Growing Low Maintenance Vegetables

  • 01 of 06

    5 Low Maintenance Vegetables for Your Garden

    Runner bean
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    Starting a Vegetable Garden | Container Vegetable Gardening | Early Spring Vegetables | Fall Vegetable Gardening | Vegetable Gardening in Warm Climates | Vegetables A to Z

    Vegetable gardening requires a commitment of time and effort, but growing your own fresh vegetables doesn't have to take over your life. If you start with a few easy to grow vegetables that don't require daily care, you can be eating fresh all summer. You don't even have to have a garden. Most of these vegetables can be grown in containers and kept at hands reach.  So no excuses, you can be a vegetable gardener.

    Here are 5 Popular Vegetables that Require Little Maintenance.

    1. Beans

    Beans are one of the most prolific vegetables you can have in your garden. Pole beans, in particular, keep going from mid-summer until frost. All you need is a packet of seeds and something for them to grow on.

    Don't let the idea of a trellis put you off. You can grow pole beans along a fence or railing or up some string or twine. The only caveat for having a continual harvest of beans is that you actually have to harvest them. If you leave them on the plant, the plant will stop setting more pods. But if you are planting beans, I'm assuming you like to eat them. Eat away!

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  • 02 of 06

    Tomatoes for a Low Maintenance Garden

    Reisentraube Tomatoes
    Marie Iannotti

    2. Cherry Tomatoes

    It's easy to grow tomatoes, but more difficult to keep them healthy. Tomatoes are prone to a miscellany of fungal diseases that set in as soon as the weather heat up and becomes humid. The low maintenance choice for tomatoes would be hybrid cherry tomatoes. Hybrids generally have better disease resistance than open pollinated plants and many varieties have been bred to grow more vigorously and yield more fruits. Sounds good?

    The smaller tomatoes, cherry, grape, pear, etc. are some of the hardiest varieties. They can be grown in the garden or in containers; staked or allowed to sprawl or hang. There's no wrong way to grow cherry tomatoes. Plus you don't even need to slice them - a low maintenance bonus.

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  • 03 of 06

    Easy to Grow Garlic

    Garlic bulbs
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    3. Garlic

    It doesn't get much easier than this. Dig a hole. Plop in a garlic clove. Cover. Come back next summer. Dig. Enjoy.

    Okay, you do need to make sure your garlic gets watered and a little food, but seriously. That's it. Animals don't bother it. You don't have to stake or prune. You can even save a few bulbs from your harvest to plant again in the fall, so you don't even have to order more.

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  • 04 of 06

    Grow Leafy Greens All Season Long

    Spinach growing in vegetable garden
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    4. Leafy Greens (cooking and salad)

    I'm always at a loss for what to call this group of vegetables. They aren't all green. Some are eaten fresh, others cooked, and some can be used either way. Some, like beet greens, do double duty. All of this versatility and the only real care they need is regular water.

    Salad greens, like lettuce, arugula, mizuna and spinach, can all be grown in the garden or in containers. Harvesting just a few leaves from each plant, know as the cut and come again method, will extend your harvest for several weeks. However you'll get a much longer season if you succession plant. Some salad greens will bolt in hot weather, but lettuce, mizuna and arugula can be grown throughout the summer, especially in containers, if you provide some shade.

    The cooking greens, kale, chard, collards and the like, just keep chugging along. Harvest the outer leaves and the plants will fill right back in. And like fresh eating greens, all they require is regular water and occasional fertilizer.

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  • 05 of 06

    Grow an Abundance of Hot Peppers

    High Angle Close-Up Of Chili Plant
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    5. Hot Peppers

    Tiny hot peppers are much easier to grow than their larger sweet cousins. Each plant will set a sizable harvest. You can harvest at any stage, from green to screaming orange, so even if you forget to harvest for a month or so, your peppers will only get better. In fact, my top recommendation for growing hot peppers is to neglect them. Be stingy with the water, but generous with the heat and sunshine.

    This is another vegetable that is rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Hot peppers do well in containers, although they can get heavy when they are loaded with fruits and may need staking.

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  • 06 of 06

    Bonus Low Maintenance Edibles - Herbs

    Balcony with potted herbs
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    Herbs

    Many herb plants are ridiculously easy to grow.  The loveliest thing about growing herbs is the more you snip and eat them, the fuller they grow. Plus, the oils that give them their flavor and aroma are more concentrated if you go easy on the water. You can do that, right?

    Herbs do well in containers, but can be tricky to grow indoors because they need a lot of sunshine and a container large enough for their roots to spread out. I've had better luck indoors with perennial herbs, like rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. Tender basil, dill and cilantro are easy to start from seed or seedlings, but will require more water than hardy perennials.

    Tips for Growing:

    Basil | Bay | Chives | Cilantro | Dill | Mint | Oregano | Parsley | Rosemary | Sage | Thyme