Choosing which vegetables to grow in a home garden can be overwhelming at first. If you are a beginning gardener, you'll likely want to know which plants are the easiest to grow and what kind of garden space should be devoted to growing certain vegetables. A large variety of vegetables can be grown in small spaces and containers, and many require a lot of space; knowing which is which will save a lot of hassle later.
Small Area Crops
Plant lettuce, spinach, bush beans, bush (determinate) tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in any small garden or container, and mix and match them for interesting visual appeal. Interplant some lettuce around tomato plants. This will help utilize as much space as possible, and the two plants do well together; lettuce doesn't take up much room or resources, but helps to keep the weed population down. For vertical spaces on trellises, plant pole beans, peas and cucumber. They don't require a lot of soil space, but do need a lot of vertical space.
Large-Area, Spreading Vegetable Crops
Plants that are easy to grow and are fun to watch, but that require a lot of space to grow, are cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, pumpkins, squash and zucchini. Each of these plants grow large vines that ramble up to 15 feet in any direction. Zucchini and summer squash are the smallest of these, but can still spread to 6 feet wide per plant.
Easy- and Quick-Growing Vegetables
Vegetables that produce quickly and grow well during short growing seasons, as is the case in northern states or for impatient gardeners, are lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, and most herbs. Some varieties of tomato, such as the Oregon Spring, have been bred specifically to grow in as little as 55 days for growth in areas where the growing season is short. Smaller varieties of tomatoes are well suited to quick growth and are easy to grow. Peas and green beans also produce very quickly, but will continue to produce for several weeks after the first harvest, making them a very desirable plant for the beginning gardener.