Starting and maintaining a vegetable garden allows you the opportunity to grow your own organic foods to put on your family's table. Depending on the region in which you are gardening, a wide variety of vegetables grow abundantly in home gardens, making it easier to supplement your diet while beautifying your yard. From delicious vegetable plants to companion flowers and herbs, the plants for a vegetable garden are numerous and nutritious.
A relative of cabbage, broccoli thrives in temperate climates as a cool-weather vegetable. Broccoli grows as a foliage plant at first, producing wide leaves and a thick stalk at the base. The vegetable grows from the center of the plant in a large cluster or "head." Broccoli thrives in well-drained soil and is tolerant of partial sunlight. It thrives in cool weather as long as the soil is not frozen. Broccoli thrives in nearly every growing zone, but in zones 7 and warmer it may have difficulty coming to fruit.
A root vegetable, the carrot grows in temperate climates during the early spring and fall seasons. It produces a beneficial nutrient called beta carotene that can also be found in other vegetables such as pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash. Growing beneath the surface of your garden soil, the carrot produces a stalk of deep green foliage that sprouts from above the ground. When the plant goes to seed it produces several puffs of white blossoming florets, which are also used in a variety of culinary applications. Although carrots are commonly orange, you can find purple, red and white varieties as well. Carrots thrive in cool weather growing zones, much like broccoli, but in warmer climates it can be grown during the winter as a cold weather crop.
A bright and cheerful looking vegetable, summer squash thrives in direct sunlight and well-drained soil. Growing summer squash proves to be an easy task for even the novice gardener and it only requires a deep watering once a week during the summer season. Growing summer squash provides you with a delicate tasting vegetable that is high in water content, making it a flavorful choice for hot summer meals. It thrives in virtually any growing zone if it receives direct sunlight and warmth during the summer.
Companion plants offer benefits to a vegetable garden even when they aren't vegetables themselves. Such plants as parsley, mint and marigold allow for high pollination of nearby vegetable plants, assuring they can grow to optimal sizes. Companion plants and their vegetable counterparts vary from variety to variety and their effects on nearby crops also differ. This opens doors to new experiences for gardeners, whether they're advanced or novices in the hobby.