How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm In Winter

How To Keep A Chicken Coop Warm In Winter

Not sure how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Then pull up a chair, because we got quite a few (battle-tested) ideas for you today.

 

(Want to know how to keep your flock’s water from freezing? Get my genius hacks here).

 

herbs for backyard chickens

 

While the winters never get too brutal here in Missouri, we still do get our share of freezing temps (usually in January and February) thanks to the polar vortexes from our Canadian friends up North.

 

And trying to keep a chicken coop warm in winter is never fun. In fact, it’s usually a battle of ingenuity, and we’re kept on our toes trying to find new ways to keep the flock toasty and cozy when it’s gotten so cold we don’t even have a prayer of getting the hose getting unfrozen.

 

Now before we begin, just remember: For the most part, your chickens will be fine during the winter.

 

Every year, I get a few people who ask whether their hens will freeze in temperatures below 40 degrees, and the answer is no. Your chickens will likely be fine no matter what.

 

Only once temperatures dip below zero and into the VERY below zero temperatures (negative 30 degrees, for example) do you really need to be concerned about keeping them warm.

herbs for backyard chickens

 

In temperatures above zero, your chickens will fluff their feathers to stay warm and all the walking around and foraging will help keep their blood circulating and their body temperature up.

 

At night, they’ll bundle together on a roost and keep their little legs warm by sitting on them.

 

But you still are probably wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter, so here’s some ideas we’ve used on our farm to get you started!

 

  1. Shut the door midday and let the sun warm your coop up

 

We’ve had a lot of luck with the various coops on our property by using solar energy to keep the coops heated.

 

Our coops have windows, so for the first part of the day, we can open the coop doors and let the hens forage.

 

About mid-day, you can close the doors and allow the heat to get trapped inside the coop, keeping it warmer than it would be otherwise.

 

Now, don’t ask me how many degrees this will raise the temperature – that’s going to depend on a wide variety of factors.

 

And this won’t work 100% of the time. But it might be the difference between 22 degrees and 32 degrees in the coop – and that’s a heck of a difference.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

2. Use lots of straw & clean out every week

 

Straw is an amazing insulator – that’s why you see those straw houses becoming so popular.

 

Putting about a foot deep of straw in your coop will do wonders keeping the cold air out and the warm air generated by your flock’s body heat in.

 

As a bonus, your flock won’t have to stand on a cold floor.

 

Now, you might hear that straw is not good to use as bedding – to each his own. Some people have decided that straw harbors mites, and the answer is if you don’t clean your coop, pretty much anything will harbor mites.

 

Clean the straw out of your coop weekly, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Wondering how to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Keep your backyard chickens toasty warm with these 6 genius hacks!

3. Deep litter method

 

If you don’t know what the deep litter method is, or if you’ve heard of it but aren’t sure what it entails, then you can learn everything you want to know right here.

 

Now for full disclosure, I don’t use the deep litter method. But people who DO use it claim it can raise the coop temperature by about 10 degrees – pretty significant when your talking about daily highs in the teens.

 

The reason it generates so much heat is because the manure dropped by the chickens composts, and the breaking-down process causes heat.

 

herbs for backyard chickens

4. Radiant space heater

 

Like the deep litter method, this one isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re not sure what a radiant heater is, you can see an example here (you can also buy one here).

 

Now note, I didn’t say heat lamp – that’s a definite no-no because they get way too hot. Every winter, there’s a slew of posts on Facebook about people who used a heat lamp and their coop went up in flames.

 

Just say no to heat lamps.

 

Radiant heaters are a different thing – they don’t get so hot and have some safety features. They can raise the temperatures in your coop a few degrees, and that can make all the difference.

 

Just note, you will need an electrical source to use a radiant space heater.

 

Now, would I personally use one of these in my coop? Probably not. I’m WAY to paranoid about fires and our winters are not that cold – it’s the odd day that things get below zero.

 

That being said, you might want to use one – and if you do, the more power to you.

 

 

5. Use a treeline to break the wind

 

We have one horse pasture that I swear is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the others. When the water is frozen solid in the other fields, it’s not even icy in this particular pasture.

 

And the reason is that there’s a lot of trees causing a ginormous windbreak. And it makes all the difference.

 

It’s pretty insane how much a treeline can keep a coop warm simply because it’s keeping the cold winds away from your flock.

