Would you like to grow a vegetable garden at home, but don’t know where to start? Here are 5 easy to grow veggies with helpful tips to get a bountiful harvest in the garden this season.
It is not for nothing that we learn to grow them in elementary school. There are two varieties of beans: the climbing bean and the bush bean.
Climbing (or pole) Beans
Climbing beans grow to about 15 feet – 4.5 m in height. It needs a trellis or a teepee as a stake to facilitate its growth. Its production starts in mid-July and lasts 6 to 8 weeks. They are known to produce 2 to 3 times more than the bush bean.
The more you harvest climbing beans, the more they produce!
The bush bean is rather compact (24 inches – 60 cm high) and does not require a stake. Production is earlier than for climbing beans, around mid-June, and is generally finished after 2 to 3 weeks. In order to obtain a continuous harvest, you can resow up to four times, more or less two weeks apart.
Beans thrive in at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. You can sow them in the garden directly, but be patient as the bean requires heat to germinate. Once the lilacs start to bud, it’s a sign that the soil temperature is around 18°C. This is the perfect time to plant your beans. You can always start your seedlings indoors, 2 to 3 weeks before, but you’ll get just as good results by planting them directly in the garden at the right time.
Harvest the beans when they are still young and tender and you can barely make out the beans (about 12 cm). If you wait too long, the pods will become fibrous, tough and contain large, unappetizing seeds
Zucchini is considered the most productive of all vegetables as one plant is enough to feed an average family of 4 people. This easy vegetable can be sown directly in the garden when the nights regularly reach more than 15°C (usually at the beginning of June depending on the region). As this vegetable is rather climbing, do not hesitate to add stakes to make your plant climb in height and thus avoid that the fruits rot by remaining in contact with the ground. As zucchini is a rather greedy vegetable, it will require an addition of compost at the beginning of the season as well as a small dose of Natural Fertilizer for vegetable gardens every 4 weeks in order to encourage an abundant harvest.
Harvest the zucchini every 2-3 days when they are still young and tender, about 15-20 cm long. This will stimulate the production of other fruits. At the opposite, if you delay harvesting them, as beginners often do, the zucchinis will become giant and they are unfortunately not very good to eat anymore. You also risk slowing down and even stopping the production. The harvest of a plant can be spread out until September if the weather is favourable.
Lettuce is certainly the most popular vegetable to grow in the garden. Since this vegetable loves cool temperatures, it is best to plant it in the shade directly in the ground around the beginning of May. Lettuce is a fast growing vegetable, so there is no need to plant it indoors. Even when cut, it grows back in a few days. That’s why it can be sown several times during the season to allow you to spread your harvest over several weeks.
How to harvest lettuce – 2 techniques
- Remove young leaves with your fingers
Once your lettuce plant reaches a height of 8 to 15 centimetres, remove the large leaves from the outside of the plant and leave the smaller leaves in the centre to allow them to continue growing. This technique allows you to harvest as you eat. Note that this method can also be used on spinach.
- Cut off the head of the lettuce plant completely
Using a sharp knife, simply cut the head of the lettuce plant about 4 centimetres from the ground so that the crown remains intact. This way, in some cases, it will be able to produce a second crop and allow you to pick again towards the end of the summer. If you use this technique, you may need to store your lettuce in the refrigerator for a few days before eating it. To do this, wrap it in a cloth or put it in a perforated plastic bag.
Don’t wait for your lettuce to go to seed
When the heat arrives, your lettuce may tend to go to seed. It then becomes bitter and less interesting for consumption. It is then preferable to pull the plants and sow them again.
Tip: when you cut your lettuce and notice a milky sap flowing from the leaves, it’s a sign that seed set is approaching!
First of all, you should know that there are two types of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate varieties. The determinate varieties are bushy, compact and early. The production of fruits is massive and they ripen almost all at the same time. The indeterminate varieties are rather climbing. It is necessary to stake them solidly, because their production is abundant, and continuous throughout the season.
Good to know !
Tomatoes require a minimum of 8 hours of full sun per day. Being a very greedy vegetable, you must add Natural Fertilizer for vegetable gardens every 3 to 4 weeks. This will ensure an abundant harvest throughout the season. Watering must be regular (even daily) and abundant.
Did you know that the best way to plant your tomato plants is horizontally? In fact, this method promotes a root system that is 2 to 3 times stronger and prevents your tomatoes from being blown away by the wind. Your plants will still absolutely need a stake.
And what about the suckers!?
Actually, tomato plants do not produce suckers since, by definition, a sucker is a stem that does not produce fruit. However, if we let these small secondary stems grow, they will eventually produce flowers and therefore fruit.
To know which varieties to grow in a container or for more tips and advice on how to grow tomatoes, consult our article : Growing tomatoes in containers
The radish is a rather easy-to-grow vegetable. It tolerates shade and cool temperatures very well. Therefore, you can sow them in the field 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. Repeat sowing every two weeks to ensure a consistent harvest throughout the season.
When to harvest them?
Harvest them a little before they reach their maximum size – 4 to 6 weeks after sowing. Don’t wait until your radishes get too big and split, then their taste will become too strong or even unpleasant. Radishes also need to be watered often to prevent them from becoming fibrous and bitter.
You are now ready to start your vegetable gardening adventure. For even more tips to get your garden going, check out our article Tips and advice for beginners : how to grow a successful vegetable garden. For lots more tips throughout the season, follow us on social media: Facebook and Instagram.