8 Best Vegetables to Grow in Idaho

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Quick Answer: Best Vegetables to Grow in Idaho

The best vegetables to grow in your Idaho garden are cool-weather plants like Lettuce, Kale, peas, and radish and warm-weather plants like tomato, squash, beans, and pepper. The best growing seasons for cool-weather plants are spring and fall, while for warm-weather plants it is summer.

If you’re looking for the best vegetables to grow in your vegetable garden in Idaho, you’ve come to the right place.

Check out this carefully curated and thoroughly researched list of vegetables you can grow.

Best Vegetables to Grow in Idaho

With an average daily high temperature of just 15 degrees Celsius, Idaho is one of the coldest states in the United States.

The climate is highly variable, with cold deep winters and warm summers.

Because of differences in elevation, soil type, topography, and vegetative cover, the growing season varies significantly across the state.

In some places, the climate changes within very short distances concerning changes in elevation, and the precipitation levels also vary significantly across regions.

The soil type varies according to the topography and climate. The most common soil type is  Mollisol, which is fertile and well-suited for plant growth and is rich in organic materials.

You should understand your region’s climate and soil type before picking the right variety of vegetables to grow.

Here are some best vegetables you can grow.

1. Lettuce

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant popular as a leaf vegetable but also grown for its seeds and stem.

Native to the Mediterranean region, it takes around 65-130 days to go from planting to harvesting.

Why Grow Lettuce?

Lettuce thrives in Idaho’s cold spring and fall months. This plant, unlike most vegetables, can thrive in the presence of snow and is frost-hardy.

Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate. It requires little to no fertilization, and once-a-week watering, and can be grown in any soil.

Lettuce is perfect for those with limited space.

It grows well in pots, raised garden beds, and even indoors. Moreover, it can be harvested throughout the year. The more you harvest, the more grows.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Lettuce has shallow roots and a spindly root system.
  • It is critical to fertilize and water plants on a regular basis.
  • Overwatering in heavy soil can cause root or head rots.
  • Diseases and pests: root/head rot, tip-burn; aphids, slugs

Here’s a guide to growing lettuce:

2. Kale

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) is grown primarily for its edible leaves, but some varieties are also ornamentals.

It is sometimes called a leaf cabbage and is a descendant of wild cabbage.

Kale is a biennial plant that originated in the eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia.

Why Grow Kale?

It is well suited to thrive in Idaho’s winter.

Kale is one of the toughest and perhaps only vegetables that can withstand extremely low temperatures while maintaining its distinctive dark green to purple color.

In Idaho, kale is one of the few vegetables that can be grown in gardening pots. It is a very adaptable vegetable, making it ideal for beginning gardeners.

Its ornamental and decorative features add color and elegance to any garden.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Kale requires fertilizers rich in nitrogen and regular watering.
  • Mulch the soil to prevent weed growth, retain moisture and keep the kale cool.
  • Kale, like lettuce, cannot withstand high temperatures and will become inedible after just one week in temperatures above 90℉.
  • Diseases and pests aphids

Here’s a guide to growing Kale:

3. Peas

Peas (Pisum sativum), also known as garden pea, is a herbaceous annual leguminous plant from the Fabaceae family.

It originated from the Mediterranean region and has a lifespan of 1 year.

Why Grow Peas?

In Idaho, winter and early spring are the best times to plant peas for the best flavor. Peas thrive in Idaho’s cool weather.

Peas do not require much space. They grow well with other vegetables and plants.

Peas are one of the few vegetables that grow well in containers.

It can be grown into a vertical garden with limited horizontal growing space. It is also ideal for raised garden beds, which are one of Idaho’s most popular gardening techniques.

The roots of the plant contain nodules that aid in nitrogen fixation, subsequently enriching the soil.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Peas will not tolerate Idaho’s summer heat
  • The pods should be picked frequently to keep the plants productive.
  • Provide a trellis or a similar structure to help the vines in climbing.
  • Diseases and pests: root rots, mildew; aphids, pea weevils.

Here’s a guide to growing peas:

4. 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 can thrive in the spring and even the winter of Idaho. It is one of the few vegetables that can tolerate frost. As a result, radishes can be grown all year long in Idaho.

It is also drought resistant and requires little water, sunlight, or even pest control.

 Radish is an easy-to-grow, fast-maturing vegetable that can be harvested within 3 weeks of planting. It also requires little space to grow.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • For best results, sow radish seeds right in the garden. Root disturbance occurs during transplantation.
  • The seeds can be protected from pests by placing row covers over them before planting.2,
  • Diseases and pests: Root Rot of Radish, Radish Mosaic Virus; Aphids, flea beetles.

Here’s a guide to growing radishes:

5. Tomato

The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a native of South America.

It is a common garden vegetable grown for its berries which are available in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. The plant usually lives for 6-8 months.

Why Grow Tomato?

The summer climate of Idaho would help tomatoes thrive.

