Because my back was sore this week, I employed the kids to do more garden work. For example, they sowed corn.

Kids can do this. Corn is one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed.

This post explains why some vegetables are easier to start from seed than others, and at the end there’s a list of — what I’ve experienced to be — the easy, not too hard, and tricky vegetables to grow from seed.

Big seeds

Different vegetables grow from seeds of different sizes. Seeds that are big have the advantage of being easy to hold and place into the soil. Seeds that are big also contain a lot of energy so they’re not as finicky about how deeply you sow them. (Bury a tiny carrot seed slightly too deeply and it never comes to life.) Both of these qualities make vegetables that come from big seeds easier.

Corn and bean seeds are big.
Parsley seeds are tiny.

Fast germination

Vegetable seeds vary in how quickly they wake up and start growing after you sow them. Seeds that start to grow faster are easier because you don’t have to attend to them for as long — making sure the soil around them stays moist or that it stays within a temperature range.

Lettuce seedlings eight days after sowing. Lettuce seed is small, but at least it germinates rapidly.

List of easiest vegetables to grow from seed


Corn, peas, and beans.

These seeds are big and they also germinate fast so I consider them the easiest of all.

Not too hard

Lettuce, greens, basil, onion, beets, brassicas, squash, melons, cucumber, tomato, radish.

These seeds are either big or they germinate fast, or a little of both, so I find them not too difficult to grow from seed.


Carrots, parsley, pepper, eggplant.

These seeds are either tiny or they take a long time to germinate unless conditions are perfect so I call them tricky.

Starting seeds in containers is usually easier than sowing directly in the ground because you can more easily control the moisture and temperature.

(Help in deciding which vegetables to grow from seed versus plants: “Should you grow vegetables from seeds or plants?”)

What to do now?

Take away three things from this post. One, don’t feel bad if you’ve had a hard time growing some of the tricky seeds. (And pat yourself on the back if you’ve done so successfully.)

Two, if you’re new to starting vegetables from seeds, avoid the tricky ones at first.

And three, if you’d like to start some vegetable seeds successfully right now, then sow corn and beans. It’s early July, and the air and soil are warm, just as corn and beans like it. You’re going to win!

(My post on growing corn in Southern California.)

Always remember how important timing is. Get my gardening calendar or check out this post: “Which vegetables can I plant now in Southern California?”

All of my Yard Posts are listed HERE

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