Starting your own plants from seed is easy. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past, give these 17 seeds a try this year. Growing your own garden from seeds can be cheaper than buying seedlings from a garden center and cheaper than buying produce from the supermarket.
8 easy edibles to start with seeds
beans: Pole beans or bush beans? It doesn’t matter because beans are possibly the easiest seeds to start in your garden.
chard: A nutritious leafy green that every first-time gardener should grow. Chard stalks come in all colors of the rainbow, but the part we usually eat is the leaf (right).
cucumbers: Easy to start directly into the ground outdoors when the ground temperature warms up.
Radish: A great crop to plant early in spring when temperatures can be too cold for anything else.
carrots: Another easy to grow root crop for the novice gardener. Try some of the colorful heirloom varieties for picky eaters and shorter varieties like Round Romeo to replace packaged baby carrots from the supermarket.
lettuce: Lettuce is easy to grow, but growing lettuce that you can harvest in the lettuce leaf stage is easiest for beginners.
To squeeze: Like cucumbers, pumpkin seeds are easy to sow directly into the ground.
Basil: Possibly the easiest herb to start in your garden. There is a wide range of varieties with interesting scents if growing basil for pesto is not your thing.
Growing just a few of these seeds will increase your confidence in your ability to nurture and grow your own food. When you grow your own plants from seed, you know exactly what went into making your food and you can be assured that no harmful chemicals were used to grow what you put on your plate.
9 easy annuals to start from seed
Flowers not only beautify your neighborhood and your home. A successful garden needs pollinators, and the flowers you plant in your garden should be considered your garden’s welcome mat. Attract the pollinators your vegetables and herbs rely on for pollination by planting these easy-to-grow flower seeds.
Cosmos: Airy foliage with daisy-like flowers in shades of white, orange, pink, magenta and yellow. A great annual for gardens with poor soil and for those wanting a low maintenance plant.
Sunflowers: Possibly the easiest annual to start in your garden. Sunflowers don’t like to be transplanted, so plant the seed directly into the soil where you want them to grow.
Poppy: Annual poppies are easy to grow from seed. Sow them directly into a garden bed with poor soil during cool, rainy weather to germinate the seeds.
Zinnias: This hardy annual plant comes in a variety of colors and heights. They tolerate dry and hot conditions. Push back the buds to produce bushier plants.
Bachelor Buttons: Charming white, pink, blue and lavender flowers that do well in poor soil and dry gardens.
Marigolds: A classic, easy to grow plant that should not be missing in any garden. They come in colors and heights beyond your grandmother’s yellow blooms.
Cleomas: A great cottage garden plant with an interesting flower shape that resembles some spiders (right).
pole beans: Attractive blooms on fast growing vines that provide privacy and shade. Interesting late season seed pods that are easy to collect.
Nasturtium: Flowers come in different colors. The foliage can be green to blue and variegated. The leaves, flowers and seeds of the plant are all edible.
Aside from attracting pollinators, the biggest benefit of growing your own buds is that you have a vibrant flower shop right outside your door. Cut your own bouquets throughout the season and gift some to friends and family instead of buying expensive flowers that have been grown in other countries and shipped around the world.
Ramon is the original urban gardening blogger who embraces a DIY philosophy of gardening and gardening projects. Better known online as MrBrownThumb, he’s been demystifying gardening secrets for the average gardener online since 2005. In addition to writing the popular gardening blog MrBrownThumb, he is the co-founder of @SeedChat on Twitter, creative director of One Seed Chicago and founder of the Chicago Seed Library.