The vegetables and herbs you should grow at home and how

Last Updated May 2020
By Lauren Corona

With spring fast approaching (and already getting into full swing in some warmer climates), it's time to think about what you want to grow this year. 

Whether you're already an avid gardener or completely new to the hobby, it's always worth planning out what you'll plant. 

Growing your own herbs and vegetables often yields far tastier produce than you could ever find in a grocery store, plus you're likely to save some money, especially on costlier produce.

Luckily, it's fairly easy to grow vegetables and herbs, whether you do so on a windowsill, in your backyard, or on a balcony or porch. If you're stuck, we have some advice on what to grow and how to grow it. 

What to grow at home

Basil:

Basil is a highly fragrant herb that's great made into pesto, added to salads, and sprinkled on freshly-baked pizza, to name but a few of its culinary uses. When grown in a sunny spot, it's extremely prolific. 

RDR Seeds 150 Sweet Basil Seeds: $4.99 at Amazon

This classic Genovese basil is delicious in all manner of Italian dishes. It's easy to grow either on a windowsill or straight in a bed or outdoor container if it's warm enough out. 

Tomatoes:

Tomatoes require a bit of TLC but are still easy enough for amateur gardeners to grow successfully. Homegrown tomatoes don't even compare to watery grocery store offerings. 

Burpee Big Boy Hybrid Large Slicing Red Tomato: $17.99 at Amazon

Starting with tomato plant seedlings is much less hassle than starting tomatoes from seed. This Napa variety produces delectably sweet 10- to 16-ounce tomatoes. 

Cilantro:

While cilantro can be divisive (some people have a gene that makes it taste like soap), it adds a fresh zingy to a range of cuisines, including Mexican, Indian, and Thai. It's also easy to grow either indoors or outdoors. 

Seeds of Change Cilantro Slow Bolt Seeds Pack: $2.79 at The Home Depot

These slow bolt seeds give you a longer period of vegetation growth before the plants begin to seed and stop producing more leaves. 

Zucchini:

A versatile vegetable, you can add zucchini to all kinds of dishes and recipes, from stir-fries to chocolate cake (no, really). It's a prolific plant that tends to leave you with a large glut.

David's Garden Seeds Zucchini Black Beauty: $6.96 at Amazon

These non-GMO seeds produce classic dark green zucchini with an excellent flavor or texture. The plants are semi-upright, which is great for small growing spaces.  

Spinach:

If you like your spinach leaves small, you can harvest them in as little as 30 days from first planting your seeds. You can grow it indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs. 

Seed and Plant Early No. 7 Spinach Seeds: $1.99 at Amazon

Reaching full maturity in just 40 days, you won't need to wait long to enjoy this spinach. You get 100 seeds to a pack with an 85% germination rate. 

Asparagus:

One of the great things about growing asparagus is that it's a perennial, meaning you just plant it once and it returns every year. It can take a few years before you get a large harvest, but it can produce for over 20 years. 

Hand Picked Nursery Mary Washington Bare Root Asparagus Plants: $9.99 at Amazon

This hardy heirloom variety is easy to grow, plus the plants you receive are already two years old so they should start producing fairly prolifically after the first year. 

How to grow a garden at home

Windowsill:

A sunny windowsill is the perfect spot for growing herbs, though it's also possible to grow mini vegetable plants on windowsills. 

New Age Pet ECOFLEX Rectangular Flower or Herb Window Box: $30.17 at Home Depot

This long rectangular planter is perfect for growing herbs on a large windowsill. 

Hydroponically:

Hydroponics involves growing plants in water rather than soil. This can affect the flavor if you don't add the correct nutrients to the water but is less messy than using soil indoors. 

AeroGarden Harvest: $99.99 at Amazon (was $149.95)

The AeroGarden is a self-contained hydroponic growing system with built-in grow lights so you can grow herbs indoors even in low-light areas. It makes growing plants from seed extremely easy for beginners. 

Porch or balcony:

When growing on a porch, balcony, or patio area, growing in containers is your best bet. Note that plants dry out more quickly in terracotta pots than plastic pots. 

Classic Home and Garden Whiskey Barrel Planter: $23.99 at Amazon

This plastic faux barrel planter is large enough to accommodate a whole bed of herbs or a single tomato or zucchini plant. 

Backyard:

In your backyard, you can choose to either plant directly in the ground, use raised beds, or even grow in containers. 

Greenland Gardener Raised Garden Bed: $30.64 at The Home Depot

It's easy to assemble this raised bed with no tools needed, plus it's reasonably priced, too.