 

If your chickens are in a tractor, or if you can somehow move them behind a treeline, you’ll be able to keep the coop from losing warmth.

 

If you can use something else to create a windbreak (moving the coop behind a structure so it’s protected), then that’ll work as well.

 

If you plan to use straw in your coop, you could even buy extra bales to create a “wall” to break the wind (don’t laugh – we’ve done it and it WORKS.)

herbs for backyard chickens

  1. Use insulation around doors and windows

This one will take a bit of planning on your part, but you can save a lot of heat by simply eliminating drafts. (After all, it IS those polar vortexes that contribute to the cold in the first place)

 

Making sure your coop doors and windows have proper insulation will go a long way.

 

Don’t use any of that spray foam however (my husband loves that stuff and it’s a nightmare to look at and clean up, and your chickens might decided to taste test it – never a good thing.)

 

If you’re trying to figure out how to heat a chicken coop in winter, then spend a little and get something like this that will do the job without taking the chance your flock will try to eat it.

herbs for backyard chickens

Want genius ideas to keep a chicken coop warm in winter? Here's 6 genius hacks perfect for beginner backyard chicken mamas!

Grow Sunflower Microgreens As A Healthy Treat For Your Hens!

Grow Sunflower Microgreens As A Healthy Treat For Your Hens!

Sunflower microgreens are a delicious addition to your recipe collection, and they’re easy to grow in your kitchen.

 

Once “mature,” you can harvest your sunflower microgreens, and their rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture fit into every meal of the day. They pair particularly nicely with eggs at breakfast, soups, sandwiches, and wraps at lunch, and alongside meats and grains at dinner.

 

Chock full of vitamins, protein, and lecithin to break down fatty acids, sunflower microgreens are not only delicious, they also pack quite a nutritional punch. Growing them yourself is economical, satisfying, and fun. It’s an easy crop for children to plant and grow and makes a great addition to their favorite meals, including pizza, tacos, and alphabet soup.

 

An as an added bonus, your chickens, ducks, other poultry, and rabbits will also jump at the chance to down some sunflower microgreens as part of their diet (and you might even save some money at the same time!)

 

Are you ready to exercise your green thumb by growing your own sunflower microgreens this planting season? Follow these ten easy steps!

 

Start by purchasing quality sunflower sprouting seeds.

 

You don’t need to purchase the most expensive seeds, but you do want the black oil sunflower seed variety. Make sure the seeds you purchase are for sprouting – organic seeds are best so you can be sure they haven’t been sprayed with harmful chemicals.

 

Click here to buy organic sunflower sprouting seeds on Amazon

 

Then purchase a growing pad, organic soilseedling tray, and plastic cover, and set them aside for later use. (You can make your own organic soil as well).

 

Soak the seeds in warm water for at least 12 hours

 

Grab a mason jar and pour in enough seeds to cover your grow tray. Because we’re growing microgreens, space isn’t as big of an issue so be generous – you want a large enough harvest to make the effort worth it.

 

Be sure to keep the seeds covered as they soak to keep dust, bugs, etc out of the jar.  This will speed up germination, and let you harvest the sunflower microgreens faster. You’ll also waste less seeds.

 

If you don’t want to go through the soaking process, then you can just plant the seeds directly in the grow tray.

 

But if you want to soak your seeds, then…

 

Drain and rinse the seeds thoroughly with cool water, then repeat the soaking process.

 

Again, use warm water and soak for an additional 12 hours. It’s very important to rinse the seeds thoroughly so they don’t get moldy.

 

At this point, you should start to see the seeds begin to sprout. It will look like they’re growing tiny tails.

 

Pour potting soil into your grow tray and spread the seeds very thickly.

 

You can cover the seeds very lightly with additional soil, but it’s not strictly necessary. Cover the tray with the plastic top so moisture is retained – make sure there is some ventilation, and remove the top if the seeds begin to mold.

Grow sunflower microgreens for a healthy addition to any meal!

Water your sunflower microgreens by placing the tray inside a larger tray or tub.

 

This allows the seeds to receive water from the bottom without disturbing them from the top. You don’t want to displace any of the dirt or disturb the seedlings’ root structure.

 

As the seeds grow and start to push up, move them to a sunny spot (like a bright window) and continue to water them regularly.

 

You CAN use a grow light if you want, but it’s not strictly necessary, since your sunflower microgreens will be harvested in a few days.

