Best 13 easy vegetables to grow – plus 8 tips on how to decide

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…

Salad crops

Tomatoes

13 easy vegetables to grow - tomatoes

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.

photo credit: Swami Stream via photopin cc

Cucumbers

13 easy vegetables to grow - cucumbersA really simple plant to grow in containers.

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.

photo credit: OakleyOriginals via photopin cc

Lettuce leaves

13 easy vegetables to grow - lettuceCouldn’t be much easier to grow.  Scatter some seeds.  Cover with compost.  Water now and again, and have ready to eat salad leaves in 6-8 weeks.

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.

photo credit: Trinity via photopin cc

Radishes

13 easy vegetables to grow - radishesOne of the simplest things to grow. You can go from planting the seeds, to “ready to eat”, in just a month!

Great in summer salads.
photo credit: tres.jolie via photopin cc

Vegetables

Courgettes (Zucchini)

13 easy vegetables to grow - courgettesCourgettes are the gift that keep on giving.  One courgette plant can easily produce 20-30 courgette plants, and sometimes more.  They are also a very easy vegetable to grow.

Courgettes are great in stir fries, go well with tomato based sauces and can be grated raw in salads.

Not only that but you can eat the flowers! There are loads of great recipes for stuffed courgette flowers out there.
photo credit: tom chandler via photopin cc

Kale

13 easy vegetables to grow - kaleKale is a hugely under-rated vegetable crop.  Again its an easy vegetable to grow.

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.

It’s a prolific cropper and very hardy.
photo credit: Nokton via photopin cc

Broad Beans

13 easy vegetables to grow - broad beansI think broad beans may be my favourite vegetable to grow.  You’ll need a couple of garden canes for support, but other than that they are really easy to grow.

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.

They only need a minute or so. Next , layer the mixture on your toasted bread and grate some fresh parmesan on top.  Its delicious.  Trust me!
photo credit: rodtuk via photopin cc

French Beans

13 easy vegetables to grow - French BeansAgain, very easy to grow with little intervention.  They will need support from garden canes.

Try arranging the canes in a wigwam shape.  French beans love this.  You can get enormous crops of french beans.

Go for dwarf varieties if you’re worried about space.  French beans also store well if blanched and frozen.
photo credit: BinaryApe via photopin cc


Herbs

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.


large__4603835368 Mint

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

Rosemary is a very hardy herb and seemingly lasts forever.  Great, with lamb, chicken or roast potatoes.

Chives

Chives again are simple to grow and add a lighter oniony flavour to salads, stews and soups.
photo credit: KateMonkey via photopin cc

Fruit

Strawberries

13 best vegetables to grow - strawberriesStrawberries are one of those plants that is really worth growing at home for the flavour and the different varieties you can get.

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.

photo credit: JodyDigger via photopin cc

Rhubarb

13 easy vegetables to grow - rhubarbOne or two rhubarb plants can produce a surprising amount of rhubarb.  I was going to buy some rhubarb in the supermarket last week, and it was shocked to find nearly £4 for a few stalks.

This is another plant whereby growing it yourself is considerably cheaper than buying.  Again you also get the opportunity to harvest when young and tender.
photo credit: Patrick DB via photopin cc

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.

We recommend both Gardening Direct, and Thompson & Morgan for buying easy vegetables to grow in the UK.

Summary

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?

1 Comment on “Best 13 easy vegetables to grow – plus 8 tips on how to decide

  1. This is a great list. I have never tried growing broad beans. I did try some shelling beans this year for the first time but they don’t seem to be doing very well. I’ve never tried rhubarb either.

    I would add to this list broccoli. Organic broccoli can be expensive, broccoli is surprisingly easy to grow, and the past few years it has even started to appear as a transplant at big box stores (I never used to be able to find it there).

    I would also add basil. Basil is easy to grow from seed, and grows like a weed. It’s great tossed into salad with the tomatoes and cucumbers!

    Hope your garden is faring well this summer!

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