crop and then a fall crop ready to go once those plants tire. I have even had it where some beans dry on the plant and they fall into the dirt and self sow themselves for the next season. That happened with the Tongues of Fire Bean that I planted last year.
I love a good pickle and I’m so excited to try to grow these Parisian Pickling Cucumbers. Cucumber grow fast pending they have good watering systems in place. They are fast and prolific and best picked small and early. I like to grow them on an upright trellis so I do not miss any hiding in the brush. One of my favorite varieties to grow is the Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber. Two plants will provide you with hundreds of quarter size cucumbers. I found when trying to pickle this variety they turn to mush. They are best eaten fresh off the vine in a nice summer salad.
Some might disagree with me, but tomatoes are easy to grow. They germinate without a lot of fuss and given the right supports and care they will provide tons of tomatoes. I grow one or two varieties for fresh eating but must of the tomato space in my garden is dedicated to canning tomatoes. I have an entire blog post dedicated to the best tomatoes for canning. There are a few things to keep an eye out for when growing tomatoes. They need sturdy supports in place as well as a watchful eye for tomato worms. Those buggers work fast and can eat a large portion of a mature plant in one day. I use soap and water spray as well as diatomaceous earth but the best way is to just keep an eye out for them and feed them to you chickens.
Start your lettuce before the heat of summer sets in. Lettuce can be direct sowed with ease but be aware the seeds are extremely small. I have had lettuce direct sow itself if I let a plant or two go to seed. Wherever the wind blows I can expect a couple lettuce plants to pop up. Some of my favorite varieties are butter crunch and butter king because the leaves are big and flavorful which means they are easy to scrub the grit of the earth off. PS lettuce is great to grow under a cucumber trellis to avoid the hot summer sun.
Any vegetable is worth giving a shot. Research is good but trial and error is the best way to learn what works for you and your garden. My biggest tip of advice is to grow according to your zone. This will tell you when to start your seeds, when it should be safe to move them outside and when to succession plant if that is something you are interested in trying.
From my experience the easiest vegetables to grow in my zone 5b is