Plan out your garden this year with some easy garden seed varieties. These seeds can lead to a productive garden to feed your family.
I love garden planning. However, unlike some people, I take a more laid back approach to planning out my garden. I tend to pick some varieties that I trust and some that I want to try. For example, last year, I explored a little bit with starting onions from seed. It really worked out, and this year I plan to expand on that. But at the same time, I learned a few lessons that will guide this years garden. My opinion? Don’t make this too difficult. Grow vegetables that you actually plan to eat. Plant something that will make you happy. Don’t make the whole process too difficult. Take care of your plants and reap the harvest’s bounty!
I’ve pretty much purchased all the seeds I’m planning on having for this coming season. So here’s a glimpse into easy garden seed varieties and what my garden will hopefully look like.
I love tomatoes. So much. I love making all the home canned tomato products as well. And because of that, the varieties that I tend to plant are those that I can use in my canning. I use beefsteak varieties for my tomato soup because they contain more liquid. And I use paste varieties for pretty much everything else – tomato sauce, paste, salsa, etc. I went a little crazy last year with varieties that I were just so different so this year I’m going back to the basics!
- Granny Cantrell German Pink – beefsteak/slicer
- Rose Tomato
- San Marzano Lungo #2 – paste
- Hungarian Heart
I use onions in my cooking all the time. They’re good for your immune system and just add great flavor. I grew my own from seed last year and, while you have to start them inside pretty early, they ended up doing so well. I’m hoping to plant a ton of onions this year for storage and other purposes. The varieties I’m planning on planting have good storage qualities.
- Ruby Red Long Day Onion
- Yellow of Parma
- Utah Yellow Sweet Spanish
Traditionally, I just tend to plant green beans that I use for canning. Last year, I planted a couple of varieties but the same one just keeps stealing my heart. The Calima is just such an easy one to pick and can. The beans all have a nice shape and snap easily. They’re good for fresh eating too. It does take a bit longer to produce, but I think it might be worth it. The Contender is also a nice and productive variety, but I feel that the beans become a little woody too easily if you don’t have a strict schedule of picking them.
I tried some dry beans last year as well, but because they were bush varieties that were overcome by my exploding tomato plants, I ended up not getting any harvest. This year, I’m hoping to plant some pole dry bean varieties. Hopefully it all works out… crossing my fingers
- 1500 Year Old Cave Bean
- Cherokee Trail of Tears
- Hidatsa Red Indian
Whether or not you like beets depends a lot on if you have the acquired taste. Plus, some definitely taste better than others. Personally, I like the Cylindra Beets picked before they get too large. I think they have a sweeter root vegetable taste and because they’re long and skinny, they’re easy to process and preserve.
So many squash are such easy garden seed varieties to plant. If you live in an area with squash bug problems, beware… they may be more difficult to actually get a harvest from. But if you live in an area that doesn’t get squash bugs, you can direct seed your squash, water regularly, and harvest! Talk about easy. My favorites are the following.
- Table Queen Acorn
- Winter Meat
- New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin
I haven’t planted melons for a very long time but this year I’m giving it a go again. Just like squash, you can pretty much direct seed, water, and harvest. Some easy no-brainers can be watermelon and musk melon. Some people say that melons like a little sandier soil. I have not necessary experience that one soil type is better than another.
This year I’m venturing out a bit and planting a new-to-me variety called Delice de la table Melon. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Lord almighty… I love planting peppers. We love spicier foods that lean towards the Mexican cuisine – tacos, enchiladas, etc. And I love harvesting and dehydrating peppers into a powder that I can throw in these dishes. Here are my favorite pepper varieties.
- Tam Jalapeno
Herbs are can be such worthwhile plants to grow. For example, I plant 3-4 Basil plants each year and they provide me with more than enough basil to dry to use in my cooking all year long. In addition, if you’re really into pesto, you could make and freeze pesto to use throughout the year. So, so handy! I also love growing chamomile because I love having a cup of chamomile tea before bed, so why not grow it?! Some herbs are harder to start than others, but I have had good luck with these varieties below.
- Genovese Basil
- German Chamomile
Being from South Dakota, I feel like loving corn is just part of who I am. My family has always planted a pretty big sweet corn patch and we freeze a lot of it in bags. Because of this, I tend to not actually plant any sweet corn in my garden. This year, I’m planting popcorn instead. We love popcorn as an easy wholesome snack.
Something to keep in mind is that corn can be a little particular in that it does best in groups. If you plant a single row, it’s more likely to snap off in the wind. Whereas if you grow multiple rows together, pollination should be better and it should stand better as well.
I’m planning on growing a variety of popcorn, but I haven’t decided which one yet… I’ll update this post when I figure that out! I still have some time before those seeds have to go in the ground.
I know that potatoes don’t actually start from seed because they’re a tuber plant type, but I had to include them! We go through so many potatoes. They’re easy to throw in crock pot meals and we’re also a huge fan of garlic mashed potatoes. Yum!
I only tend to plant one variety and that’s a yellow potato. They store well which is primarily why I plant them. I just pick these up at a local small town store that sells garden things but you can usually pick them up at any garden center. If you have left over still at planting time, they might have started developing potatoes “eyes”. If so, you can easily just use these left over potatoes as seed potatoes. Boom! No need to purchase anything, you already have it!
Many of the seeds I purchase each year are heirloom varieties and open-pollinated varieties. I do this because then I always have the option to save my own seeds back each year. I think this is not only a security that I should always be able to plant a garden, but also a good way to cut my seed buying bill. It also helps the varieties I continue to save become more adapted to my environment and therefore thrive year after year.
Where to Purchase Seeds
I purchase most of my seeds from websites that have mostly heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. These included Baker Creek at rareseeds.com, MIgardener at migardener.com, and Seed Savers Exchange at seedsavers.org. I think all of these sources are reputable and have quality seeds.