I grew up in 800 square feet of Washington, D.C. suburbia, in a condo on top of a green hill. We were lucky to have that green space, and even that young, I craved hearing the birds and being outside.
When we moved to our home in Fuquay-Varina, a suburb of Raleigh, we knew we had to at least try to garden. Coming from someone who could never keep houseplants alive, and who had never grown anything before, it was a little intimidating. We picked a spot with full sun, added compost to our soil, and worked intentionally. Our first year gave us endless tomatoes, squash and other vegetables.
If you are in the plant-killers club, no fear - here are the top vegetables I recommend beginners start with because: 1) they are easy to grow 2) you have the option of growing them in a container and 3) they can produce a ton for you to eat!
The difference in flavor of a grocery store tomato versus a homegrown or farm picked tomato is like night and day. By growing your own tomatoes, you can leave them to ripen on the vine and develop all those delicious flavors. They also do well in containers if you do not have a dedicated garden space. Try: Cherokee Purple, Better Boy, and pretty much any cherry tomato variety.
Just like tomatoes, peppers will tolerate containers if you don’t have a ton of space for planting. Peppers also freeze well, and are relatively disease and pest resistance. I’m not a brave spicy pepper person though! My favorites are sweet bell pepper varieties that can be eaten raw or cooked, and that freeze wonderfully. Try: Golden Wonder, California Wonder, banana peppers
When cucumber plants have good soil, they are prolific. A great hint from a good friend - use a tomato cage to help support the cucumber plant. It’ll encourage good airflow around the developing cukes and will make it easier to harvest. If you are growing in a container, look for a smaller bush-variety - cucumber plants can get quite large! Try: Straight Eight or Salad Bush