Certain common garden vegetables remain popular for a variety of reasons. For the beginning gardener, ease of growth can be a deciding factor. For families, vegetables that will produce a lot of food over a length of time can also be popular. For almost everyone, how a vegetable tastes and how many ways you can prepare it often informs how much garden space is dedicated to it. Some of the most common garden vegetables combine of all these attributes.
The tomato is the most commonly grown vegetable in home gardens. It produces a lot of food in a relatively small amount of land, will keep growing throughout the season until fall, tastes good and is one of the most versatile foods in terms of cooking usefulness. From soups to sauces to salads, tomatoes are popular in almost every house in the country.
Beans are popular for home gardeners because they are such a versatile crop. Beans can be picked when they are fresh as green or snap beans. They can also be harvested after the season is over as dried beans. Dried beans are a useful source of protein and can be used in many soup and stew recipes, and the dried beans themselves are easy to store through the winter season because they don't need canning or freezing.
Peppers can be grown in a large variety of forms, from mild and sweet to tongue-burning hot. Sweet peppers can ripen in many different colors, making for some very attractive summer dishes. Peppers can be preserved in many ways, from pickling to freezing to drying, making for a tasty addition to the kitchen through the winter months.
Lettuce is grown only as a fresh vegetable, never to be frozen or canned. Fresh lettuces of many kinds form the basis of most salads, with a variety of other vegetables and foods placed on top of the lettuce base. The home gardener can choose from a large variety of lettuces to grow, from the basic head of iceberg to multicolored leaves of Red Sails and Oak Leaf. While the lettuce season is short, gardeners can plant again in the middle of the summer to harvest another crop in the fall.