10 Easy-to-Grow Plants for First-Time Gardeners

No green thumb? No problem.
No green thumb? No problem. / fotolinchen/Getty Images
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7. Potatoes

person holding potato in front of garden
An urban gardener showing off their potato. / Carsten Koall/GettyImages

The average American eats more than 100 pounds of these tasty tubers per year. With spud cultivation, you don’t have to worry about planting seeds. Instead, the objective here is to find a potato tuber that’s grown a few buds that are around one quarter to one third of an inch in length. Cut the potato into chunks, leaving at least one bud on each segment. Before you move on from there, store these wedges indoors at room temperature for 48 to 72 hours.

If you’ve got a lot of space to work with, you can grow potatoes in vast rows across your backyard. (For instructions on how to do that, see here.) But if space is limited, you can cultivate potato plants in bottomless half-bushel baskets. Alternatively, as Janice Stillman of the Old Farmer’s Almanac explains in this video, a trash can with some holes drilled into the base also make for effective containers.

In any event, you’ll need to start out shortly after the last spring frost. Take your barrel or basket and place it in a sunny locale. Fill it with loamy potting soil and bury the chunks 2 to 4 inches beneath the surface. Give them an inch of water every week and they’ll be ready to harvest by midsummer. Home-made French fries or mashed potatoes, here we come!