The Q&A Archives: Plants for a Beginner's Vegetable Garden

Question: We are starting a vegetable garden for the first time this year. We don't have much of a yard and therefore are building a raised bed on the side of a steep bank. I'm not sure about the size. My question is what to get for seed and or plants. I was thinking of just starting with lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, and maybe scallions. My son wants to grow peas or beans. Are any of these hard to grow? What should I get? Thanks a lot. Melissa Peters Bennington, VT

Answer: No, none of what you mentioned are hard to grow, including the peas and beans that your son wants to grow. If space is a limiting factor, I would grow pole beans. They can be grown on a teepee made from 3 long (at least 8' tall) poles sunk in the ground about 3-4' apart in a triangle shape and lashed together at the top. (Kids like the hiding place formed when the beans are full grown.) Peas and cucumbers can be grown on a fence. Carrots, radishes, and zucchini or yellow squash are other good, easy things to try. I would grow everything directly from seed except the tomatoes. You can purchase tomato seedlings at your local garden center. Be sure to plant the tallest plants at the back of the garden (the north side) so they don't shade the plants in front. (I am assuming that this site gets full sun.) Add some well rotted manure and/or compost to the soil before planting and keep after the weeds.

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