Easiest Crops to Grow In Summer for Hobby Farmers
One of the most productive ways to use your land during the warm summer months is to grow crops. Whether you want to fill the fridge with fresh food for your family or are looking to make a little extra money, you don’t need to be an expert to get started. Read on to learn about which crops are easiest to grow for beginners.
Common Conditions That Affect Your Crops
No matter how much land you have, you can produce a bountiful harvest. Many hobby farmers get excellent yields with less than an acre. However, it’s important to understand your property and the conditions that can impact your crops. The four most important factors to consider include:
- Climate and weather conditions. Plant varieties that thrive in Texas might not make it in Washington. Consult the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map to see what grows best in your region.
- Soil quality. Your soil type plays a big role in what your land can grow. If you’re unsure of the conditions, a simple soil test can reveal critical information like pH and nutrient levels to help you prepare for planting.
- Water availability. When you’re growing at a larger scale, you need more than a watering can or hose. Make sure there’s easy water access for your gardens or install an irrigation system.
- Disease and pests. Your crops will eventually attract unwanted attention from pests, and you need to be prepared to act fast. Understand the most common issues in your area and how to counteract them.
10 of the Easiest Crops to Grow
No crop is entirely foolproof, but some are much more forgiving than others. Set yourself up for success with these 10 crops considered among the easiest to grow for new farmers.
There are many lettuce varieties to choose from. For first-timers, loose-leaf lettuce is typically the most simple to start with. You can produce a large quantity without a lot of land needed, and you’ll have a crop ready to eat in just a few weeks. Additionally, it will continue to produce as you harvest the outer leaves of the plant.
A favorite of those in cooler climates, spinach is surprisingly easy to grow. This nutrient-packed green is tolerant of cold temperatures and can produce a harvest in both the spring and fall. It’s best to pick leaves before they grow too large, as they will quickly turn bitter as they increase in size.
Though tomatoes might seem intimidating, there are so many different varieties you won’t have much trouble finding one suited to your growing conditions. The options are seemingly unlimited, with types ranging from exotic heirlooms to bize-sized cherry tomatoes. Spend one summer enjoying tomatoes fresh off the vine and you’ll never go back to store-bought.
Basil is a versatile herb that can be turned into flavorful pesto or a fresh pizza topping. It’s able to thrive in both direct sun and partial sun, providing options for all types of properties. As an added bonus, basil is a great companion plant for tomatoes. It acts as a deterrent for damaging pests, including hornworms, mosquitoes, flies, aphids, and beetles.
While this list is in no particular order, kale is considered the easiest crop to grow by many hobby farmers. It has minimal pest and disease issues, and tolerates a wide range of temperatures. In fact, kale often has the best flavor after a frost. It’s also a compact crop that can be grown in pots and containers ornamentally.
With most of the growth occurring underground, carrots are one of the most maintenance-free crops. The key is to make sure they’re planted in loose and airy soil free of rocks and large clumps of dirt. If your soil test revealed you have sandy soil, you’re in luck – carrots thrive in such conditions.
Another popular root vegetable, beets are compact and can tolerate lower-quality soil conditions. They’re also hearty enough to survive a cold snap, making them ideal for spring and fall planting. You can count on getting your money’s worth from beets, as both the bright red roots and the plant’s leaves can be eaten.
Rapidly sprawling squash plants will have you begging your neighbors to take some of your harvest off your hands. Common types like zucchini and yellow summer squash are hearty and relatively low-maintenance. While squash can grow massive in size, the fruits tend to have the best flavor when harvested at six to eight inches.
Beans & Peas
If your space requires plants that can grow vertically on a trellis, beans and peas fit the bill perfectly. Because these plants release nitrogen from their roots, they can even be grown in poor-quality soil. As beans and peas are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and have a relatively short time to harvest, they’re one of the most approachable crops to start with.
Not every crop has to be edible to be valuable. Sunflowers grow fast in a range of conditions and will attract beneficial pollinators to your land. Their bright pop of color will look great in the garden or cut fresh on the dinner table. Certain sunflower varieties can grow to a massive size, with the largest ever recorded standing over 30 feet.
Connect With Yanmar
At Yanmar, we’re dedicated to helping you get the most out of your land. From equipment like our compact tractors and seeding and planting attachments to valuable resources such as the Landowner’s Planner, our team is here to answer your questions and provide guidance. Please don’t hesitate to connect with us online or give us a call at 678-551-7369.