Over the past month I’ve been organizing and participating in seed swaps around Chicago and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of gardeners who are passionate about growing from seed. At the same time I’ve met a lot of people who are interested in growing from seed, but have experienced failures in seed starting that keep them from trying again.
When I first started growing plants from seed I had a lot of failures too, but it was success with the easy vegetables to grow from seed that kept me going. So, here are five easy vegetables you can grow from seed in your garden that will help you get over the seed starting jitters.
1. BeansBeans have to be the easiest to start from seed. If you could grow them in your kindergarten windowsill then you can grow them as an adult in your garden.
2. ChardThe knobby seeds of this leafy green are very easy to start. Chard stalks come in a variety of colors, but the leaves of this nutritious vegetable are always green. Get a couple of different varieties for a rainbow effect in your garden.
3. CarrotsYou may look at the papery seeds of carrots and wonder just how you’re going to have success with them, but they are, in fact, rather easy to germinate.
4. CucumbersAs a kid my grandfather would walk along the fence in the backyard eating a cucumber and spitting the seeds on the ground, which were then covered by soil using the tip of his cowboy boots. By midsummer the fence would be a green wall of cucumbers.
5. RadishesProbably the least sexy of these vegetable recommendations, but the seeds germinate in a matter of days, and are ready to harvest in just over a month. No seeds will give your seed starting ego a boost quite like radishes.
Follow the planting instructions on the seed packet for the best times and dates to start indoors or directly sow the seeds in your garden. One almost foolproof trick to seed starting is to soak larger seeds (beans, cucumbers, chard) for 24 hours prior to planting.
Once the seeds are planting make sure to keep them evenly moist. Drying out is probably the number one cause of seedling death. If you’re looking for seed companies see my post on seed companies for foodies and the 10 best seed companies recommended by TreeHugger readers.