 

In a week to a week and a half, the sunflower shoots should be about 4” tall.

 

Harvest your sunflower microgreens!

 

Once they’re about 4″ tall, it’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor. Cut your sunflower microgreens right above soil level and store them in a sealable plastic bag.  They should last 4-5 days in your refrigerator.

 

To use them, pull out the amount you need for each recipe, and rinse them carefully under cool, running water.

 

Use this easy method to grow these tasty greens whenever you want them. Because they’re ready to harvest so quickly, they don’t require a ton of planning ahead, and because they last for 4-5 days when refrigerated, they can also be ready to use when you’re ready for them.

Grow sunflower microgreens for a healthy snack!

Ideas to use your sunflower microgreens

 

Try your first harvest in a simple summer salad:

Mix sunflower microgreens with peeled and cubed blood oranges and avocados, peeled and shredded carrots, and chopped walnuts or pecans. Dress with a light vinaigrette dressing and add slices of crusty, homemade bread for a delicious summer meal.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What’s your favorite way to use sunflower microgreens? Leave a comment below!

How To Clean Fresh Eggs (And When Not To)

How To Clean Fresh Eggs (And When Not To)

How to clean fresh eggs was something that didn’t concern me for years.

 

After all, we were the only ones eating them, so if there was a spot on them or a bit of dirt, it didn’t bother me.

 

Since eggs automatically have something called a “bloom,” which is a natural coating on the shell that helps keep out bacteria, washing them for your own use isn’t really necessary (unless they’re super dirty).

 

Egg shells are naturally porous to allow for an exchange of oxygen as the chick grows. From an evolutionary standpoint, the purpose of the bloom is to keep bacteria out of the egg so the chick embryo can have a safe environment to grow. Learn more about the insides of chicken eggs.

 

Because of this, washing fresh chicken eggs isn’t always advised.

 

READ NEXT: 10 WEIRD EGGS & WHAT THEY MEAN

 

In fact, it can be harmful because when you wash chicken eggs, you simultaneously remove that protective barrier as well as push some bacteria in through the pores of the shell, potentially contaminating your eggs.

 

However…

 

Once we decided to buffer our homestead income by selling eggs, however, worrying how to wash fresh eggs became quite the priority.

 

In our state, we’re allowed to sell fresh eggs from our homestead to other families, but since not everyone appreciates feathers and dirt, we had to figure out how to clean fresh eggs.

 

How to clean fresh eggs

 

When it comes to how to wash fresh eggs, if your chicken eggs are not really dirty, in other words, there’s no poop or other gross stuff on them, then just wipe them with a dry cloth, which leaves the protective bloom intact.

 

If there’s manure on your eggs, and you want to wash them, then you first need to make sure you wash them in water that’s not a drastic difference from their temperature.

 

This is to prevent cracking.

 

If the eggs are cold, use cool water. If it’s hot out (or they were just laid), and the eggs are warm, use warm water.

 

If it’s winter and you only want to use warm water to cut down on potential bacteria, then sit your eggs on your kitchen counter until they’re at room temperature.

 

To wash the fresh eggs, simply dampen a rag and wipe the egg until it’s clean. It will then need to be refrigerated because the bloom is gone, and bacteria can easily get inside it.

 

If you would like to go with something more involved, you can use a commercial egg washing solution.

 

If you don’t want to actually wash your eggs, but still want to remove manure, you can try using a very fine grain sandpaper.

 

Gently scrub the manure off, but don’t do it for too long and remove the egg shell accidentally.

 

The bloom will still be removed in those spots, so you will have to store them in the fridge.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HENS ARE LAYING

 

But…

Now, when it comes to eggs, the best thing to do is make sure they don’t get dirty in the first place.

 

Make sure you keep your nesting boxes clean, using shavings and/or straw to keep them fresh, and changing the bedding frequently. This will also cut down on diseases and potential pathogens. Learn more about nesting herbs here.

 

Another way to prevent dirty eggs is to put your nesting boxes lower in the coop than your roosting bars, and to keep the nesting boxes away from your roosting bars.

 

Chickens like to rest on the highest point in a coop, so if your nesting boxes are the highest spot, guess where they’ll roost?

 

Also, if your nesting boxes are kept under the roosting bar, then your chickens will likely poop all over them.

