12 Suggestions for First Gardens

Are you new to gardening? Here are my suggestions if you are planting a garden for the first time. Always use planting recommendations for your local area.

  1. Instant Gratification: Radishes. Radishes can germinate in as little as 3 or 4 days!
  2. A sense of accomplishment: Tomatoes. Tomatoes are so easy to start from seed and grow to be mighty plants full of luxurious gems of so many sizes, colors, and shapes! They can be made into sauce, salsa, juice, sun-dried tomatoes or used raw!

3. Wow factor: Beans. I love the way beans germinate, slowly showing a bent u-shaped back, then rising and standing, at last opening out large, green leaves.

4. It just keeps giving: Asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes. Back year after year after year…

5.Edible landscaping: Blueberries. If you can grow them in your area, blueberries are beautiful all year long. There are some that never lose their leaves. Leaves are red in fall, green in spring, and the blossoms are tiny white bell-shaped marvels. The berries aren’t bad either!

 6. Practicality: Lettuce, basil, green onions. Easy to grow, small space, container friendly. Why not gather your dinner salad fresh from your garden?

7. Underground wonders: Potatoes, carrots, ground cherries.

8.  Ease & reward: Peppers. Like tomatoes, pepper seed is easy to save and if it warm enough, peppers grow and produce easily. I grow almost all my peppers in pots and freeze what I can’t eat fresh, using them all year long on pizzas, in stir-fry, etc. Also, if you grow your own tomatoes, you’ll want peppers for salsa-making.

9. For the trellis or fence: Cucumbers & Scarlet Runner Beans. If you love cucumbers, go ahead and teach them to climb up! You won’t have to look as hard to find them and they’ll always be clean! I love scarlet runner beans because of the beautiful red blossoms that hummingbirds love.

10. For storage and decoration: Storage onions. I like to get a variety of onions and then braid them and hang them in my kitchen all winter, cutting off what I need as I go.

11. To attract good bugs or lure bad ones away from other plants: Dill and nasturtium. I have watched ladybugs hatch on my dill plants. The nasturtium always seem to collect aphids after a while and then I just pull them up and toss them.

12. Challenge: Anything you’re curious about! I’ve often tried things that just don’t work for my climate, or just to see if I could grow it. Have fun and try new things!

Comments and other recommendations welcome in the comments below!

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed SaversVisit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

4 comments on “12 Suggestions for First Gardens

  1. I really like this blog post! Cool idea.

  2. Haven’t grown scarlet runner beans for years, but maybe I will just for the hummers!

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Here’s a post from last year that’s still relevant. It’s especially meant for gardening first-timers. Not a “how-to,” but rather, my opinions on “what” you might want to grow. Have fun!

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