What Vegetables Have Seeds? Vegetables that grow above ground are easy to identify, even for children. You can usually see the leaves, stems, or roots. But there are some vegetables that grow below ground or produce seeds and don’t have any easily visible signs. They might depend on your sense of smell or be no bigger than the size of a pea. Below you will find a list of vegetables that have seeds.
Vegetables That Are Easy To Grow From Seed
While tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant need to be started from seed indoors, many homegrown fruits and vegetables are easy to grow when seeded directly in your garden. These vegetables are so easy, all you have to do is drop and grow!
These easy to grow vegetable seeds are great choices when you’re gardening with kids. They love to see a plant growing up from a little seed they set in the ground.
EASY WARM SEASON CROPS TO GROW
Plant these seeds after the last chance of frost has passed.
Most herbs can be grown from seed in the garden. I’ve had success growing basil, chives, cilantro, and dill direct seeded when the soil is at least 70 degrees.
Dig a little trench about half an inch deep and sprinkle seeds in rows or squares. Then cover with compost and keep watered. It is reasonable to expect the herbs to harvestable in about a month.
Watch your herbs for signs of bolting. They should be harvested before they go to flower for the best flavor. You can prune flowering limbs to stay ahead of bolting, but you can only delay it a little bit. When they do bolt, just let them go and save the seed for next year.
SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI
Squash and zucchini are very large plants. Technically zucchini is squash, and the plants look identical except for the fruit.
These big beautiful plants need to be planted at least 18 inches apart. They will be crowded even then, but, if gardening space is tight, they can live this close to each other.
Be aware that in crowded environments, getting a good harvest will require diligent pest and disease control.
To set in the ground, drag out rows about two inches deep, drop the seeds, then cover with dirt or compost. Fertilize once or twice as needed. Many summer squashes are bush types, but winter squash and pumpkins are sprawling vines so provide loooots of space accordingly.
Squash plants tend to get overcome by squash bugs in our garden. I really dislike squash bugs. They are so nasty!
Cucumbers are a climbing vine and grow up any trellis, very nicely. They are easy to grow, love the sun, and there are a ton of varieties! Try something different like the lemon cuke which looks like a lemon, but tastes like a cucumber. For us, cucumbers are great to have in the garden for fresh eating. Eating a cool cuke in the shade is always refreshing when you’ve been working in the heat.
For starting from seed, they are not very different from squash or watermelons. Speaking of watermelons..
Mmmm! Watermelons are one of my favorite things about summer! Every summer I wait and wait and wait for what seems like forever before these fruits are ready to harvest! In the south, watermelons are easy to grow because they love the heat, but in cooler climates it may be more difficult because of their long time to harvest.
Give them 3-4 months to mature and at least six feet between plants as the vines are very large and will take over your yard.
Some gardeners recommend pinching off all but one or two flowers to make larger, sweeter fruit. We usually let them grow because we are greedy and want to eat all the watermelons. You do how you like to do.
This watermelon is larger than Buddy, the dog!
When you plant your okra, check your seed pack for spacing, some okra plants are over 10 feet tall whereas others are only 3.
Okra loves heat and is one of the few veggies that will live all summer long and keep producing until frost in hot, humid conditions. Once these babies start producing, you are going to be picking okra Every. Single. Day.
Early in the season, larger okra pods can be harvested. However, as it gets hotter, they become woody as they grow so harvest them young. When they get over-ripe, they are fibrous and inedible. We let the woody pods go on the stalk and harvest them for seed at the end of summer.
Super tall okra plants. That dude (hubz) is 6’4″ tall.
A few (small) okra plants on the right, zucchini on the left, and some corn in the distance.
There are two types of bean plants: bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans are smaller and grow like bushes. Pole beans are vines and best grown on a trellis or support of some kind as the vines can get 8 or more feet long.
Traditional green beans are harvested while the pods are still young. Soup beans are harvested after the pods are matured and dried. Check your seed packs for specific information on your variety.
We like to plant both bush and pole beans. For classic green bean flavor, pick Blue Lake bush beans. We also like Top Crop for easy picking. Pole beans are later to develop than bush beans, and they keep on giving after the bush beans tire out. Try the heirloom Rattlesnake for pretty speckled beans.
It’s very important to commit at least an 8×8 foot area for your corn. Corn grows best when planted in four rows of four is for adequate pollination. Whether sixteen seems like a little or a lot depends on your garden goals. Each corn stalk will only supply one to two ears of corn.
So it’s easy to see that it can take a lot of space if yearlong homegrown corn is the goal. On our farm, Silver Queen earns a top spot for most delicious to eat fresh. So, so sweet and yummy! It’s like candy, y’all!
