Without a doubt, gardening isn’t as simple as throwing some seeds in the ground & adding water and sunshine.
Often gardening can take years to get the hang of, not just the art itself, but understanding your local climate, microclimate and what varieties will work for your location. If you’re a beginner gardener or someone whose had a few challenges growing certain crops and vegetables, the more knowledge and practice you have the better gardener you’ll become. Here are some beginner, intermediate, and advanced skills to master.
The Easiest Crops to Grow
When you’re a beginner gardener it often helps to grow crops that are easier so you have a good first experience. Here’s my list of crops that can be easier to grow in your garden.
- Zucchini/summer squash
- Green Beans
Does that mean you’re guaranteed to get harvests from all of these?
Unfortunately, garden yields can never be predicted.
Your soil quality, the weather that year and factors like watering, sowing depth, pests and disease etc. all play a factor.
The Hardest Crops to Grow
Now let’s take a look at some of the hardest crops to grow.
These are crops that can be challenging to grow, often because they need perfect temperatures or the right soil nutrients. If you love the taste of these crops you might be stubborn or be willing to put in the time to baby these crops to get harvests (I know I am!). It also might take playing around with varieties for a couple of seasons. Mastering succession sowing is one of the best ways to get the right timing for some of these crops.
- Broccoli– this crop can often be hard to get large broccoli heads from. Sometimes it helps to grow a hybrid if you’re in a warm climate, use light-weight row covers to block out some light and make sure the soil is rich and the plants are fertilized frequently during the heading period.
- Cool season crops in hot springs– This isn’t a crop so much as a crop category. Asian crops like pac choi, daikon and mustards, as well as radishes, spinach, arugula can all bolt in the spring (try & flower and go to seed) during those hot springs. Here are some tips to prevent bolting if it’s a consistent problem in your area.
- Eggplant– Many of the fruiting crops require more time and heat in the garden, as well as balance of the right soil nutrients. For whatever reason, eggplant can be harder to grow than peppers and tomatoes.
- Cauliflower– just like broccoli, this crop can be hard to get a large enough head before the heat sets in. Rich soil and playing around with the right varieties and timing helps. It took me 3 stubborn years of trying before I got the hang of growing cauliflower!
- Onions- Onions grown from seed tend to have larger bulbs than the ones from onion sets. However growing from seed takes A LOT of time (12 weeks before transplanting) and onions require rich soil. You need to stop watering them towards the end of the season once the tops flop over too. A tricky crop to grow! For example, Welsh onions, take about 65 days from seed to harvest.
- Watermelons/Melons- Another challenging fruiting crop. If you have a short season then make sure you grow varieties that are less than 90 days and add a hoop tunnel to increase the heat and create a greenhouse effect.
Want to learn more about garden planning?
My gardening eBook ‘Planning and Designing the Family Food Garden’ can help you plan a great gardening season.