7 Fruits and Vegetables That Will Challenge Beginning Gardeners

Just getting into growing food? You might want to wait before trying your green thumb at these plants.

If you're a new gardener, you might be energized by the prospect of growing food at home. Inspired by your early successes, you might want to plant a bunch of plants. Maybe you can already see the future meals they'll become. But before you head out and buy seeds or seedlings, know which fruits and vegetables fall on the higher end of the difficulty spectrum. Some can be pretty tricky.

These seven produce items are tough to grow. Maybe you'll want to leave them to the professionals and instead try these seven types of fruits and vegetables (that are super easy to grow). Or maybe you're up for a challenge and want to get planting anyway. Good for you! (And consider yourself warned.)


With grapes, you'll need to take a long view. A very long view. Vines grow for at least two years before they produce fruit. If you want to use the fruit to make wine, it'll take another few years on top of that for the grapes to provide the right balance. Grapes also require trellising. Proceed only if you're up for a long-term time and energy investment.


Celery grows from tiny, hard-to-work-with seeds and requires soil that retains a lot of moisture. This vegetable has a marathon, multi-month growing season. And at the end of this season, your reward is a stalk that isn't much better than the grocery store variety.


Cauliflower is even harder than its difficult relative broccoli. For one, it's finicky about temperature, which can't be too hot or too cold. Heads of the vegetable are known to draw pests. And if you have visions of harvesting snow-white cauliflower, know that they tend to grow into colors more off-white or yellow.


True, chomping into a prime wedge of watermelon on a sweltering day is something great. The trouble is getting there, because it's hard to tell when a watermelon is ready. Pick them too early, and they'll be whitish rather than pink and juicy. They also need a lot of space, not to mention heat, making them a challenge in northern states.


Artichokes require lots of room, too–at least 4 feet between plants. You'll need a warm, Mediterranean-like climate (like the one in which they evolved), or they'll struggle. The thorniest part of growing artichokes, though, might be the harvest. Snipping heads from plants comes with unexpected piercings from hidden spines.


As much as you may like eggplant, there's a kind of beetle that might like it more. Pests are an issue when growing this vegetable. Lack of heat, too, might thwart your efforts. Eggplant should get a whole lot of sun and hot days. It also should be staked, so it isn't weighed down by heavy purple fruit.


Though they produce shoots quickly, onions can be tricky. From varietal to varietal, onions differ in their sensitivity to changes in daylight and weather. They are a cooler-weather crop, and excess humidity can harm the bulbs. Bottom line: If you thought cutting them makes you cry, try growing them.

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