What Should I Plant in My First Garden? – A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

I get a decent amount of questions about gardening. Unfortunately, I do not have time to answer everyone’s emails individually. I got to thinking about this. One of the reasons I blog is because I want to be helpful. So over the next few weeks, I’m going to run a series called A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening where I will answer some of the common questions about gardening I receive in my email box.

Speaking of which, if you happen to have any suggestions or questions you would like me to cover, shoot me an email through the contact page. It doesn’t have to be about gardening either.

What Should I Plant in My First Garden? (A Beginner's Guide to Gardening) from Vicki-Arnold.com

What Should I Plant in My First Garden?

My advice for this is to start with what you eat. Trying new things will come when you have some experience under your belt. You do not want to spend your whole summer growing new things only to discover you don’t like any of them. Totally a bummer. Totally avoidable.

For Italian food fans:

  • tomatoes for sauce
  • basil, thyme, and oregano to season your sauce
  • onions and garlic to kick things up

For Mexican food fans:

  • tomatoes and onions for salsa
  • jalapenos for heating up your salsa
  • tomatillos to make salsa verde

For Chinese food fans:

  • bok choi and napa cabbage grow well in cooler temperatures
  • snow peas grow on pretty vines

Basically, look at the food you eat regularly and then find out if you can grow what’s in it.

Limited Space with Lots of Options?

There are two ways you could look at this. You could grow what you eat the most of or you can grow what will make the most impact to your grocery budget.

Eat a lot of salads? Try these:

  • lettuces have shallow roots and grow well in containers
  • sprouts can be sprouted on your countertop
  • carrots and radishes grow quickly and easily if you have a space you can cultivate 6-8 inches deep

Want to save as much money on your groceries as you can? These are relatively easy to grow, but tend to cost more at the grocery store:

  • bell peppers cost almost $2 each at the store, but you can buy a plant for less than $3 (and they grow more than two peppers)
  • strawberries and blueberries
  • leeks (and they have beautiful flowers)

What About Long Term?

If you are looking to stick with this gardening bit, and that would be a great idea for your health. Then there are some things you can do this year that will bear fruit (literally) in future years.

  • plant some fruit or nut trees, many of these come in dwarf varieties now
  • plant asparagus, it takes 2-3 years to be able to harvest
  • grape vines
  • consider herb gardening, most herbs are perennials so you don’t plant them each year

Further Reading

Linking up to Good Tips Tuesday, Share Your Stuff Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, The Mommy Club, Mom’s Library, and Welcome Party Wednesday.

Clip art created by Collective Creation

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  1. This is fabulous and so helpful! We’ve done a small garden in the past but this year we’re really expanding. I’m pinning this for reference! Thanks so much!

    • We seem to always be expanding our garden. With one exception a few years ago when we went too big too soon and scaled back the next year. I secretly hope to expand back to that point because it meant less lawn to cut and much more planting space (double what we have now). Thank you for pinning the post!

  2. Great tips for the beginning gardener! We have had produce the past two years; my toddler has LOVED helping and watching the food grow.

  3. (oh and I had to pin this, love the graphic πŸ˜‰ )

  4. Thanks for your beginners guide – gives us a good idea of what plants to think about. πŸ™‚

  5. This is great, Vicki! I’ll be checking back for sure throughout the series! I have a great area to do gardening, but it needs lots of prep work first… and well, I need lots of tips! Thank you for sharing on Makeovers & Motherhood’s Welcome Party Wednesday Link-Up! I am featuring this this week!

    • Thank you so much for the feature! I hope the series is a help for you. πŸ™‚ It’s kind of a mission of mine to encourage others to grow some of their own food. It’s such a great experience for so many reasons (and I’ll cover that in one of these posts, too!).


  1. […] Choose some easy plants to get started. […]