 

Chickens don’t have bladders like mammals, so they poop whenever and wherever they get the urge – avoid gnarly eggs by encouraging your hens to only lay eggs in their nesting boxes and to not use them as a bathroom.

 

Make sure you collect any fresh eggs from the coop frequently.

 

Check your nesting boxes at least daily, if possible, and remove any eggs.

 

The more frequently you check them, the less likely they will be pooped on.

 

In extreme weather, this is especially important.

 

Embryo development starts to happen when the internal egg temperature is 99.5 degrees, making leaving eggs out in summer heat a cause for concern.

 

In very cold weather, you eggs can freeze and crack.

 

Storing your fresh eggs

 

To properly store eggs, after you’ve washed them, place them in a carton with the pointy side down.

 

I store my eggs in a carton and not in the egg holders built into the refrigerator. Since opening and closing the door means the temperature fluxuates frequently, this can cause bacterial growth in your eggs.

 

Just store them in a carton on a main shelf in your fridge.

 

READ NEXT: 5 CHICKEN BREEDS TO RAISE FOR COLORED EGGS

 

If you don’t plan to use the eggs in near future, write the date you stored them on the carton so you don’t forget how old the eggs are, and you can make sure to use the oldest eggs first.

 

If you’re not sure how old the eggs are, or if they’re good to eat, you can do the egg float test.

 

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Did you know how to clean fresh eggs? Will you try any of the ideas above? Leave a comment below!


Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.


 

Can You Freeze Eggs?

Can You Freeze Eggs?

Thinking about freezing chicken eggs because you’re getting so many? Read on for my best tips!

 

Eggs are incredibly valuable: within them lie the blueprints of life. But they’re also sustenance. The vast amount of cultures that raise chickens across the world has made their eggs one of – if not the – most important egg on the planet. 

 

While most of us want to eat eggs as soon as possible, often, we’re left with WAY too many of them!

 

While you have many options for preserving eggs, freezing is the easiest and one of the safest ways to make sure you have “butt nuggets” on hand whenever you want them. (This goes for chicken eggs and duck eggs).

 

Then, when it is time to use them, they can be thawed for any and all of our culinary dreams. This is truly a wonderful fact that can add some versatility to this egg-cellent ingredient. 

 

However, if we are going to freeze eggs, there are some key details to consider first.

can you freeze eggs in shells

How quickly should you freeze eggs?

If you are going to freeze your eggs, it is better to do so sooner than later. A few days at room temperature or in the fridge is about the maximum length of time you should wait before freezing them (learn how to tell if eggs are fresh here). That way, you are using only the freshest eggs you can put into your freezer. As eggs should only be frozen for about a year before they are used, dating your storage containers is recommended. 

 

No Shells Allowed!

As anyone who accidentally leaves eggs in their coop during a snowstorm can attest, eggs expand as they freeze, which can (and probably will) result in enough pressure on their shells to break them. As a result, eggs should never be frozen in shells. Cracking them into a container also ensures that you’re not using valuable space to store any eggs that might have problems: veins, lash eggs (yuck!), partially-incubated chickens (yes, it can happen), or other egg abnormalities. You’ll also want to wash your eggs first – you don’t want flecks of dirt, bacteria, or manure to get into your whites or yolk prior to freezing.

 

Should you separate yolks and egg whites?

When people ask “can you freeze eggs,” they next ask whether they should freeze the WHOLE egg, or  separate whites and yolk. 

 

It’s a good question, because the yolk and albumen are very difficult to separate once they have already been frozen. If you only plan using eggs for dinner – in stir-fry, breakfast cooking styles, salads, or in meat recipes – then cracking them straight into your storage receptacle is ideal.

 

If you plan to bake or do any cooking that requires just yolk or egg white, then separating white from yolk would be the better option. (Here’s a ton of recipes that use eggs!)

 

Either way is fine, but if you plan to store your eggs whole, then consider beating them just past the blending point. Doing this prevents the yolks from taking on a gelatinous consistency, which can be very difficult to cook with.

 

How to store just egg whites

Whites are relatively easy to store. Break the egg, and separate out the yolk, being careful to avoid getting any yolk in them. Then pour the whites into your receptacle of choice, and freeze. The best containers for whites are ice cube trays or in large freezer bags. Label them with the date of storage and quantity of eggs.

