Chapter 4 : Deciding What to Grow

Once you have gotten everything together that you will need to create and maintain your organic vegetable garden you now need something to plant in it.  For many choosing what vegetables to grow is the fun part since you get to imagine what sort of vegetables you will see shooting up from your new garden.  There are many organic vegetable seeds available for sale from retailers both online and offline.  In fact, there are so many seeds to choose from that some people find themselves completely overwhelmed by their options.

If you are someone that has never grown vegetables before then it is important that you stick to vegetables that are easy to grow.  Even though they might be vegetables that you have not usually eaten before or never thought about growing you might be surprised by the results.  Quite a few organic gardeners have found that vegetables they usually hated when purchased canned or frozen tasted delicious when harvested from their own backyard.  The following are a few vegetables that are easy to go organically and often a delicious treat.


Tomatoes are a popular vegetable to grow at home because they can grow well in all climates.  There are many different varieties of tomatoes available many of which do not require any stakes or fences to grow against.  Cherry tomatoes are especially popular because they are usually expensive in stores but are great in salads and served as appetizers in many recipes. 

When growing organic tomatoes it is important that they get enough water and sunlight.  In order to get the best results and the largest harvest possible you must be sure to pick your tomatoes as soon as they ripen.

Chilies & Peppers

Peppers are a great organic vegetable to grow if you are working with a small amount of space or growing vegetables in pots or containers.  They will grow well and will grow almost all year round if the conditions are right.  Peppers do not have to be harvested as soon as they appear ripe.  This means that you can wait and pick your peppers as you need them.

When you do want to harvest all your peppers storage is very easy.  They can be dried by placing them in a dark, dry, place with lots of air (an attic) for a few weeks.  If you do not have a good place to dry peppers and chilies, they will often keep if stored in a tight glass jar.


Zucchini and most squash/pumpkins are great for first time organic gardeners.  They are easy to plant and grow very quickly which means you do not have to wait a long time to actually start seeing results.  Many people feel as if their zucchinis grow literally overnight. 

When growing Zucchini and other squash it is important that you or your family members pick them right away.  This will help encourage new plants to grow and will leave you with a large harvest.  However, if you are growing pumpkins then you must wait to harvest them until all of the vines have died.


Peas are a favorite vegetable for many children so growing organic peas is a great idea if you are growing food for a family.  Peas are another vegetable that will grow in extremely large amounts and will grow from spring, through summer, and even into winter.  In some climates peas will grow nearly all year round making them a great source of fresh, organic, food. 

When growing peas it is important that the plants have support usually in the form of a stake or support that can be found at a plant supply store or nursery.  Peas must be watered often and watched constantly for weeds.  Too many weeds will quickly ruin your crop of peas so weed them often and carefully.


Turnips are another vegetable that grow quickly and easily.  Both the root and the leaves can be eaten and turnips are great raw, roasted, boiled, or mashed.  When growing turnips the only thing you have to remember is to water them often since turnips need a lot of water to grow.


If you have the space for it corn is a great vegetable to plant.  Roasted or grilled corn is great addition to any meal and watching a corn crop ripen is a wonderful sight.  Plus the corn stalks can later be used as compost!

When growing corn you have got to be sure the seeds are planted at least 15 inches apart.  Make sure the seeds are well fertilized with compost when they are first planted and again in another two weeks.  You will be able to start enjoying your fresh organic corn after the first silks appear.


Beets will grow beautifully in a well fertilized area and fresh organic beets will always be much better than anything you will find in a can or even in the grocery store.  When growing beets always make sure there is enough mulch down to keep the soil warm in the cool months and cool in the summer.  Make sure you harvest all of your beets before the first frost comes.


Seed potatoes are easy to plant and even easier to grow.  Weed and hoe often for best results and it is best to plant them in larger organic gardens.  Planting potatoes with your other crops will often help discourage some insects and children love digging potatoes in the fall.


Plant your carrot seeds in early spring and once you have harvested the first crop you can always plant more.  As long as the soil is loose and deep enough you can get carrots to grow.  Fresh organic carrots are a great addition to any garden.

Green Beans

Planting green beans can help save you money if you are a parent or person that buys canned green beans often.  Green beans can be planted as soon as the cold weather breaks and there is no chance of the ground freezing or the plants frosting.  You can purchase seeds that will grow in a bush or those that will grow against a pole or stake.  For smaller gardens it is usually easier to plant pole green beans.


Lettuce is an easy must have if you are a salad eater.  There are many varieties available and lettuce should be planted before the weather gets too warm.  The hot summer weather will cause your lettuce to wilt quickly but during the cool spring your lettuce will thrive.


Radishes are another great vegetable for salad eaters and one of the first vegetables a new organic gardener should try.  They are easy to plant and can be grown all through summer and into the fall. 

Spring Onions

Spring onions are easy to plant since they only need a lot of water to grow.  They are a great garnish to any dish AND planting onions around your garden border will help discourage pests.

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