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Growing a garden at home is a great thing to get into. It comes with exercise, fresh organic food, peace of mind, and a lot of self-empowerment. Gardens are magnificent places wrought with abundance and teeming with accomplishment. And, it’s good practice to keep them that way.

The truth about gardening is that there are a lot of things that a pretty agreeable to grow. All those summer cucumbers, squashes, and tomatoes are willing participants. The spring peas and garden greens just want an early start. Green beans and peppers are looking for warm weather. Find the right timing, and they’ll all do it for you.

But, some crops just don’t come so easily. They require precise timing, as well as temperature, sunlight, moisture, and a steady hand. They aren’t necessarily for novice growers and can lead to frustration rather than feasting. That’s not to say a home grower should never try them, but it is good to know the challenges that await ahead.


Artichokes are perennial vegetables, and they are closely related to thistle, a weed that’s known to be wily and tough. You’d think they’d be an easy addition to the home garden or orchard. They are certainly tasty and worthy of inclusion.

However, they are finicky. They like mild winter and summer temperatures, a la the Mediterranean, and they won’t tolerant much deviation. They are also persnickety about water, requiring plenty but abhorring too much.

Additionally, they like rich soil, but it needs to be close to neutral on the pH scale, and they are popular amongst lots of pests, including aphids, mites, slugs, snails, and caterpillars.


Carrots can be a bit hit or miss in the home garden. Sometimes they come out a real winner and others a complete dud. Undoubtedly, homegrown carrots have a flavor far superior to those at the supermarket.

The big thing with growing carrots is that they only germinate within very specific conditions, and as with most root vegetables, they need to be directly sowed into the garden.

Homegrown carrots can also be susceptible to odd shapes and such if the soil has too many rocks or there is too much rain during the growing period.


Cauliflower has enjoyed some real success on the market as of late. It’s a great substitute for otherwise meat dishes like hot “wings” and piccata.

It’s a pain to grow, though. It doesn’t tolerate much variation in temperature, neither overly warm nor cool. It’s also plagued by cabbage pests like cabbage worms, slugs, and clubroot.


The ultimate seasoning vegetable and soup addition, celery gets overlooked more often than not, but it’s a worthy addition to the veggie crisper.

That said, it’s a bear in the garden. It has a long germination period of one month, and it requires a long but cool growing season. Pests and diseases love celery. They come with a litany of problems.

Celeriac is slightly better for home growers.


Though eggplant is part of the nightshade family, which are favorites in the vegetable aisles: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Most tend to grow with a vengeance.

Eggplant, though, is a difficult plant in the garden. It is susceptible to pests, particularly flea beetles, and the plants struggle to become large enough to produce vegetables.

Head lettuce

Lettuce is typically not so difficult to grow, and that’s especially true for loose-leaf lettuces which don’t have to form a head.

With head lettuce, however, the need for consistently cool temperatures can be problematic for a lot of USDA Zones. If iceberg and romaine are a must, then it might be better to leave it to someone else to grow.

If other lettuces make for an exciting salad, the home garden can come through for you.


If ever there were a vegetable that acts as the unsung hero of most dishes, it is the onion. It is a seasoning base for just about every savory dish.

Surprisingly, onions are notoriously annoying to grow. Most people opt for sets (little onion starts) over seeds because seeds are a pain.

Then, onions come in weird varieties like long-day, short-day, and intermediate-day. The wrong type can spell disaster.

For that matter, the right type of onion. doesn’t guarantee success. They have to be planted at the right depth, given the right amount of sun and water and kept from bolting in escalating summer temperatures. Whew!

When You Are Ready

None of this is to say that a grower should never attempt these veggies in his/her/their patch. Rather, it’s to point out that these particular vegetables are going to require a bit more finesse and attention. For beginners and “lazy” gardeners, energy might be more productive elsewhere.

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