Best 13 easy vegetables to grow – plus 8 tips on how to decide
I’ll get to the easy vegetables to grow…in a moment. First I’m going to ramble a bit…
This year I’ve decided to grow some fruit, vegetables and herbs in containers. We used to have an allotment, which was great, but difficult to manage. Unfortunately, due to its position, when it rained our allotment resembled the mouth of the Amazon! It may have been better to offer canoeing lessons than grow veg…not exactly prime real estate.
Raised beds helped, but to be honest, if you want to have a full size allotment plot, you need to dedicate a lot of time to it to keep it under control. Whilst we kept it in decent shape for a few years, it just became too much to handle.
Much easier is growing a few crops in containers. You can do this in a garden, on a patio, a balcony or even a windowsill. What I need is some easy vegetables to grow at home.
How to decide what to grow
When considering the best things to grow, you should think about:
1. Food that you want to eat – wonderful if you grow eight pounds of turnips, but do you like eating them? Start off with things you eat frequently.
2. Vegetables that are easy to grow – most of us aren’t planning to become full-time gardeners, so the simpler the better.
3. Fruit and veg that grow well where you live – the climate will have a big impact on how successful your growing is. Choose the right plants for your conditions.
4. Vegetables that you have space for – if you only have space for a few containers then forget growing root crops like carrots or potatoes, they just need to much space to grow well.
5. Items that are relatively expensive to buy – some vegetables like onions for example, are inexpensive to buy. Asparagus however, is usually expensive.
6. Unusual varieties – sadly our supermarkets tend to go for the cheapest to produce, and most uniform looking vegetables. There are some incredible rarer varieties of fruit and vegetables out there, that are easy to grow yourself.
7. Plants that crop well – Salad leaves for example, can be bought in “cut and come again” varieties. This means you will get lots of salad over a longer period of time, as the leaves grow back.
8. Vegetables that are attractive to look at – If you’re growing these crops at home, then it helps if what you are growing is nice to look at.
Best 13 easy vegetables to grow…
Tomatoes bring colour to your garden. They taste great when fresh, and are available in hundreds of varieties.
You don’t need a greenhouse to grow tomatoes. My best crop came from a couple of plants in a sunny spot outside our front door.
You can grow trailing varieties in hanging baskets. Try cherry tomatoes – really sweet, and often big croppers.
They’ll probably trail around a bit, but you’ll get far more taste out of a nice knobbly variety that the horrible bland things they sell in the supermarket.
Buy “cut and come again” varieties, and try mixed salad packs of seeds. They’re generally cheap, and you get more variety in your salads.
Courgettes are great in stir fries, go well with tomato based sauces and can be grated raw in salads.
Kale is absolutely jam packed with nutrients, and can be used in soups and stir fries. Its a bit like a cross between savoy cabbage and spinach, but it can be absolutely delicious.
They are far better grown yourself than bought. By the time broad beans reach the supermarket they are usually tough, and have a chewy outer layer. When you grow them yourself you can pick them when they’re young and tender.
If you grow some, then do yourself a favour and try this. Toast some nice bread like ciabatta or a french loaf. Fry up some onion, garlic and chopped bacon. Mix with steamed or boiled broad beans.
Try arranging the canes in a wigwam shape. French beans love this. You can get enormous crops of french beans.
Herbs are one of the simplest things to grow at home, and it can even be done in small pots on a windowsill. Here are a few of the easiest herbs to grow.
Mint notoriously spreads, so try to put in a container on its own, or a specific area of your garden.
Mint is superb with new potatoes and butter, and of course goes well with lamb and a lot of middle eastern dishes. You can buy as seeds, or plants.
Rosemary is a very hardy herb and seemingly lasts forever. Great, with lamb, chicken or roast potatoes.
Most supermarket strawberries are grown under huge polytunnels, and you will be lucky to find many more varieties than the ubiquitous Elsanta.
When you grow at home however, you have the pick of numerous varieties and I guarantee they will taste better than supermarket strawberries. Again you can plant in hanging baskets, but I would suggest a trough shaped container.
Where to buy
You can buy plug plants or seeds from your local garden centre or nursery. Often however, you’ll find a bigger range online.
I hope our list of easy vegetables to grow has given you some inspiration for your own kitchen garden.
I would absolutely love to hear what you are growing or planning to grow this year. What’s worked for you in the past?
Do you have any specific varieties you can recommend to our other readers?