10 Best Vegetables to grow in Rhode Island

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Quick Answer: Best Vegetables to grow in Rhode Island

The best vegetables to grow in Rhode Island are eggplants, tomatoes, beans, peas, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, and onions. The best seasons to grow vegetables in Rhode Island are spring, summer, and fall.

If you are planning to grow a vegetable garden in Rhode Island, this article will be of great assistance to you.

Continue reading to find out.

Best Vegetables to Grow in Rhode Island

The climate in Rhode Island is humid continental, with warm summers and cold winters.

The southern coastal areas of the state have a vast transition zone into subtropical climates, with hot summers and cold winters with a mix of rain and snow.

The state soil is Narragansett silt loam soil, a well-drained soil suitable for growing plants. Most other soils of Rhode Island contain varying proportions of sand, silt and clay.

It is crucial to know your area’s soil type and environmental conditions to choose the best variety of vegetables to grow.

You can look for the best-suited varieties of the following vegetables.

1. Eggplant

Eggplant (Solanum melongena), also known as aubergine, is a nightshade family member and is famous for its large, egg-shaped fruit.

This herbaceous annual plant is believed to have originated in India.

Why Grow Eggplant?

Eggplant is a warmth-loving plant and hence it can grow in Rhode island well during the summer.

You can start the plants indoors in April and transplant them outside in early June once it is sufficiently warm and sunny.

Eggplants can be harvested in about two months after transplanting.

The plants do not require an external pollinator, so they can be kept covered to protect them from pests.

Maintenance and Care

Eggplants require full sun and consistent soil moisture-typically about an inch of water per week.

Add compost to and mulch your soil for the best results. Regular weeding must also be done.

Flea beetles, aphids, Colorado potato beetles, Cercospora leaf spot, damping off, Early blight, and Phomopsis fruit rot are a few common concerns.

Here’s a growing guide for eggplant:

2. Tomato

The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), an eggplant relative, is a popular garden vegetable grown for its edible berries.

It lives for 6-8 months and is native to South America, Mexico, and Central America.

Why Grow Tomatoes?

Like eggplants, tomatoes grow well in Rhode Island when planted outside in early June and can be planted indoors in late March.

They are easy to grow, versatile, take up little area, and yield a lot of fruit. Tomatoes are also a nutrient-dense superfood.

There are multiple varieties that are suited to thrive in Rhode Island’s climate.

Indeterminate (vining) types of tomatoes produce fruit all season and mature and ripen at different times, whereas determinate (bush) types have fruit simultaneously.

Maintenance and Care

They require full sun, adequate warmth, and potassium-rich fertilizers (avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization).

Staking and trimming improve yield and quality while making harvesting more convenient.

Avoid overwatering, especially during periods of low light and cool weather.

Common concerns include aphids, flea beetles, leafminers, damping Off, early blight, bacterial leaf spot, and bacterial blight.

3. Beans

Beans (ge: Phaseolus) are herbaceous to woody leguminous plants that are either annual or perennial.

Beans are classified as ‘superfoods’ and are native to Central and South America.

Why Grow Beans?

Different kinds of beans, pinto, snap, and baby lima, can thrive in the environmental conditions of Rhode Island. Beans require little water and can survive droughts.

You can sow them directly in your garden from late May to early August and get your harvest in 60-80 days from sowing.

The plants, whether bush or pole type, require little growing space and can be harvested multiple times. These legumes have nitrogen-fixing root nodules that aid in soil enrichment.

Maintenance and Care

They prefer mildly acidic, well-drained soil and 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day and they are sensitive to soil salts.

Because beans have a shallow root system, they require careful maintenance and weeding.

Bacterial blight and the bean leaf beetle are two common nuisances.

Here’s a guide to growing bush and pole beans:

4. Peas

Peas (Pisum sativum) are annual herbaceous plants in the Fabaceae family.

Peas, leguminous and native to the Mediterranean region, make excellent garden plants.

Why Grow Peas?

Because peas are cold-season plants, in Rhode Island, they are best planted in early spring. You can sow them in late March and obtain your harvest within 2 months.

