10 Best Vegetables to Grow in Nebraska

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Quick Answer: Best Vegetables to Grow in Nebraska

The best vegetables to grow in your Nebraska garden are beans, cucumber, eggplant, okra, pepper, corn, cauliflower, onion, peas, and greens like cabbage.  The best seasons to grow are spring and fall for cool-weather plants and summer for warm-weather plants.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own food.

If you’ve been feeling the same way, it may surprise you that Nebraska is a great place to grow various vegetables; keep reading to learn about the best vegetables in your garden.

Best Vegetables to Grow in Nebraska

Due to Nebraska’s typical Midwestern climate, the seasons are marked by significant extremes—hot summers and chilly winters. Temperatures are generally consistent throughout the entire state although the eastern region tends to be more humid.

Nebraska has a diverse range of soil types. Soils are a valuable natural resource in Nebraska.

The state contains an abundance of soils with high natural fertility as well as extensive sections of soil that are well-suited to vegetable cultivation.

Knowing your area’s soil type and temperature is essential for selecting the best vegetables to plant in your garden.

Following is a list of 10 best vegetables you can grow in Nebraska.

1. Beans

Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are leguminous biennial plants. These warm-season plants are classified as a “superfood” because they are among the most nutritious foods.

These pulses originated from Peru.

Why Grow Beans?

The Nebraska climate, with its warm days and cool nights, is ideal for growing beans, especially in the western region, where the climate is more arid.

Nebraska is also one of the top five bean-producing states.

Beans are simple to grow, take up little space, and contribute to soil enrichment via nitrogen fixation by their root nodules.

You can choose from a variety of types, such as bush and pole varieties, depending on your preferences and the amount of space available.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • They prefer 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day, as well as mildly acidic, well-drained soil.
  • Because of their shallow root systems, beans require meticulous maintenance, weeding, and watering during dry spells.
  • Diseases and pests: common blight, halo blight, brown spot, and wilt; bean leaf beetle.

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

2. Cucumber

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), a warm-season creeping plant belonging to the gourd family, is native to India. The plant has an estimated lifespan of 70 days.

Why Grow Cucumber?

In early June, the Nebraska climate is perfect for cucumber planting. It is a sun-loving plant that will thrive well in the heat, especially in the more humid eastern region.

Under favorable conditions, the plants proliferate and produce heavily.

Bush varieties are available to help you save space. Slugs and other pests are less likely to attack trellis-grown varieties.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Cucumbers are extremely sensitive to adverse conditions, and even a small amount of stress can have an impact on their growth and productivity.
  • To maintain an ideal canopy, they require regular pruning to a single stem and training along vertical wires. You can plant them next to corn for the best results.1,2
  • Diseases and pests: Alternaria leaf blight, powdery mildew, cucumber beetles.

Here’s a growing guide for cucumber:

3. Eggplant

The herbaceous, tropical plant known as the eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a member of the tomato family and is famous for its large, egg-shaped fruit.

This annual plant is believed to have originated in India.

Why Grow Eggplant?

Another plant that thrives in Nebraska’s summer heat is eggplant.

The plant would really benefit from the consistently hot, muggy summers and its frequent thunderstorms.

Most varieties are drought-tolerant. The plants do not require an external pollinator and hence they can be kept covered to protect them from pests.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • To reduce heat/ drought stress, the plant can be mulched.
  • Eggplants must be harvested gently so that they do not bruise.
  • Diseases and pests: flea beetle; Phomopsis fruit rot.

Here’s a growing guide for eggplant:

4. Okra

The tender, scrumptious, and nutrient-rich pods of the warm-weather crop okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) are what make it so popular.

Its native habitat is Africa’s Abyssinian Center, and it has a four-month lifespan.

Why Grow Okra?

Okra is yet another hot-weather crop that would benefit from the summer weather of Nebraska.

Okra is a nitrogen-fixing plant and thus enriches the soil. It also helps prevent weed growth by shading the ground with its broad leaves

Harvest can be reaped just  50-60 days after sowing and Okra contains about 10% of our daily recommended amount of Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Low watering and full sun are required, but during dry spells, water thoroughly.
  • Use natural fertilizers like fish emulsion and seaweed to fertilize once per month.
  • Pests and diseases: corn earworms, stink bugs, ants, and root-knot nematodes.

Here’s a growing guide for Okra:

5. Pepper

There are numerous colors, sizes, and varieties of peppers (Capsicum annuum) from sweet to hot. The plant, which is Mexican in origin, has a lifespan of three to five years.

Why Grow Pepper?

Pepper grows well in containers, which allows you to save space and simultaneously get good yields for the available space.

The hot, tart and sweet varieties all enhance the flavor of your food and are high in dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6

Pepper is a warm-season annual vegetable crop very famous in Nebraska gardens.

Many Nebraskans have been featured in news stories for their garden peppers.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Drought and excessive nitrogen fertilization can harm pepper plants.
  • During dry seasons, they require routine watering to prevent blossom end rot.
  • Pruning helps in limiting fungal diseases.
  • Diseases and pests: blossom end rot, tobacco mosaic virus; aphids.

Here’s a growing guide for pepper:

6. Corn

Corn (Zea mays), a grass family member, is a cereal grain that was first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico.

Corn is an annual plant with a relatively short lifespan of 120 to 150 days.

Why Grow Corn?

Nebraska is known for its corn. It belongs to the “corn belt” that is well-suited for corn production.

The average temperature and rainfall in the spring and summer of Nebraska are perfect for corn to thrive.

There are many excellent varieties of corn available and needless to say, corn is a staple food in the states.

Corn husks break down easily and are a great source of nutrients for the soil and also attract useful worms.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Water adequately and consistently. You can mulch around the base to help retain moisture.
  • Since corn is a heavy feeder, it has to be fed adequately, especially with nitrogen.
  • Diseases and pests: gray leaf spot; corn earworms, corn leaf aphid, thrips.