 

How to freeze the yolk

Yolks are trickier, because the freezing process causes them to thicken or gel. Once gelled, their usage diminishes significantly, and while it might be possible to find a use for them, the uses of gelled yolks are quite few and far between.

 

For every 4 yolks, you should beat in either 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1.5 teaspoons sugar. Be sure to label the bag with when they were frozen and whether they have been beaten with sugar or salt. Pulling out sweetened yolks for a main dish, or salted yolks for a dessert isn’t the best idea!

 

Ready, Set, Cook!

When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under running cool or cold water. Then, as soon as they are thawed, put them to use.

 

So, can you freeze eggs? The answer is YES! Go for it!

7 Controversial Canning Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Health

7 Controversial Canning Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Health

There’s common canning mistakes…and then there’s canning mistakes that can cost you your health.

Every year, I see the same articles floating around the internet and getting shared on Facebook. And I worry for the unsuspecting people who will follow this bad advice, and make all sorts of canning mistakes that might lead them to a hospital visit (and a big ol’ bill).

Canning vegetables should be a fun and easy process, and it is, when you follow established directions that are safe and have been studied.

In this article, we’ll debunk a lot of the canning myths I see floating around on the internet so you can feel confident canning your harvest.

Umm…actually….

One common response to debunked canning mistakes usually is something like “well, my grandmother did it and nobody died, so it must be okay.”

Yes, reported cases of poisonings from home canned goods are relatively rare. But that’s because a majority of people follow canning recipes outlined by research institutes such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

This center has studied many food preservation methods, which have helped to establish which home canning recipes and practices are safe – and which are just canning mistakes you want to avoid.

Here’s 7 canning mistakes you might see on Facebook. You should avoid these myths so you don’t get sick.

Mistake #1: Oven canning is safe

Oven canning, which involves placing filled jars in a hot oven then allowing the heat to seal the jars, is one common canning tip that’s totally a safety don’t.

The simple reason is the contents of your jars may not get hot enough to actually kill all the bacteria and mold spores in your food, which then have a likelihood of growing inside your jars.

While both water bath and pressure canning rely on water to conduct heat to kill bacteria, mold, etc. that might spoil food, the oven canning method involves only dry heat. Because dry heat does not raise temperatures as consistently as water, there’s no telling what the temperature inside the jar has reached.

Even if you leave your food in the oven for the same amount of time you would if you were water bath canning, the inside of your canning jar might not get as hot as it needs to be to properly kill all the bacteria crawling inside. It’s one of the most common mistakes we see!

Mistake #2: Flipping a hot jar upside down seals it well enough, and waterbath or pressure canning isn’t necessary.

A few articles on the internet offer the advice that that after filling a hot canning jar, it’s perfectly safe to flip it upside down to get the lid to seal. While your lid might seal, it’s potentially too weak to make a really sticky seal, and you might find in a few months that your jars are no longer sealed at all (and have a big green moldy mess).

Additionally, one of the most common mistakes with this method is that your food, which you just ladled into the jar, also probably didn’t reach a high enough temperature to kill off any nasties lurking around to spoil your food.

According to science, the biggest reason that water bath and pressure canning are safe is because they raise the internal temperature of the food to a high enough degree that a most of the bacteria and mold spores are killed.

If you rely on flipping the jar to create a seal, you’re making more than just a few mistakes by skipping an important step.

Mistake #3: Paraffin wax is an excellent sealer

Using paraffin to seal food is another common mistakes we see when it comes to canning. Using paraffin in canning to preserve food involves placing thin layers of wax over your jar until there’s about a half inch of wax that seals the opening.

Back in the day, canning with paraffin wax was considered safe, but the research shows that the bacteria and spores just aren’t sufficiently destroyed. There’s also no way to determine whether the jar is actually sealed well enough.  Stick with new mason jar tops!

Mistake #4: Inventing your own recipes is okay

While I’m always tempted to create my own salsa recipes, the truth is that inventing your own canning recipes isn’t a good idea, and so it’s 4th on our list of common canning mistakes. The canning recipes you see in the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving and on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website have been rigorously tested for safety.

If you create your own canning recipe, the amount of acid needed to safely preserve food might be off (a pH of 4.6 or lower is advised), or the temperature might not get high enough to adequately destroy bacteria and mold spores present. If you want to make up your own canning recipes, you can always freeze it.