Bush varieties are compact, do not require a lot of space, and grow well with other vegetables and plants.

Vining varieties also do not take up much space and require a trellis-like structure to climb onto.

Maintenance and Care

Peas require full sun and well-drained soil but are heat-sensitive plants.

They don’t need much fertilizer, and the pods should be picked frequently to keep the plants productive.

Do not use too much nitrogen fertilizer, as this will promote foliage growth rather than pea pod growth.

The most common concerns are root rots, mildew, aphids, and pea weevils.

Here’s a guide to growing peas:

5. Spinach

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a member of the Chenopodiaceae  family that is grown annually for its leaves and biennially for its seeds.

This popular leafy green is native to central and western Asia.

Why Grow Spinach?

It is a hardy cold-weather plant that will do well in Rhode Island from late March to early May.

The harvest is available in a minimum of 40 to a maximum of 90 days after sowing.

If you are starting with small plants with healthy root systems, you can expect your harvest in even 15-20 days.

In addition to spinach being incredibly nutritious, it is versatile in the kitchen and is a fast and easy-growing plant.

Maintenance and Care

Spinach requires well-drained neutral soil and full sun to partial shade to grow well. Water consistently or mulch to retain moisture, but do not overwater the plants.

You can also use row covers to maintain cool soil and keep off pests.

Some common insect pests are leaf-eating caterpillars, beet armyworms, cutworms, weevils, aphids, and leaf miners.

Downy mildew, anthracnose, Cladosporium Leaf spot, Stemphylium leaf spot, damping off, and root rot are a few common diseases.

Here is a guide for growing spinach:

6. Lettuce

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant grown for its leaves but also for its seeds and stem.

It is native to the Mediterranean region and takes 45-90 days from planting to harvesting.

Why Grow Lettuce?

Lettuce grows well in the cold spring and fall months of Rhode Island. Unlike most vegetables, this plant can survive the presence of snow and is frost-hardy.

Lettuce is one of the simplest vegetables to grow. It requires little to no fertilizer, and watering once a week and can be grown in any soil.

Lettuce is ideal for those who have limited space. It thrives in containers, raised garden beds, and even indoors.

Furthermore, it can be harvested all year. The more you harvest, the more lettuce grows.

Maintenance and Care

Well-draining soil and a cool but sunny location are best for growing lettuce. The root system of lettuce is spindly and has shallow roots, which call for careful cultivation.

Regular fertilizer and hydration of plants are essential. Root or head rots may result from over-irrigation in heavy soil.

Some common concerns include root and head rot, tip-burn, downy mildew, leaf spot, aphids, and slugs.

Here’s a guide to growing lettuce:

7. Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family grown for its edible masses of partially developed flower structures and fleshy stalks.

This annual plant is native to Asia.

Why Grow Cauliflower?

Cauliflower can be grown as a spring or fall plant in Rhode Island. 

You can start seeds indoors in late April and transplant them outside in late May or in early June and in early July.

Choline, an important chemical involved in brain development, is abundant in cauliflower and in addition to this, cauliflower contains a wealth of other nutrients and antioxidants.

The plants grow quickly, require minimal maintenance, and may be grown in various soil types.

Most types are not very susceptible to illnesses and pests, and pests can also be kept off because of the cooler temperatures in which the plants are grown.

Maintenance and Care

Hardening the plants for a week or two before transferring them to the garden can be beneficial.

Water with 2 inches of water per square foot once a week. Cauliflower heads are ready to harvest when compact, white, and firm.

Common problems include damping off, black rot, clubroot, powdery mildew, cabbage worms, aphids, and flea battle.

Here is a guide for growing cauliflower:

8. Carrot

Carrots (Daucus carota) are commonly grown root vegetables known for their flavor, crispy texture, and nutritional value. These biennials are native to Afghanistan.

Why Grow Carrots?

Carrots will grow well in Rhode Island as the climate suits carrots.

They can be sown from late March to late July and harvested 60-80 days after sowing.