Our daughter once ate a whole ear of raw corn! Being able to eat really fresh produce is something I missed out on as a child, and I’m so glad our kiddos get to enjoy our garden.
EASY TO GROW COOL SEASON CROPS
The following plants do better when the weather doesn’t get too hot.
Carrots need to be set out a month before your last frost and actually taste much better when grown through a couple of frosts.
We grow ours in raised beds where we can control the soil since our soil is mostly Georgia red clay. For nice big carrots, clear the growing area of stones and till deeply to ensure healthy roots (=carrot).
Be careful using manure as it will cause them to fork or grow legs. Rocky soil will also do that. They are ready to harvest about three months after planting, but a fall crop can be left in the ground over winter as long as the ground does not freeze.
On the other hand, many varieties will develop a hard pithy core if left unharvested during hot dry periods of summer.
Beets like to live in cool, fertile, slightly acidic soil. Start them as soon as you can work the soil after winter.
They love the cold weather so get these guys in the ground early. Beets are super cool to grow with kids, too, because there are so many beautiful colors!
For root crops, don’t apply heavy nitrogen-based fertilizers. Give them more phosphorous to get bigger bulbs. All parts of the beet are edible fresh or cooked. Beet greens are quite delicious, but pickled beets are one of my favorites!
Growing turnips is very satisfying. Grown in early spring and in fall, they come up quickly and grow like the dickens! They like cool weather and should be harvested young. I like the classic bicolored purple top turnips in our garden. We plant them for the greens so we sow them very close together. Thin them out to 4 inches between plants for bigger bulbs.
Radishes are another satisfying crop in the garden. They are fast growing, and I love their bright color! Their peppery flavor is nice pickled or sliced thinly in a salad, but I recently learned that fried radishes are the bomb. I’m definitely going to have to try that. I don’t know why I haven’t tried it before! I’m southern. I know that fried is the best way to eat things!
Chard is a cool season crop grown in early spring and again in fall. Most varieties will even tolerate some frost. It’s really easy to grow when direct seeded in the garden. Plant them about 1/2 inch into the soil and water. It’s really that simple. In warm climates, choose an area that gets some afternoon sun.
Harvest chard when you are ready to eat it. Young leaves are more tender and sweet. Many varieties can be harvested as soon as 4 weeks after seeding. I love growing rainbow chard in our garden. The colors are so striking!
Lettuce is very, very easy to grow and will tolerate some shade. The only trick to lettuce is to protect it from heat which encourages bolting and an unpleasant bitter flavor. Grow lettuce in the early spring and again in fall. Sowing a new
To grow lettuce, scatter seeds in the desired area, row, or pattern then cover with about half an inch of soil and keep moist. In hot climates grow in an area where the plants will get afternoon shade.
Lettuce is best harvested young as the leaves will become bitter and unpleasant as they get older. As long as you have cool weather, sow a new crop every two weeks to keep the fresh salad eating going!
Spinach is grown very much like lettuce. It appreciates a cool weather, tolerates some shade, and grows very quickly. Grow your spinach in early spring and again in fall. Starting a new crop every 2 weeks will extend your harvest. Garden fresh spinach is one of the veggies that you should try growing even if you’ve never liked it before. It really does taste better.
Saving Vegetable Seeds: What You Need to Know
To get started with saving vegetable seeds, a few extra steps will keep your best varieties growing in the garden next year.
To get started with saving vegetable seeds, a few extra steps will keep your best varieties growing in the garden next year.
Saving your own vegetable seeds is often the only sure way to hang onto your favorite tomato variety. It also keeps money in your pocket since you won’t have to buy new stock every season. Although it’s not terribly difficult, saving seed properly isn’t as simple as just harvesting the nicest fruit or vegetables and drying the seeds. Acquiring viable seeds requires a little forethought and preparation to ensure healthy crops in the future.
From hybrids to heirlooms
To start, you need to know the difference between hybrids, heirlooms and open-pollinated plants.
Choose firm, ripe tomatoes for your seed source. The easiest way to collect tomato seeds is to ferment them from the pulp.
In general, when you’re saving seeds, use heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. There is an important difference between the two: Heirlooms are all open-pollinated plants, but not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms.
An open-pollinated plant is naturally pollinated (by animals or wind) and produces a new generation representative of parent plants. Such varieties breed true as long as the parent plants are isolated from cross-pollination with other varieties or closely related species.
The definition of an heirloom is a little more challenging to pinpoint. Typically, heirlooms are open-pollinated varieties that have been around for at least 50 years and often have origins in a particular region or climate. Some say heirlooms shouldn’t be commercially available, yet they’re gaining such popularity with home growers (because of legendary flavor and adaptation to regional growing conditions) that seed companies are offering increasingly larger selections each year.
