Growing plants from seed is definitely an adventure. If you want your baby veggies to thrive, you’ll need a good measure of patience, attentiveness, and a whole lot of love.
If you’re attempting your first seed venture, it’s a good idea to start with the easiest vegetables to grow (of course.) Growing from seed is also surprisingly affordable: often you can find dozens of seeds for only a few dollars–and just a handful of seeds will give you veggies, veggies galore. Try out the following vegetables from seed and hopefully your journey will result in a fruitful harvest!
Kale will grow well in both the spring and fall; in fact, this member of the Brassica oleracea will do best when touched by a little frost. It takes about 55 to 65 days for kale to grow from seed to a fully matured plant. There are many types of kale to choose from, including Hanover Salad, Lacinato, Vates, and more!
Start by sowing your kale seeds in a pot inside your home–about six to 10 weeks ahead of the last spring frost, or in the late summer for a fall harvest. The more sun the better: your kale needs at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. However, too much heat will make the leaves wilt, so if you live in a hotter climate, make sure your kale has a little shade during the hottest parts of the day.
Zucchini grows so well from seed that (as many gardeners claim) it basically grows itself. You don’t even need to plant it inside first, it can grow straight from your garden!
Start out your zucchini after the last frost has already passed. Zucchini seeds should be planted at least 36 inches apart and about 2.5 inches deep into the soil. Seedlings should be mounded into little hills, with about two to three per hill. Zucchini should be well watered, with at least two inches of water a week. If all goes well, your zucchini squash will be ready to harvest in as little as 40 to 60 days!
3. Collard Greens
It’s best to plant your collard green seeds in the late summer to early autumn. If you live in the southern states, a winter harvest is ideal and up north you can harvest in the late fall. The cold weather actually helps collard greens grow and improves their flavor.
Seedlings should be thinned about six to eight inches apart and about half an inch deep in the soil. Collard greens take about 60 to 75 days to reach full maturity.
Radishes grow like magic — they can grow from seeds to maturity in as little as 21 days! You don’t have to worry about planting them indoors first and then transplanting them later, just start them off in the garden right away.
Radishes grow best when planted in cooler soil, around autumn or early spring. They also need to be planted very close to the top of the ground; in fact, it’s better to place them on top and sprinkle a little soil over them rather than trying to bury them within the ground.
There are dozens of flavorful and colorful lettuce varieties you can try out in your garden; including buttercrunch, ruby red, Vivian, red salad bowl, dwarf romaine, and many more!
It’s a good idea to start out by planting your lettuce seeds indoors and later transplant them into your garden. Once sprouted, lettuces of many varieties tend to grow quickly and do best in a cooler climate and can even handle a bit of light frost. You can harvest your lettuce as soon as mature lettuce leaves have formed.
6. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is delicious, vibrantly colorful, and full of vitamins: and it’s the perfect plant to start from seed! Swiss chard is pretty tolerant of both hot and cold temperatures, although it grows best in the spring or fall. Plant your swiss chard about two to three weeks before the last spring frost or around 40 days before the first autumn frost for best results.
Like Kale, swiss chard thrives in a very sunny environment; but remember, the more sun it gets the more water it needs. Some swiss chard varieties to try are Rainbow, Bright Lights, Lucullus, and more!
Out of all the veggies on the list, beets are actually the easiest vegetables to grow. Just sow them directly in your garden, wait six to eight weeks, and voila! You have fully grown dark red beets.
Beets like a lot of sun, so make sure to plant them in a sunnier area of your garden.
You can sow cucumber seeds in your garden outside when the soil temperature has reached at least 70°F. They grow best in a warm climate so make sure the last frost has already passed.
Cucumbers require A LOT of water — they are made of 90% water themselves! Cucumbers will taste better if you harvest them smaller rather than wait until they get too big.
Although not typically categorized as a vegetable (it’s actually in the mint family), basil is very easy to grow from seed. In fact, it can be ready to harvest in as little as three to four weeks!
Basil seedlings need a lot of sunshine, at least six to eight hours a day, and it’s best to start them off indoors for optimal warmth. Once a few leaves appear, make sure to replant your basil plants so they are at least six inches apart.
10. Butternut Squash
There are two ways to start out your butternut squash: plant them indoors in the early spring, or sow them directly in your garden in late May. They will take about 15 weeks until they are ready to harvest! An added bonus: butternut squash will stay fresh on the vine for a long time, so you can harvest them whenever you are ready to actually eat them (as long as you pick them before it gets cold.)
Don’t forget to give your butternut squash plenty of water and fertilizer to help it grow!