They are easy to grow, thrive in garden beds, and require little care. They do best in full sun but also do fine in partial shade.

Maintenance and Care

Loose, well-draining soil and at least 1 inch of water per week are required for best results.

Carrots can be harmed by hard, compacted soil and overwatering.

Add a couple of inches of compost or well-rotted manure and a small amount of general-purpose fertilizer before planting.

Weeds compete with young plants, so weeding must be done carefully.

Carrot weevils, carrot rust fly, flea beetles, aster yellow, black root rot, and common scab are just a few of the plant’s problems.

Here is a guide for growing carrots in containers:

9. Radish

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cool-season crunchy root vegetable belonging to the mustard/cabbage family.

It is grown as an annual or biennial plant and is native to China.

Why Grow Radish?

Radishes thrive in Rhode Island’s climate. They can be sown from late March to late August in Rhode Island and is one of the few vegetables that can tolerate frost.

You can expect your harvest in a month or two.

Radish is a quick-maturing vegetable that requires little space to grow. It is drought tolerant and needs little water, sunlight, or pest control.

Maintenance and Care

They require well-drained soil that is mildly acidic. Radish plants prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Water the plants once a week with one inch of water.

Root Rot of Radishes, Radish Mosaic Virus, aphids, and flea beetles are some common concerns.1

Here’s a guide to growing radishes:

10. Onion

Onions (Allium cepa) plants are grown as root vegetables for their edible bulbs. Allium cepa (onions) are root vegetables produced for their edible bulbs.

This herbaceous biennial plant is native to Central Asia and is a member of the amaryllis family.

Why Grow Onion?

Onions are cold-tolerant vegetables that can tolerate light frosts. In Rhode Island, you can plant onion sets throughout April.

The bulbs will be ready for harvest after 3-4 months.

There are onion cultivars that mature quickly and are well-suited to the climate of Rhode Island.

Long-day onions grow well in Rhode Island because it is above the 35th parallel latitude.

Many of these onions are inexpensive, resistant to foliar diseases, and keep well.

Maintenance and Care

Growing onions in full light with appropriate drainage is optimal. Despite the fact that onions require a lot of water, they should never be grown in wet soil.

Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied every other week after the onions are planted.

Common issues include bulb and neck rots, smut, and thrips.

Here is a guide to growing Onions:

What is the easiest-growing vegetable in Rhode Island?

Lettuce, peas, beans, radishes, carrots, and tomatoes are the easiest to grow.

What is the best time to grow vegetables in Rhode Island?

Spring, summer, and fall are all the best times to grow vegetables in Rhode Island, depending on the type of vegetable.

Some of the cold-hardy vegetables can withstand mild frosts.


Which vegetables are the fastest to grow in Rhode Island?

Radishes, spinach, carrots, beans, peas and salad greens are some of the fastest-growing vegetables in Rhode Island.

What vegetables to plant in the fall in Rhode Island?

Cold hardy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli etc can be planted in the fall in Rhode Island.

What is the cheapest vegetable to grow in Rhode Island?

Tomato, onions, and lettuce are among the cheapest vegetables to grow

Quick Recap: Top Vegetables to Grow In Rhode Island

VegetablesWhy grow?
Eggplant1. Drought tolerant
2. Do not require an external pollinator
Tomato1. Require less space
2. Remarkably productive
Beans1. Easy to grow, less space
2. Nitrogen-fixing, drought hardy
Peas1. Cold hardy
2. Nitrogen-fixing
Spinach1. Hardy and easy growing
2. Fast harvest
Lettuce1. Cold hardy, grows in containers
2. Easy to grow, less water and fertilizer
Cauliflower1. Cold hardy, little care
2. High in choline
Carrot1. Need little care
2. Thrive well in cold
Radish1. Easy and fast growth
2. Requires less space
Onion1. Inexpensive
2. Hardy vegetable


I hope this guide has helped you shortlist and decide on which veggies are suitable for your garden.

Please share this post with others who want to grow vegetables in Rhode Island, and feel free to contact us with any recommendations you may have.

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