Hybrids result when two specific varieties or cultivars are cross-pollinated, a process that can occur naturally and with human manipulation. Breeders have long known that hybridization is an efficient way to combine the best traits of different varieties into a single plant.
For example, the popular ‘Early Girl’ F1 (meaning Filia 1, or first generation offspring) was developed in France during the 1960s as an early maturing ketchup tomato. Inadvertently, this full-sized, exceptionally flavored tomato also became a hit in the commercial home gardening market. Varieties have since been created to resist Fusarium wilt and other diseases.
Despite some recent confusion that links hybrids with genetically modified plants, hybrids are good to have in your garden – and they have been for centuries. If you’re a bit of a mad scientist, you can create hybrids at home once you understand the basics of pollination and saving seeds. Just be aware, if you plant the seeds from hybrid offspring, the resulting plants will run the gamut of variability, and most will not resemble the parents.
Ease into your savings plan
If you’re planning on collecting seeds this year, start with species and varieties that offer the best chance of success. To be absolutely certain your seed will produce true-to-form offspring next year, you will want to isolate many of your plantings from others of the same species. However, species with “perfect” flowers – those that include both female and male (stigma and stamen) parts – are less likely to cross-pollinate with others in the same species and need not be grown in total isolation.
Tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers and lettuce all have perfect flowers and are good options when collecting seeds for the first time, particularly if you didn’t isolate spring plants. Of these, tomatoes are probably easiest.
Because the tomato pollen source is so close to where it needs to be for pollination, tomatoes rarely cross-
pollinate. Even though tomatoes self-pollinate for the most part, if you plan to save the seed, it’s best to separate varieties by at least 20 feet.
Why Seed Saving Is Important, For the Plants and OurselvesRead one gardener’s reflections on why seed saving is important, and how closely connected humankind’s existence is with the plants we cultivate.Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: The Case for Taking on One Self-Reliance Skill at a TimePut all your eggs in one basket instead of juggling too many baskets, by giving your dedication to one new self-reliance skill at a time.Why is Seed Saving Important?Why is Seed Saving Important? Instead of turning to big seed companies, learn about all the benefits that come with saving your own seeds.
Choose firm, ripe tomatoes for your seed source. The easiest way to collect tomato seeds is to ferment them from the pulp. Scoop the seed-bearing gelatinous center of the fruit into a jar and cover with water. Cover the jar loosely with a lid (don’t screw it on or you might have a tomato-goo explosion on your hands) or several layers of cheesecloth held in place with rubber bands. Store it in a warm place for one to three days before pouring off the scum, bad seeds and tomato chunks. It will smell like a homebrew experiment, so don’t panic.
The viable tomato seeds sink to the bottom. Add more water and stir. Do this three times over the course of seven to 10 days, and you should have healthy seeds to dry for next year. Dry them on a plate or towel for several days before storing the seeds in an airtight container.
Peppers, peas and beans also have perfect flowers, although they also have a slightly greater tendency to cross-pollinate through insect visitation. If you didn’t grow different cultivars next to each other, you can save seed with reasonable confidence that it’ll be the same variety next season. If you had all your peppers next to each other, the pollen might mingle; you will wind up with peppers of all kinds if you save the seed and grow them out next season.
To minimize the chance of cross-pollination, keep a handful of bean or pepper plants out of the reach of bees and other pollinators. I use a portable cold frame with pull-over netting.
Another option with all self-pollinating varieties – particularly with beans and peas – is to cover the plants with lightweight tulle netting. Drape it over your plants before the flowers open. You can also assist the pollination process by gently shaking the plants a couple of times a day to allow the pollen within the flower to reach the stigma, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Once fruit begins to set, remove the netting.
To save pepper seeds, allow the best-looking peppers to fully ripen. Pick the pepper, cut out the seeds and allow to dry completely on a paper towel or screen.
For beans and peas, leave the pods to dry completely as long as the weather permits. This is usually six weeks past when you would harvest them to eat. If a frost threatens, pull the entire plant up by the root and hang it upside down in a garage or storage shed to dry. To collect the seeds, pop open the pods and spread the seeds on a towel for a week to ensure they’re completely dry before storing them.
When saving seed from lettuce, bolting is a good thing. Each tiny white or yellow blossom will produce a single seed. After the lettuce has gone to seed, allow it to ripen a couple of weeks before harvesting. Shake the cluster to gather ripe seeds or cut the stalk and hang it upside down over paper to collect fallen seeds.