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  • Writer's pictureLynda Bevere


Have you ever stood in front of the seed rack at your local plant nursery and feeling overwhelmed decide to instead head over to the plant section? The number of seeds on the rack itself is enough to make you want to run for the hills. Then to figure out how and when to plant the seeds can make your head want to explode. I get it. However, don't give up because there are some easy vegetables that you can plant directly into your garden. My suggestions is to start small by trying one of the following 4 easy to grow and delicious vegetables which I never fail to include in my garden.

1. Lettuce

I am always amazed about how easy it is to grow lettuce. The most important thing to remember is that it is a cool season crop and thus must be planted in the spring. Here in New Jersey (zone 6), I plant my seeds directly into the garden mid to late March when the soil can be worked. You can plant new seeds weekly for a continuous harvest through the end of June and then start planting seeds again late August for a fall crop. Be sure to harvest your lettuce frequently because as it gets bigger and eventually flowers in the heat, the lettuce will be very bitter and inedible.

2. Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas, although not a very popular grocery store vegetable, are absolutely delicious off the vine and super easy to grow. Like lettuce, snap peas are a cold season crop and can be directly sowed in the garden in the middle of March through the the end of May for a continuous harvest until the end of June. It is a vine, so be sure to plant the seeds under a trellis for support.

3. String Beans

String beans grow in two different ways - bush and pole. Bush beans grow, as the name suggested, in a shrub shape and thus do not require support while pole beans grow very tall and require some form of cage to grow on. String beans are a warm season crop and thus should not be planted until after the last frost day around April 15 here in zone 6. Personally, I usually grow pole beans (call me lazy - I just like having a crop that I do not need to bend over to harvest) and with just a dozen or so seeds, planted weekly through the end of May, I am harvesting string beans all summer long.

4. Cucumbers

There are two basic kinds of cucumbers - fresh eating and pickling - so just be aware of this when choosing your seeds. Cucumbers, like string beans, are a warm season crop and need to be sowed after the last frost date around the middle of April here in zone 6. Cucumbers grow on a vine and I recommend if you are up for the investment to purchase a cucumber trellis for them to grow on. It keeps the cucumbers off the ground and helps them to grow straighter. I recommend after planting seeds in the middle of April, you seed a second set around the end of June and you should have cucumbers all summer and into the fall.

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