Get into growing your own at home
Interest in ‘Homegrown’ continues to rise and growing your own super tasty and healthy fruit and vegetables at home is easier than ever before. The great news is you don’t need an allotment. Even a small garden or just a few pots on the patio can grow a wide range of home-grown vegetables. There are so many ways you can squeeze a few crops in. Just imagine stepping outside your door for a handful of snacks fresh from the plant!
Although most vegetables are pretty easy to grow, you may be wondering which are the easiest to get started with. We’re often asked if we can list the easiest, so here’s our top 10 easy, must-haves in the veg garden.
To keep things easy and straightforward it is best to concentrate on those vegetables that can be sown directly where they are to be harvested. ‘Cut and come again’ salad leaves are ideal as they can be harvested as you want them and they provide a succession of leaves over several weeks from one sowing.
Many salad crops – particularly radish and lettuce – are hard to beat for their speed from sowing to harvest. They can also be used as ‘catch crops’ grown in between other long-term crops to make the most of the space.
Many vegetables are attractive and ornamental in their own right, so can be grown alongside your flowers in beds and borders.
All of the crops below, as well as just about every other vegetable, can be grown in containers on the patio or elsewhere in the garden. This means you can just step outside the back door and pick the freshest, tastiest vegetables ever!
Top 10 easiest vegetables to grow
- Beetroot: Sow at intervals from mid-March. Harvest from 11 weeks after sowing.
- Broad beans: Best sown in spring. Dwarf varieties need less space and no staking. Harvest around 14 weeks from sowing.
- Courgettes and Marrows: Sow outdoors once the soil has warmed up from May to the end of June. Compact, bushy varieties are better for small areas and containers. Harvest from 10-14 weeks from sowing.
- Cut-and-come-again salad leaves: Thin out plants to use in the kitchen, then keep cutting. Harvest from 6-8 weeks after sowing.
- French beans: Sow outdoors once the soil has warmed up from May to the end of June. Harvest 8-12 weeks from sowing.
- Lettuce: Small lettuces, such as Tom Thumb or Little Gem, take up less room and there is less wastage. Harvest from 8-14 weeks after sowing.
- Potatoes: Early varieties are the best and give that new potato taste. Plant seed potatoes from mid- to late March for first earlies, early to mid-April for second earlies. Harvest in 12-14 weeks.
- Radishes: Sow fortnightly from March to June for a continuous crop. Harvest from 3-4 weeks after sowing.
- Runner beans: Sow outdoors once the soil has warmed up from May to the end of June. Harvest 12-14 weeks from sowing.
- Shallots: Plant shallot sets in February or March. Sets are quick to mature, producing a further 8 to 12 shallots each. Ready to harvest around 20 weeks.
Expensive vegetables that you can grow at home
Where space is a premium, it’s often a good idea to concentrate on those vegetables that are expensive to buy. So below is our list of those that are cheap and easy to grow but work out expensive to buy in the shops: