Growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers doesn't have to be difficult. By focusing on plants that are relatively easy to grow, your chance of success increases, even if you're new to gardening. All you need to grow these easy-care plants are sunlight, good soil, regular water, and a bit of plant food.
To boost your chances of success to their greatest height, the key is to use a power combo of top-quality soil and just the right plant food. Try growing in containers (it makes the whole process super-simple) filled with Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Potting Mix 0.18-0.10-0.10, which can help protect plants from both over- and under-watering. A month after planting, begin giving plants a little boost of nutrition by mixing Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food 24-8-16 in with the water in your watering can (be sure to follow label directions).
When growing veggies and herbs, your job will be even easier if you plant vigorous plants instead of seeds. Growing flowers? Choose premium quality annuals that have not bloomed yet. Starting a garden with young plants jumpstarts the process, getting you to harvest time sooner than if you were to sow seeds.
Here are some of the best plants for beginners:
Leaf lettuce: Leaf lettuce varieties such as Buttercrunch, romaine, and red leaf mature relatively quickly, and you can actually start harvesting as soon as leaves are large enough to nibble. Lettuces grow well in containers, with shallow roots that don't need deep pots to thrive.
Radishes: One of the fastest crops, radishes are ready to harvest in about three weeks. (As a bonus, you can eat the leafy tops as greens.) Because radishes grow so quickly, instead of planting all of the seeds at once, try sowing a few every week or two so you'll be able to harvest continuously for a longer period. Radishes grow well in both beds and pots.
Climbing peas: These grow quickly in the springtime. Plant them along a fence or trellis so they can climb and you can harvest them more easily. Once summer heat arrives and plants are done producing, pull the pea vines and plant pole beans in their place. Both veggies grow well in containers, too.
Basil: This herb loves warm weather, so plant once frosty nights are long gone. Be sure to remove the flower buds to keep the plant producing tasty leaves.
Rosemary: This versatile herb is one of the best plants for beginners. It grows well in either pots or the ground, and can handle dry spells once it matures. Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb, so it likes the heat.
Chives: No special treatment required for chives! Trim them often by giving them a "haircut" and shearing off the top third of the plant. Flowers are edible, too.
Marigolds: These bright blossoms tolerate heat well and bloom throughout the season, right up until frost. Remove dead blossoms to keep new buds coming.
Zinnias: Zinnias will grow without any special treatment. Tall varieties may need to be tied to a stake to keep them from flopping over. Pinch off dead blooms.
Cosmos: These daisy-like flowers do well in a wide range of soils and can withstand drought once they've reached maturity. They love warm weather, so wait to plant until all chance of frost has passed.