Mistake #5: If it’s canned at the store, then it’s ok to can it at home

This is one of the biggest common canning mistakes I see. Here’s why: Commercial manufacturers spend a lot of money researching canning and safe storage techniques. They also can heat their canning recipes to a higher temperature than we’re able to using our own equipment. While they have methods and data to safely preserve certain foods, we do not, and we can’t repeat these techniques at home.

Mistake #6 It’s not necessary to boil lids before canning

On the contrary, it’s very important to boil mason jar lids before using them to preserve fruits and veggies. While sometimes you’ll read that the lids will get sterilized during canning anyway, simmering the lids is meant to heat the rubbery part to ensure a proper seal. The last thing you want is to make mistakes that cause a poor or faulty seal to destroy all your hard work.

Mistake #7: Canning butter is safe

I frequently see recipes and articles that recommend preserving butter by pouring hot, melted butter into heated jars, then sealing the product by flipping it. In fact, it’s one of the most common mistakes I see shared on Facebook, and a hotly debated topic.

While it seems logical that dairy can be preserved in jars, at this time, there are no safe canning recipes to preserve butter out there. Butter is a low-acid product, meaning botulism spores have a better environment to grow.

Fats like butter can also protect bacteria from heat during canning, so for now, preserve your butter at home by freezing it. Kept at room temperature, your canned butter will quickly spoil.

Canning and preserving fruit & vegetables is safe....unless you make one of these common canning mistakes. Here's how to avoid them & stay healthy!

Easiest Vegetables to Grow

Easiest Vegetables to Grow

When it comes to growing your own vegetables, practice makes perfect. The longer you do it, the easier it will be to cultivate and develop that “green thumb” you’ve always wanted.

But if you’re just getting started, you don’t have time to waste sitting around and wondering why your plants won’t grow. Instead, you need a quick list of the easiest vegetables to grow so that you can get started right away. 

If you’re stuck in a rut and looking for a quick fix to your gardening-challenged ways, don’t worry. These are some of the easiest vegetables you can grow – no matter where you live or how little experience you have. 

Lettuce and Other Leafy Greens

Lettuce is not only easy to harvest (most cultivars are continuous-harvest types, making it easy for you to snip off leaves as needed) but it also is easy to grow and takes up little space. You can even grow it in a container, indoors, or as an accent plant for flowers or for larger, taller plants. 

While just about all types of leafy greens are easy to grow (including kale, chard, spinach, and mustard greens), lettuce is by far one of the easiest. Many types are even shade-tolerant, meaning you can plant them wherever you happen to have space.

Lettuce is great because it is a plant that you can plant in small batches, subsequently planting new batches one after the other. By planting multiple harvests, you’ll enjoy lettuce throughout the entire growing season – instead of being overrun all at once. To do this, try to plant a fresh crop every two to three weeks. 

Lettuce should be growing in well-draining soil that’s amended with aged compost. Harvest first thing in the morning, as harvesting later in the day can cause your lettuce to taste limp and soggy. 

Cucumbers

What goes best in a leafy green salad? A fresh, crunchy cucumber, of course! Cucumbers are perfect in salads and they’re also super easy to grow. They can be grown in a horizontal or a vertical fashion, so as long as you give them room in one direction to sprawl, they’ll go crazy! Just remember to water them regularly and plant them somewhere in which they’ll have access to constant sunlight. 

If you’re growing in a small space, consider planting a bush variety of cucumber instead of a vining species. You can start cucumber seeds indoors about three weeks before planting, or you can purchase seedlings at the local nursery. Regardless, these plants are warm-weather crops that should be planted long after the danger of frost has passed. 

Tomatoes

Although tomatoes are technically fruits, we’ll humor the traditional gardeners among us and put them on this list. Tomatoes can be grown in just about any size garden. Whether you want to grow them in hanging baskets, in containers, or in raised beds, tomatoes are easy to grow. There are plenty of types to choose from, too, including cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and beefsteak tomatoes. 

The beauty of growing tomatoes is that you don’t have to start them from seed  – they are easy to transplant and are incredibly hardy. 

Carrots

The humble carrot is truly a “set-and-forget” kind of crop. You can grow them just about anywhere – although you will want to keep in mind that they won’t grow as large if you have rocky soil. Choose ground that is deep, wells-raining, and loosely packed. Many people grow carrots in raised beds, but you could grow them in a container, too – just make sure they have plenty of sunlight.

