7 Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Birmingham Now!

Garden Bounty with tomatoes and corn
Tomatoes and corn are classic, bountiful Southern vegetable garden crops. Photo via Oak Street Garden Shop and Local Market on Facebook.

Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to plant your home garden. Whether you have a professional green thumb or tend to kill everything you’ve ever planted (that used to be me!), here is a list of some of the easiest vegetables to grow now.

1. Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas growing up a trellis
Newly sprouted sugar snap peas with a trellis. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

Perfect for snacking right off the vine or tossing into your go-to stir-fry, sugar snap peas are one of most versatile and easiest vegetables to grow in your home garden. I especially love them in my own garden because they produce rapidly, meaning I can harvest handfulls of peas every few days for most of the summer! Just be sure to plant them in the next few weeks before the nights warm up too much – baby peas thrive in cool temps.

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from seed, 2 inches apart
  • Suitable for medium-large pots and in-ground beds
  • Requires a trellis or tomato cage to support vines
  • Prefers full-sun and part-shade
  • First harvest: approximately two months, when pea pods are plump

Find your trellis at Leaf & Petal in Mountain Brook, AL

2. Summer Squash

Summer Squash Seedling
Yellow Crookneck Squash seedling. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

Ideal for newbie gardeners, summer squash varieties like zucchini and yellow crook necks grow fast and wild with little attention. Even a single squash plant will leave the average household overflowing with more produce than they’ll know what to do with (cue the “Help! I’m drowning in zucchini!” Google searches), so be cautious if you aren’t a fan of squash casserole and zucchini bread. Bonus: harvest the squash blossoms for salads and tempura-fried appetizers!

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from established seedlings
  • Needs the space of an in-ground bed
  • Prefers full-sun
  • First harvest: approximately two months, when 6-8 inches long

Find your summer squash seedlings at Collier’s Nursery in Birmingham, AL

3. Cucumbers

Cucumber Seedling
Burpless Cucumber seedling. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

Much like their summer squash cousins, cucumbers are fast, furious, and easty-to-grow vegetables with bountiful harvests perfect for warm weather favorites like cucumber salad, Vietnamese summer rolls, and gin gimlets. And if you aren’t a big cucumber fan (like me) you can try your hand at pickling!

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from established seedlings
  • Suitable for medium-large pots or in-ground beds depending on the variety
  • Prefers full-sun
  • First harvest: approximately six weeks, when 6-8 inches long for slicing, 2-4 inches for pickling

Find your cucumber seedlings at Oak Street Garden Shop and Local Market in Mountain Brook, AL

4. Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes
A handful of last summer’s cherry tomato harvest. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

Technically, this is the time of year to plant any and all varieties of tomatoes, but I find cherry tomatoes to be the most versatile (Chop them for salads! Roast them for pasta sauce! Pop them like candy straight from the vine!) and the most plentiful (more tomatoes on each plant, produces fruit for two to three months, plus, they have a chance to ripen before those pesky squirrels can steal them all). Whatever variety you choose, tomatoes are a summer garden staple that love the hot-hot-hot heat of the South.

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from established seedlings
  • Best suited for medium-large pots
  • Requires tomato cages to support the vines
  • Prefers full-sun
  • First harvest: approximately six weeks to two months, when fully red in color

Find your tomato cages at Andy’s Creekside Nursery in Vestavia, AL

5. Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers
California Wonder Bell Pepper seedling. Photo by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

You may not realize this, but green, orange, and red bell peppers are all the exact same plant – just picked at different stages of maturity! Pick your peppers when they’re green for pizza toppings, orange for fajitas, red for romesco sauce, and so many other yummy uses.

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from established seedlings
  • Suitable for small-medium pots and in-ground beds
  • Prefers full-sun and part-shade
  • First harvest: approximately two months, depending on preferred size and color

Find your bell pepper seedlings at SHOPPE in Birmingham, AL

6. Okra

Okra Seedling
Clemson Spineless Okra seedling. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

A staple Alabama crop, okra is a hearty and easy-to-grow vegetable with a heritage worth an honored spot in your home garden. Keep in mind, they are slow-growing and don’t produce a ton of pick-able pods per plant, so if you’re imaging a heaping plate of fried okra on your 4th of July table you’ll need to grow several bushes or supplement from the store (don’t worry, I won’t tell!).

Growing Facts:

  • Best planted from established seedlings
  • Needs the space of an in-ground bed
  • Prefers full-sun
  • First harvest: approximately two months, when 2-3 inches long

Find your okra seedlings at Hanna’s Garden Shop in Birmingham, AL

7. Herbs

Pot of Herbs
Herb pots let you plant multiple herb varieties together to save space. Photo taken by Bham Now Content Producer Caroline Barr.

If you are especially tight on space but love the idea of growing your own food, you can’t go wrong with growing herbs. A good rule of thumb is to plant the herbs you enjoy cooking with and eating the most so they are always at hand (a.k.a don’t do what I did a couple years ago and plant an entire pot-full of sage when I had never cooked with sage in my entire life. What was I thinking??) Tip: purchase a specialty herb pot (pictured above) to plant multiple types of herbs in one safe-saving pot.

Growing Facts:

  • Best to plant a mix of seeds and established plants
  • Best suited for small-medium pots – especially an herb pot!
  • Prefers full-sun and part-shade
  • First harvest: immediately from established plants, three to four weeks from seed

Find your specialty herb pot at Sweet Peas Garden Shop in Homewood, AL

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