The best types of vegetables to grow in your home garden are the vegetables that you want to eat. Unlike with ornamental plants, vegetables reward you with the thrill of being able to eat what you have produced. Avoid the temptation to try to overfill your space with plants. Your vegetables will suffer if you force them to compete for nutrients, water, light and air.
Lettuce is a cool weather annual that grows in either leaf or head varieties. Experiment with many different varieties to find the ones you like the best. New selections add interest to your meals and save you from paying premium prices at the grocery store. Extend your growing season by providing your plants with shade in warmer weather. Start lettuce indoors, or direct sow as soon as you can work the soil in the spring. For a fall crop, calculate back from the expected first frost date to know when to start the plants. Mature lettuce holds a lot of water and does not fare well during a frost. Lettuce will perform well if you choose to grow it in a container. Water frequently and lightly to develop leaves rapidly and produce a high-quality lettuce, according to the University of Illinois Extension service.
The chive (Allium schoenoprasum) is a cool season plant that prefers a full sun location in fertile, well-drained soil. Start your chives from seeds or transplants. Start them early in the spring to provide enough time for a summer harvest. If you start from seed, you may need to wait a year before you have a plant that you can harvest. Attractive red, violet, white and pink flowers bloom from late spring to early fall. The Beginner's Guide to Gardening recommends that you do not let the flowers form on the plant if you want the best flavor. Chives grow in clumps and reach heights between 6 and 12 inches. The chive is a member of the onion family and adds an onion-like flavor to foods, such as salads and potatoes.
Pole bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) or common bean is an annual vine that grows rapidly. Direct sow seeds when the soil temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees F. Place in a sunny location, in well-drained soil. Build trellises or some other structure to support the vines. In addition to being able to use beans as a vegetable, the thick green foliage means that you can use bean pole plants as a temporary screen between you and your neighbors. You will know that your pole beans are ready to harvest when they become firm and you can snap them.
Zucchini is a warm season squash that is a member of the Cururbitaceae family. It needs full sun and very fertile, well-drained soil to flourish. Choose either the bush or vine variety. The bush variety tends to take up less space in the garden. Zucchini will continue to bear fruit as you pick new ones during the growing season. The large, yellow flowers are edible; eat them fried or stuffed and baked.