They can even tolerate a frost! Good news for us forgetful gardeners. 

Radishes

Radishes grow really quickly, so even if you do make a mistake in growing them, you won’t have to worry – you can have another batch planted and mature in just three weeks. Versatile and easy to use in your booking, they aren’t just for salads but can also be used in stir-fries and other dishes, too. 

The secret to growing radishes is to avoid overcrowding the seeds. You need the dirt to be loose and the plants to be spaced far enough apart so that they do not compete with each other for space. 

Green Beans

Any kind of green bean can be grown in the backyard garden, from snap beans to shell beans or even whole beans. With hundreds of varieties to choose from, you’ll also get a great deal of entertainment out of snapping them! There are two major types of green beans you can grow – vine and bush. While bush green beans require less space, some people consider the vining variety easier to cultivate. 

Nevertheless, both types of green beans can be grown from seed and most allow for a continuous harvest throughout the growing season. Just make sure you have full sun and well-draining soil.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are surprisingly easy to grow, especially when you consider how expensive they are to purchase in the autumn season! However, all you need is warm soil and plenty of sunlight. There are dozens of different types of pumpkins you can grow, from miniatures to those that are perfect for Jack o’Lanterns. 

Zucchini 

Zucchini, as well as all other summer squashes, are super easy to grow. In fact, if you plant just one or two zucchini plants, you’ll likely find that you have so many that you’re forced to give them away to your neighbors! Zucchini plants grow well both in containers as well as directly in the ground. They are easy to grow from seed and require plenty of moisture and warm soil. 

When you plant zucchini, do so in well-draining soil, ideally, that which is amended with lots of compost. Full sunlight is best, and keep in mind that you will want to provide plenty of room for the vines to run. Water regularly and fertilize once a month. 

And don’t worry if you’re a gardening procrastinator, either. These seeds are best planted later in the season since they love the heat. So no worries if you forget!

Peas

Peas are similar to green beans in that it is easy to quickly become overrun with these flavorful pods. Grow one pea plant, and you’ll have enough to last you for quite some time. However, you can also simultaneously sow varieties with different maturity dates in order to get a continuous harvest throughout the summer. 

Another benefit of growing peas is that you don’t have to wait for the risk of frost to pass, either. You can plant these as soon as the soil can work. Two or more weeks before the last average frost date is fine.

Bell Peppers

A flavorful vegetable that is incredibly versatile, bell peppers can be grown indoors or outside. If you start seeds inside, you can do so about four to six weeks before transplanting them. You can also purchase seedlings from a nearby nursery, but most experienced gardeners don’t recommend trying to sow seeds directly. 

The reason for this is that bell peppers love heat, and need plenty of heat and sunlight in order to develop. You can’t plant seeds until all danger of frost has passed, and they likely won’t mature in time if you wait to start seed sat this point. 

When you plant, put them in direct sunlight, with each plant about six inches apart in well-drained soil. Water and fertilize regularly, and be sure to pull any weeds that appear – peppers are quite vulnerable to many types of weeds. 

Beets

Beets are easy vegetables to grow from seed. These develop quickly and form uniform bulbs when you grow them in loose soil, so for planting, just try to aerate the soil as much as possible to remove stones and clumps. For small beets, double your seeds in each row. This will produce smaller roots. 

Beets, like radishes, are ready for harvest quite early in the season. You don’t have to rely on the typical purple beets, either, to fill your garden beds and pantry. There are also red, white, and yellow beets available too!

Garlic

Surprised to see garlic on here? Don’t be! It’s another “set-and-forget” kind of vegetable. All you need to do is tuck cloves in the garden in the fall, mulching them with straw to reduce weeds and conserve moisture. You won’t harvest until the following year, pulling the bulbs in the midsummer. You can harvest once half the leaves have turned yellow and simply hang the plants to dry. 

The Easiest Vegetables to Grow for a Low-Maintenance Garden

Gardening doesn’t have to be tricky – nor does it require a ton of talent. You just need to have a good understanding of which vegetables will grow well in your chosen site. It’s not rocket science, but you should pick a spot that offers at least eight hours of sunlight and well-draining soil.

Don’t have these conditions on your farm? Don’t worry! You can still grow a garden. Instead, consider planting in containers or using raised beds to build your own ideal conditions wherever you want them to be. You’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time!