Spring gardening season is right around the corner, and y’all, I cannot wait. We get to build a whole new garden setup at our new house. I’ve been planning our 2023 garden pretty much since last year’s wrapped up. To kick off a new year of gardening content, let’s talk about some easy plants for beginner gardeners.
If this is your first year gardening, congratulations and welcome to garden life! Before you get too far in this post, check out my tips for beginner gardeners.
Every year it feels like more and more people tell me they want to start gardens, and I get so excited when I hear that. I love geeking out about plants and sharing my knowledge and tips with new gardeners.
We’re going into year four of our garden, and we’re adding a lot to it this year. Over the last three years, we’ve experimented with a lot of different vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other plants. We’ve found what we like to grow, what’s easy to grow, and what we’ll never grow again.
Here are 10 of the best plants for beginner gardeners!
Tomatoes: Hear me out. While tomatoes can be finicky, they really are a staple in our garden and you learn a lot from growing tomatoes. I really think everyone should learn to grow tomatoes. We’re trying some new varieties this year (ordered from Baker Creek Seeds), but our “old reliables” are sun golds (or sun sugars), purple cherokee, and better boy. I’ll probably write a whole post on how to grow tomatoes later this spring.
Cucumbers: These do better before the heat of summer sets in, or once it’s cooled down. But they’re pretty low maintenance otherwise. The more you harvest, the more they’ll produce over the season. They grow in vines, so make sure you have support for them, like cages or a trellis system. Homegrown cucumbers are perfect for homemade pickles!
Jalapeño peppers: We’ve tried to grow several varieties of peppers with mixed results, but jalapeños and chilies have done the best for us. Peppers require some pruning early on, but if you top them early, they’ll bush out and produce a ton.
Thai chili peppers: Our Thai chili plants last year went absolutely nuts! Again, pretty low maintenance, and prolific producers. If you like more spice, go for chili peppers. We dehydrated most of ours and made our own chili powder.
Basil: If you’re going to grow tomatoes or peppers, plant basil with them. Basil is one of the best companion plants for a lot of vegetables, especially tomatoes and peppers. If you end up with a surplus of basil, make some pesto with it!
Chives: I somehow ended up with two chives plants last year, and it was entirely too much. I thought my plant from the previous year hadn’t survived the winter, so I bought a new one. Then the old one came back and I had more chives than I knew what to do with. If you let them go long enough, you’ll get these cute little pinkish-purple pom-pom blossoms, which can be infused into oils or vinegars.
Lettuce: If you live in a cooler climate, or have a temperature-controlled growing area, lettuce is a great option for you. It does well under the shade of larger plants, like tomatoes and peppers. Again, the more you harvest, the more it’ll keep producing.
Mint: I will always tell beginner gardeners to start with mint. It’s nearly impossible to kill and grows super thick and fast. Mint is a fantastic bug and pest repellent, and it’s one of the best medicinal herbs. I dried a ton of mint a couple years ago and use it in tea. And of course fresh mint makes a perfect mint julep cocktail.
Rosemary: This is another herb that’s hard to kill. It’s super hardy and pretty drought tolerant, and does well in the ground or containers. I love using rosemary in cooking and cocktails. If you do a lot of grilling, clip a few sprigs of rosemary and place them in a low-heat spot on your grill. The aromas will help ward off bees, flies, and wasps while you’re grilling!
Zinnias: Every garden needs some flowers to attract pollinators and provide color! Zinnias are widely available either by seed or small starter plant. They come in a variety of colors and grow well in full sun and well-draining soil. Just sprinkle some seeds in your desired growing area once spring arrives and watch them grow all summer long.
If you’re starting a garden this year, I hope it’s productive and fruitful for you! Try growing some of these plants for beginner gardeners and let me know how it goes! And of course, stay tuned for more garden content from me as the year goes on.