Aspiring first timers or fully-certified master gardeners, we’re not urban agriculture snobs here. Let’s list some quick-n-dirty vegetable and herb varieties that you can get into the ground (or a patio garden box) just in time for spring gardening season.
Radishes, love ’em or hate ’em, are the easiest and most forgiving to grow. A radish seed is large enough to manually handle and can be planted in small boxes or directly in a garden row. They enjoy coolish temps. If you notice anything munching on them, add some netting (for birds) or sprinkle with Diatomaceous Earth (for bugs). Don’t forget to eat the greens and pick a sunny spot.
Favorite varieties: cherry belle, English breakfast, Easter egg
Lettuces are also incredibly straightforward and easy to start—just add rich, loamy soil. The seeds are light and almost impossible to pick up individually, so we recommend using a wet pencil tip to collect seeds (a clever hack). Lettuces enjoy being watered and will get destroyed and inedible if frozen. So by all means, cover if temps dip under 40 degrees, weed through regularly and voila.
Kale, once established in a garden bed, is simple to grow—you’ll probably discover volunteer kale next year. Very cold-weather hardy, a small patch of kale is an easy way to feel like a successful gardener.
Favorite varieties: White or Red Russian, Thousand, Dinosaur or Lacinato.
Cilantro grows quick and bolts (or goes to seed) when hot, making it ideal for fast but temporary harvesting before the June heat sets in. Tenting over plants with a shading cloth or planting in areas that aren’t in full sun is something to consider.