What are the easiest food crops to grow?

I have heard from a lot of new gardeners this year who are disappointed in the way things are going. Unfortunately gardening hasn't been as easy as some have anticipated. In my little trouble shooting sessions I'm finding out that many new gardeners started out with plants that are prone to pests, disease or other problems. I get it, you want to grow what you like to eat. I do the same thing.

Vegetables that grew easily

Unfortunately, some plants are super prone to bugs and disease. It's hard enough to take care of a garden, but add powdery mildew or vine borers on top of that and it can get to be too much!

Today I wanted to talk about some of the easiest to grow crops to get new gardeners started out on the right foot! Herbs and edible flowers tend to be the easiest to grow, though obviously vegetables will give you the most food per plant. I'll include them all on this list.

Hydroponic gardening for beginners

I've known what hydroponics are for a long time but I only started experimenting with it a few years ago. It started with a gift. I was given a small self contained hydroponic garden for Xmas. I quickly found out that small scale hydroponics systems for inside your house can produce fresh vegetables and herbs quite well. They are especially useful during the winter. 

Hydroponic lettuce growing system on kitchen counter.

I also found out that a few things I expected didn't quite work out as planned. Of course my experience is limited to a few years with a tabletop hydroponic system, which is by no means the only way to use hydroponics in your home, but it is the easiest. 

The system I used is called the Aerogarden. I'll link to it a little lower on the page so you can take a peek, but first lets gets started talking about hydroponics.

Easy ways to make money from your garden

If you're anything like me you probably over planted your garden and as the harvest starts coming in, now you're wondering what to do with everything! Most gardeners love giving away their home grown produce to family and friends. Sometimes that isn't enough and I'm still overrun with more vegetables than we can eat and preserve!

Homegrown produce for sale

Bartering is one of my favorite things to do with extra produce and eggs from my little homestead. I have traded my homegrown items for many different things over the years, but my favorite is when I bartered guinea keets for chimney sweeping services. That turned out great for both of us!

Of course sometimes the other person really doesn't have anything to trade in which case there's always good old money. Lol There are lots of ways to make money from your garden besides selling fresh produce including herbs, seeds, transplants and more. So let's talk about how you can make money on your backyard garden.

How to control weeds in the garden

Weeds. It's the one thing that makes gardening more chore than enjoyable pastime some days. Keeping the weeds in your garden under control can make the difference between having an amazing harvest, and barely gathering enough to make the garden worthwhile! After all, weeds take up the sun, water and nutrients the plants need so usually the more weeds you grow, the less produce you can harvest.

Weed free garden plot

So how do you maintain a weed free garden?

A few years ago I would have said "Lots of work" but I've adopted a method that makes it pretty easy to control the weeds. I probably spend about 10 minutes a day on it, which isn't all that much in my 23' x 25' garden. The 2 main tricks to make it easier are weeding often and deep mulch.

How to grow vegetables in containers

Last year I did an experiment in container gardening. I had planted 4 varieties of tomato plants, 2 of each plant. One of each variety was planted in the garden and the other in a container. We all know that you can grow certain vegetables in containers, but I intended to discover if container grown tomatoes produced as much fruit, less or even more than the same plants grown in the ground.

pepper plants growing in containers

The experiment was going better than I expected all through summer. Most of the plants were producing equal to or better than the ones in the garden, with the exception of 1 variety. I had been weighing each fruit I harvested and had a running total going for every plant. Then I moved them off the patio for my sons going away party and forgot to move them back that night. 

The deer had destroyed them by morning. *face palm*

Thankfully I had plenty of data collected already to call this experiment a success! When planted in a similar location and cared for properly, container plants can produce the same or even better than ones in the ground. There are a few differences in caring for container gardens though, and not knowing these differences can be the reason container grown plants do not thrive.