When it comes to vegetables, it’s hard to deny that fresher is best. Even if your local grocery store claims to offer fresh and organic vegetables, you can always do better by growing your vegetables. Learn about various types of vegetables to start growing at home now.
Growing vegetables in your garden is a rewarding experience, especially when it’s time to bring your harvest to the table. With so many vegetables available, there is something for everyone.
Thinking vegetables are difficult to grow or that you don’t know how to care for them are common reasons many never give growing veggies a try. While some vegetables may be easier to grow than others based on their weather and soil requirements, with the right help and patience, bringing your vegetables from the garden to the table is easy.
Varieties of Vegetables to Grow at Home
Although there are many different types of vegetables, determining which vegetables to include in your garden may come down to your growing zone and available space. On top of personal preference, having the right amount of space for vegetables to grow in the right weather is essential for your crops to reach maturity.
Allium is a flowering plant genus that includes many economically essential crops. These plants produce chemical compounds that give them their signature onion or garlic taste.
Many plants in the Allium family are straightforward to grow after starting them in the spring once the ground thaws. When starting from seeds, plant onions, shallots, and leeks indoors a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Start planting rooted chive clumps around the same time outdoors to harvest in summer.
Plants belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family are often known as gourd plants and they are ideal vegetables to plant in spring after the soil and weather has warmed. The most common types of vegetables in this family include zucchini or courgettes, pumpkins, squash, and types of melons. These plants are native to temperate areas where the heat helps plants reach their desired flavor.
Vegetables in this family are nutritious and make perfect substitutes for foods like spaghetti noodles. Cucumbers are a healthy snack food low in carbohydrates, and zucchini taste great when baked into bread.
We categorize plants in this family by their growth pattern, with squash plants divided by bush and vining types. It’s common for cucurbit plants to grow long vines, so choosing a small bush-type squash plant may ideal if you are low on space, especially if you are looking for the best raised bed vegetables and plants.
Leafy Green Vegetable Types
We’re familiar with the health benefits of eating leafy greens; the darker the greens, the more nutritious they are. Many leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, collards, and kale are high in beta-carotene, magnesium, and calcium. One cup of raw kale also provides 89% of the daily value of vitamin C.
Leafy greens are excellent to grow in the garden, especially in cooler growing zones, as many of these plants don’t tolerate extreme heat. They are veggies to plant in the fall as plants like Swiss chard even benefit from a light freeze as the temperature causes the water inside the plant to freeze, making it sweeter when it comes time to harvest.
When it comes to unique vegetable types, tubers are among the most interesting due to their ability to regrow from their yields. Tubers are plant structures that contain nutrients for plants. With these nutrients stored inside the tuber, these plants regrow after sprouting new roots and overwinter in the soil.
Many products labeled as yams in North American grocery stores are actually sweet potatoes. Despite the misconception, yams are still delicious with an earthy neutral flavor. Cook yams like potatoes or cut yams up to make an alternative to French fries.
There are many tasty different types of root vegetables to include in the garden. Parsnips are root vegetables closely related to carrots that grow a long taproot. This taproot is the part of the plant we eat that develops a sweeter flavor after experiencing a light freeze. Parsnips are high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and are used similarly to carrots.
Beetroots are the taproot of beet plants, high in folate and manganese. Beets are versatile in the kitchen, often used to create vegan burger patties, and beetroot juice effectively reduces blood pressure.
Legumes are plants in the bean family that are grown for many uses. Some legumes are used as food for livestock, while others are essential in agriculture and human consumption. Varieties of vegetables in the bean family include green beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts.
Legumes are excellent additions to any vegetable garden because they are high in protein and fiber. Bean plants in the garden pump nitrogen into the soil, making beans a perfect companion plant for other crops in your garden.
Brassica and Cruciferous Crops
Brassica crops belong to the cabbage and mustard family of plants. Within this genus, these plants are sometimes called cruciferous vegetables or cabbages. The genus includes numerous weeds and many agriculturally essential plants.
The Brassica genus is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and the temperate parts of Asia. Many plants in this family are known and disliked for their bitter flavor, like Brussels sprouts; this taste comes from a compound in the plant that reacts differently to people’s taste buds.
Brassica vegetables are highly nutritious and provide high amounts of vitamins C and K and fiber. Brassica vegetables like bok choy and cabbage are staples in Asian cuisine, with cabbage popular in Korea to make kimchi.
When looking for varieties of vegetables to grow, nightshade crops, also known as Solanaceae, are a family full of flowering plants. Some species are shrub plants, others are perennial herbs, and many are edible crops like tomatoes, aubergines, and bell peppers. Planting vegetables indoors like these is easy as long as you monitor their growing conditions.
The nightshade family of crops is unique due to the presence of solanine, a toxic compound found in various nightshade plant leaves, fruit, and tubers that may result in abdominal pain and vomiting if consumed.
These plants also contain small amounts of nicotine, far less than tobacco, but enough to be harmful to insects, so some tomatoes are resistant to pests.
Other Types of Vegetables to Grow at Home
Outside of the most common plant families, there are tons of exciting vegetables to try growing. The vegetables you decide to grow depends on your garden’s growing zone and space requirements.
If you live in a growing zone with warm weather that experiences droughts often, okra could be the perfect plant for your vegetable garden. Start okra seeds indoors before planting outdoors at the start of the warm season, around June, depending on where you live.
For a plant that continues to grow year after year without worrying about replanting, consider artichokes. When grown as a perennial, artichoke plants grow in the same garden spot for five years.
Artichokes are a great source of vitamin K and folic acid; we use artichoke hearts for many dishes like stuffed artichoke recipes and dips.
Tips for Growing Vegetables at Home
Although every vegetable plant is unique in what they need to reach maturity, there are general rules to abide by when starting or adding to your vegetable garden. Whether you plan on growing vegetables in your outdoor garden or want to give container gardening a try, the basics of gardening still apply.
The starting point for planting vegetables in your garden is selecting the right location. Most vegetables thrive when grown in full sun. Some plants tolerate partial shade, but too much shade could result in stunted growth and immature fruit.
When growing taller plants like corn, tomatoes, and pole beans, plant their seeds on the north or west side of your garden to avoid casting shade on smaller ground cover plants.
After selecting a suitable location, your soil is the next major factor in plant health and development. Vegetables enjoy well-draining soil amended with organic matter or compost.
Plants require at least an inch of water a week, but the amount of water needed varies. If you live in a rainy portion of the country, you could find yourself watering less frequently.
Some plants like okra are drought-resistant and won’t suffer from a lack of water when the weather gets drier. Layer mulch around the bottom of your plants to help with water retention and keep weeds from sprouting.
If you’re growing vegetables outside, finding pests feeding on your crops is inevitable. However, if you can grow in October, most of the bad bugs are on their way out at that time.
To avoid using harsh chemicals in your garden, resolve pest issues through natural methods. Although they may not seem as effective as industry pest products, homemade insecticides work well to rid gardens of problem insects.
An alternative to using insecticides is to plant beneficial plants in your garden to promote the health of your plants and keep harmful insects away.
Growing vegetables isn’t difficult, and with proper knowledge of how to grow your favorite plants, you’ll have fresh produce in no time. The essential part of home gardening is patience, as not every seed you plant is guaranteed to sprout into a perfect crop every time.
We hope you learned about new types of vegetables to grow at home and share our tips on what vegetable types to grow with your fellow gardeners on Facebook and Pinterest.