10 Easy Plants to Grow

Try these low-maintenance plants and fast-growing seeds and don’t let Mother Nature stop you from harvesting this year.

| March/April 2012

  • Chives
    Chives are easy plants to grow, and they beautifully dominate this garden.
    Robert Cushman Hayes-hayesphoto.com
  • Green Beans
    Green Beans await harvest.
    iStockphoto.com/Hilary Brodey
  • Dandelion Greens
    Dandelion greens are great in salads or sautéed as a side dish.
    iStockphoto.com/Emiko Taki
  • Purple Garlic
    Purple garlic on sale at a farmers’ market.
  • Mustard Greens
    Fresh mustard greens, like this Southern Curled variety, are best when planted early and harvested before summer’s heat.
    Jerry Pavia
  • Mint
    A gardener picks mint from a container.
    Bruce Block, Mint, KKGas
  • Potatoes
    Baked, boiled or fried, freshly harvested potatoes make a meal great.

  • Chives
  • Green Beans
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Purple Garlic
  • Mustard Greens
  • Mint
  • Potatoes

Not everyone is blessed with a green thumb. Many gardeners are looking for low-maintenance crops after watching past efforts fizzle. And even the best gardeners suffer off years, scrambling for quick-growing crops to replant after poor weather or critter mishaps.

Don’t throw in the trowel! Here are 10 easy plants to grow that are also quick-performers. I selected these low-maintenance plants after years of neglectful gardening. While there’s no guarantee in the growing world, these crops are a good bet to succeed under your care, or in spite of it. In no particular order:


You needn’t worry about growing mint, just containing it. This hardy herb likes to spread, and it’ll take over your garden as soon as you turn your back. It’s smart to plant mint in its own corner of the garden or in containers.

Buy mint as a seedling and plant in early spring. Mint prefers partial shade and rich soil, but don’t let that worry you. Plunk it into poor soil and direct sunlight, and it still will take over the neighborhood. Just plant mint seedlings 12 inches apart and water until established.

Mint is handy for iced tea and homemade ice cream. Many people also use mint oil to ward off deer and mice.


Whatever you do, don’t fertilize nasturtiums. These edible flowers put out their best blooms in nutrient-poor soil. The blooms do look better if you remember to water them. Otherwise, plant them and forget them.



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