People new to gardening or those without the time or inclination to fuss with plants often choose self-pollinating vegetables due to their ease of propagation compared to those that require insect, wind or artificial pollination by a human. Self-pollinating vegetables can grow in most U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones. Gardeners can count on a true plant from year to year and often save seeds from high-yielding plants.
Salad greens, such as spinach and lettuce, are self-pollinating vegetables. Gardeners in northern climates can often plant two rounds of greens each year, the first in the spring and a second in the fall. The male reproductive cells, or anthers are fused together and completely surround the female cells, or the stigma and style. As the flower grows, the style grows through the anther cone and is self-pollinated, explains the SeedSavers website. Most varieties of lettuce will still produce seeds that can be saved for the next gardening season even as the gardener harvests the leaves for eating.
Herbaceous plants, such as chicory and endive, are self-pollinating plants often found in the wild as well as cultivated in the garden. Gardeners grow chicory to eat the leaves in salads, as well as for the buds and roots, which are often brewed as a substitute for coffee, especially in times of economic difficulty. Due to the bitterness of endive and chicory, these vegetables are usually eaten as a mixture with other greens if consumed raw, although cooking the greens in a soup, stew or sauce helps to mellow the flavour.
Legumes, including shelling peanuts, peas, snap peas, lima beans and green beans, including bush and climbing varieties, are self-pollinators, explains the Harvest to Table website. These vegetables grow well when sowed directly in the ground as opposed to starting in a container indoors and then transplanted. These plants self-fertilise even before the flowers open, which prevents any cross-pollination by insects or the wind. The seeds of legumes are easily collected and stored for future use and are true to the parent variety from year to year.
According to the Clemson University Extension Service website, varieties of peppers are usually self-pollinating. Peppers that self-pollinate include hot peppers such as chillies, habaneros and jalapeños as well as sweet and bell types. If saving seeds, the website suggests that the gardener wear gloves as the capsaicin can linger on the seeds and cause a reaction on the fingers and hands. In addition, if planting both hot and sweet varieties, keep plants caged or at least 500 feet apart because insects can cross-pollinate these plants and allow dominant hot genes to take over in the offspring of a sweet pepper plant.