Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow at home, with peppers coming in second—and both are easy to grow. Cucumbers, onions, beans and radishes are also high on the list of best vegetable plants to grow. Tomatoes are grown in 85 percent of all home gardens. Learn some facts about these plants before you decide which will be your best choices to grow.
Varieties of tomatoes will fit any garden—from cherry size for containers to the oversized heirloom tomato "Brandywine." Grow tomatoes in full sun and soil with good drainage. Add organic compost to the soil for healthier tomatoes that resist insects and disease. Tomatoes can grow to 5 feet in height so use tomato cages for support. Use a homemade garlic, pepper and water spray as an insecticide if aphids or caterpillars become a problem. Harvest tomatoes from mid-summer to fall.
Green peppers are also called bell peppers. Red peppers are sweet peppers. Hot peppers are jalapeno, poblano, Serrano and many others. Plant peppers in full sun. As they grow, give a side dressing of organic compost once a month. Watch for wilted leaves, as peppers need frequent watering.
Onions are a vegetable garden mainstay. The strong onion smell repels harmful insects. Green onions are also called bunching onions, and both their bulbs and leaves are edible. Onions can be grown from seeds, sets or transplants. Plant onions in loose, rich soil that drains well.
Cucumbers are another vegetable that needs a support trellis or wires to grow well. The vines reach 25 feet long. Cucumbers grown at home are very flavorful. They need full sun and regular deep watering. Whiteflies can be an insect problem late in the growing season. Beneficial insects such as ladybugs help control whiteflies.
Radishes are so easy and rewarding to grow that they are always part of children’s gardens. Some varieties of radish are table-ready three weeks after they are planted, others come to harvest in two months. Thin plants as they grow and eat the tiny sprouts as salad greens. Radishes benefit from a side dressing of compost 10 days after they sprout.