Here’s a growing guide for corn:

7. Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is a cruciferous vegetable rich in fiber and B-Vitamins.

Native to the Mediterranean sea region, cabbage is a biennial plant that is often grown as an annual crop.

Why Grow Cauliflower?

In Nebraska gardens, a number of cauliflower varieties can be successfully grown.

You can start planting in the 1st week of April if it is not too cool, or you can wait until mid-April and your harvest will be ready by June.

There are self-blanching varieties that limit the amount of light that contacts the developing head and hence help in heat resistance.

There are also cold-resistant varieties that are frost-hardy.

Cauliflower can be kept for about a month in the refrigerator or root cellar. It freezes well, too.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Throughout the growing season, keep plants evenly watered and well-fed.
  • Grow in rich, moist soil that is free of drought stress.
  • White cauliflower should be blanched. Color development in green, orange and purple types is dependent on sunlight.
  • Diseases and pests: cabbage worms, aphids, flea beetle.

Here’s a growing guide for cauliflower:

8. Onion

Onions (Allium cepa) are popular root vegetables in the amaryllis family grown for their edible bulbs. This herbaceous biennial plant is native to Central Asia.

Why Grow Onion?

In Nebraska, long-day onion varieties grow well due to the availability of sunlight in abundance.

Onions are easy to grow and can be planted early in the spring and you can get your harvest from midsummer through the fall.

They are inexpensive and many long-day and intermediate-day varieties are resistant to foliar diseases and store well.

Onions are cold-hardy vegetables and can tolerate light frosts.

Onion skins can be used for mulching, and the dried onion peels will quickly break down and add potassium and calcium to your soil.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Onions should be grown in a location with full sun and good drainage.
  • Although onions require a lot of water, the soil shouldn’t ever become soggy.
  • Once the onions are planted, nitrogen fertilizer should be applied every other week.
  • Diseases and pests: bulb and neck rots, smut; thrips.

Here’s a growing guide for Onion:

9. Peas

Peas (Pisum sativum) are annual plants belonging to the leguminous family.

One of the earliest vegetables to be discovered, the wild plant is native to the Mediterranean region.

Why Grow Peas?

Peas are cool-season plants usually planted in the spring and harvested in the summer.

They are ideal for western Nebraska because they require moisture during April, May, and June, when the region receives the majority of its rain,

Their versatility in the kitchen, ease of cultivation, and low maintenance once established have made them popular in home gardens.

Their roots contain nodules that aid in nitrogen fixation, enriching the soil. They take up little space and can be grown in a vertical garden or on raised beds.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • These plants require full sun and well-drained soil.
  • They require less fertilization than many other vegetables, so a little compost added to the soil before planting is usually sufficient.
  • Choose a location where vining peas can grow up on a trellis or other structure.
  • Diseases and pests: root rots, mildew; aphids, pea weevils.

Here’s a growing guide for peas:

10. Cabbage

In Nebraska gardens, cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a popular leafy vegetable.

Cabbage, a Middle Eastern native, is ready for harvest 90-120 days after planting.

Why Grow cabbage?

In Nebraska, cabbage is a resilient, simple-to-grow vegetable that can be grown in the spring or fall.

The majority of varieties produce green heads, but some do as well. It stores well for long periods of time.

Cabbage is high-yielding and most varieties are frost-hardy.

Maintenance and Care

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Cabbage requires 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day to grow.
  • Fertilizers high in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and boron are necessary for growing cabbage plants.
  • Pests and diseases: Aphids and cabbage worms.

Here’s a growing guide for cabbages:

What is the easiest-growing vegetable in Nebraska?

Beans, peas, and cucumbers are some of the easiest-growing vegetables in Nebraska.

What is the best time to grow vegetables in Nebraska?

The best time to grow warm-weather plants is late spring to early fall, you can start planting around mid-May. The best time to grow cool-weather plants is spring and fall, you can start planting in April for spring plants and September for fall plants.


What crop grows best in Nebraska?

Corn is the best and most widely grown crop in Nebraska on a large scale. However, when it comes to backyard gardens, there might be other plants that grow better and easier.

What to plant in may in Nebraska?

By May 1st you can start planting cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, and summer squash. Around mid-May, you can start planting eggplant, muskmelons, okra, peppers, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

When can you plant tomatoes outside in Nebraska?

The suggested planting date in eastern Nebraska is May 10. Gardeners in southeastern Nebraska can plant one week earlier, while those in northern Nebraska must wait an additional week. The last practical date to plant tomatoes is around June 20.

Quick Recap: Top Vegetables to Grow In Nebraska

Here is a quick summary of the best veggies you can grow in Nebraska –

Table: Summary of Best Veggies to Grow in Nebraska

VegetableWhy grow?
Beans1. Drought hardy, less space
2. Nitrogen-fixing
Cucumber1. Mature quickly
2. Bear lot of produce throughout the growing period
Okra1. Enriches soil and reduces weed
2. Harvest reaped within 2 months
Eggplant1. Drought tolerant
2. Do not require an external pollinator
Pepper1. Require less space
2. Produce well for the space given
Corn1. Staple crop of Nebraska
2. Enrich soil
Cauliflower1. Heat/cold resistant varieties available
2. Stores well
Onion1. Inexpensive
2. Hardy vegetable
Peas1. Cold hardy
2. Nitrogen-fixing
Kale1. Cold hardy
2. Ornamental


I hope this article was helpful in your quest for the best vegetables to grow in your Nebraska garden.

If you have any suggestions or experiences that you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

Lastly, I urge you to share this article with your friends and family so they, too can take advantage of this great resource.

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