With Idaho’s summers having the potential to get really hot, they also have the potential to produce an abundance of tomatoes as tomatoes grow bigger and more plentiful as the temperature goes higher.

They can be grown in small gardens because they are adaptable, easy to grow, and productive.

They can be grown in pots, window boxes, raised beds, vertical gardens, etc., where they are prolific producers.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • They require a location that is fertile, well-drained, and sunny, with at least a half-day of direct sunlight or more. They need strict pest control.
  • Overfertilization can lead to fruit deformities, cat-facing, and blossom drop.
  • They need to be staked or caged so they can withstand strong winds and also support their increasing weight as they get bigger.1,2
  • Diseases and pests: blossom end rot, leaf blight diseases; aphids, fruit worms, stink bugs, hornworms

Here’s a guide to growing tomatoes:

6. Squash

Squash is an umbrella term used for a variety of herbaceous vegetables in the genus Cucurbita belonging to the gourd family. They are annual plants.

Why Grow Squash?

It is an extremely versatile vegetable. There are warm and cold-season varieties along with varieties that can be grown in both climates.

Simply put, you can grow squash in your Idaho garden all year.

In contrast to summer squash, used when it is young and grows on compact, non-sprawling vines, winter squash is used when it is mature and grows on trailing vines.

You can plant squash next to tomatoes, beans, carrots, or cucumbers because it is an excellent cross-pollinator.

Established plants require little care and are tolerant of dry soil. These vegetables have a good storage life.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Squash dislikes constant moisture but does prefer routine watering.
  • The pant benefits from the weed-controlling and soil-warming properties of black plastic mulch.2,3
  • Diseases and pests: powdery mildew; squash bugs

Here’s a guide to growing zucchini and bush squash:

7. Beans

Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are biennial plants. Because they are among the most nutritious foods available, these warm-season plants are classified as “superfoods.”

These leguminous plants are native to Peru.

Why Grow Beans?

Idaho gardeners and farmers primarily grow beans because they require little water, are drought resistant, and thrive in the state’s summer.

The plant can be grown into vertical gardens, thus helping you save space, and can be harvested multiple times.

They are leguminous plants with nitrogen-fixing root nodules, which help in enriching the soil.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • They favor mildly acidic, well-drained soil, as well as 6 to 8 hours per day of direct sunlight. They are sensitive to soil salts.
  • Beans have a shallow root system and require meticulous upkeep, weeding, and watering during dry spells.
  • Diseases and pests: bacterial blight, bean leaf beetle.

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

8. Pepper

Peppers (Capsicum annuum), a tomato relative, come in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors.

The plant is indigenous to Mexico and lives for 3-5 years.

Why Grow Pepper?

Another heat-loving plant that can be easily grown in Idaho spring and summer is pepper. You can directly sow the seeds into your garden soil once the threat of frost is gone.

They, like tomatoes, perform better as the summer heats up.

They don’t require much space because they can be grown in pots or other containers.

In relation to the available space, they produce well. They are insect resistant to some extent.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few points to consider:

  • They require consistent watering during dry spells or they will develop blossom end rot.
  • Excessive nitrogen fertilization can harm these plants.2,3
  • Diseases and pests: blossom end rot, tobacco mosaic virus; aphids.

Here’s a guide to growing peppers:

What is the easiest-growing vegetable in Idaho?

The easiest-growing vegetable in Idaho is lettuce, followed by radishes, peas, and pepper.

What is the best time to grow vegetables in Nebraska?

The best time to grow warm-weather plants is mid-spring to summer to early fall, whereas the best time to grow cool-weather plants in spring and fall. There are also cold hardy plants that will survive winter.


Can cucumbers grow in Idaho?

Yes, you can grow them around the same time you grow tomatoes, peppers and beans, that is, after the risk of frost has passed. In warmer regions of Idaho where the growing season lasts for nearly seven months, you can grow these plants easily.

What to plant in May in Idaho?

Hardy vegetables, such as peas and radishes, can be planted as soon as the soil dries in the spring, or at any time between March 15 and May 1.

What is the cheapest vegetable to grow in Idaho?

Lettuce is the cheapest vegetable you can easily grow in Idaho, followed by tomatoes, peppers, winter squash etc.

Quick Recap: Top Vegetables to Grow In Idaho

Here is a quick summary of what vegetables grow well in Idaho!

VegetableWhy grow?
Lettuce1. Cold hardy, grows in containers
2. Easy to grow, less water and fertilizer
Kale1. Cold hardy, grows in containers
2. Ornamental
Peas1. Cold hardy, less space
2. Nitrogen-fixing
Radish1. Easy and fast growth
2. Requires less space
Tomato1. Require less space
2. Remarkably productive, variety of uses
Squash1. Summer and winter varieties
2. Low maintenance once established
Beans1. Drought hardy, less space
2. Nitrogen-fixing
Pepper1. Require less space
2. Produce well for the space given


I hope this article has assisted you in your quest for the best vegetables to grow in your Idaho vegetable patch.

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