Many gardeners enjoy planting a large variety of different vegetables, trying new types each year. There are two basic types of vegetables from which you can choose; vegetables that grow underneath the ground and those that grow above ground. If you dream of sun-ripened food and plants with their bounty displayed in full view, there are a wide variety from which to choose.

Fresh salad vegetables
credit: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
Many vegetables grow above the soil.

Lettuce

Close-up of lettuce
credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
lettuce

Lettuce is one of the earliest vegetables to be picked in the spring, giving home gardeners a welcome taste of fresh green crunchiness early in the season. Lettuce can grow as separate leaves or bunched into heads. The entire lettuce plant above the ground consists of leaves, and everything that grows can be eaten. Many seed companies sell mixed packets of lettuces so that you can try many different varieties for your salads.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers
credit: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
cucumbers

Cucumbers are long thin vegetables that grow on vines. The sturdy vines grow up trellises or fences quite easily, making them a common vegetables for the home gardener to produce. 6- to 8-inch cucumbers will be ready to pick in the middle of summer, and will continue to ripen throughout the season as long as you continue to pick them every three days or so.

Pumpkin

Close-up of pumpkin
credit: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
pumpkin

Pumpkins are classically thought of as material for Halloween decorations, but they are much more than that. Pumpkins can be turned into pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread, pies, custards and soup. This gourd loves warm weather, so don't plant until all chance of frost has gone past. Pumpkin vines grow very large, so plant them 3 to 5 feet apart. The pumpkins will appear in early summer and grow until the frost has appeared in the fall. Many people keep one plant separate to try to grow a giant pumpkin for Halloween, but the smaller versions are easier to deal with for cooking and eating.

Tomato

Ripe tomatoes on vine
credit: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
tomato

More tomato plants are grown by gardeners than any other vegetable, and deservedly so. This versatile veggie is tasty eaten fresh in salads and sandwiches, and preserves easily by canning or freezing for use in sauces, soups and stews later in the year. There are hundreds of tomato varieties, from tiny cherry tomatoes to sandwich-sized beefsteaks. There are heirloom varieties that have been around for generations and hybrids that were developed in the past couple of years for resistance to particular plant diseases or to produce new colors or flavors.