Do you have suggestions on easy plants to grow for a beginning gardener?

I live in Northwestern Pa, and I live in town. I am very interested in growing some of my own foods and herbs. It can stay cold here up until May and I will be starting my plants in doors. Any suggestions on what to stay away from as a first time planter and what you believe to be easiest things to grow.

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TinasTribe

Asked by TinasTribe at 10:36 PM on Feb. 23, 2009 in Home & Garden

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Answers (8)
  • Depending on where you are at in NW PA, you are either zone 5a or 5b (I'm in SW PA, zone 5b), so when you are looking for plants, check what zones they are rated for and that will help you find plants that should do fairly well in your area (anything zone 5 should be good). Also, you're going to need to know how long your growing season is (how many days) and that will give you a good idea of what you will need to start in the house early (and how early) and what can be direct sown and still be harvested before first frost. I'd start with tomatoes, peppers, radishes, leaf lettuce, spinach, bunching onions and herbs (they'll grow pretty much anywhere). These things will do well in pots or in the ground and they don't require a lot of fussing over. If you have the room, zucchini will grow for anybody and squashes & potatoes are pretty easy too.
    mom2aspclboy

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 11:00 PM on Feb. 23, 2009

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  • I am in Erie, Pa. Brr.... lol.... Potatoes would be great for us, we eat a TON of them. I had planed on tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, and strawberries. Thanks for the information on zoning!
    TinasTribe

    Answer by TinasTribe at 11:16 PM on Feb. 23, 2009

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  • Herbs like lemon balm, peppermint, even oregano are pretty hardy and can be container grown. These can be invasive plants. I love plants that you can run your hands over and smell them!
    lifeasinoit

    Answer by lifeasinoit at 9:28 AM on Feb. 24, 2009

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  • Me too!!! I also hear that plants like that keep the pest away.
    TinasTribe

    Answer by TinasTribe at 10:05 AM on Feb. 24, 2009

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  • Sounds like a good garden to start with. When purchasing strawberries, there are two kinds, everbearing & Junebearing. Everbearing varieties are good for fresh eating throughout the season b/c they will produce a little bit of fruit constantly all season, but Junebearing varieties set their fruit all at once, so you get a big single harvest, which is better for canning. Lettuce does best in early Spring & Fall, but not so well in the Summer b/c it is too hot & the lettuce will bolt, but if you have leaf lettuce in a pot and can provide shade, then you can cut all season. Unless you get a bush variety, provide the cucumers with a trellis to climb & you'll get better fruit & more of it. Stake your tomatoes from the getgo to encourage an upward growth habit for more fruit. Certain herbs are very invasive, like all the mints, so plant in pots preferably. Companion planting with marigolds & nasturtiums can keep pests down.
    mom2aspclboy

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 10:36 AM on Feb. 24, 2009

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  • Hi new to gardening kind of but try starting lettuce indoors now or garlic they like the cool air. Get some impatience and primrose too! Crocus are adoreable!
    2mothershelpers

    Answer by 2mothershelpers at 10:45 AM on Feb. 24, 2009

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  • Patio Tomatoes or Roma Tomatoes are great for containers but make sure you get large (I mean LARGE) pots. Stakes, too. Plant marigolds with the tomatoes as they are companion plants that help each other thrive.

    Sweet bell peppers are great container plants, too. Medium pots.

    Mint should ALWAYS be in a container or sectioned off with lawn border sunk into the ground as the new growth grows along the top of the soil. Most mints can take care of themselves with basic watering but they do love shady places.

    Rosemary is hardy as it is a drought tolerant plant. My rosemary from this summer finally gave up the ghost in mid January! Both work well in medium pots. Basil -small to medium pots. Moist soil, sunlight, careful about getting the leaves wet in the sun.

    Zinnias are a great, hardy summer plant. Alyssum is great for pots and ground cover.

    I live in the Northern Panhandle of WV, so I am not too far off your zone
    Gypsy98

    Answer by Gypsy98 at 9:51 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

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  • Roma Tomatoes are my favorite, they make a wonderful sauce! Thanks for all this information!
    TinasTribe

    Answer by TinasTribe at 10:08 PM on Feb. 24, 2009

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