Nature

Top 10 easiest veg to grow: A perfect selection of everyday food

No more trips to the grocery store!

Whether you’re trying to do your bit to reduce plastic waste or simply feeling the urge to dabble with growing your own veg, then it’s time to get green-fingered.

Yet despite all the love you’re willing to give, there is always the risk of repeating what happened to your Tamagotchi when you were little resulting in an untimely death.

To give you the best shot at becoming the next Charlie Dimmock or Alan Titchmarsh, you need to know the easiest veggies to cultivate and keep alive in the comfort of your own home.

While we’re experts at dipping carrots in hummus and dunking cucumber in tzatziki, we’re not so expert at what seeds to sow, so our friends at Thompson & Morgan – the UK’s largest mail order seed and plant company – have helped us give you some killer advice.

Check out their top 10 below.

[Credit: Dan Cristian]

1 Salad leaves

Whether you love demolishing a salad or just the crunch of lettuce in a burger, there’s no denying the glorious texture of leaves.

By sowing a salad ‘Speedy Mix’ this summer, you’ll be cutting fresh leaves just three weeks later. Better still, they will continue growing once trimmed so you can harvest them again and again.

2 Radishes

Just like the humble leaf, radishes can spice up a salad with their crunchy texture. They’re easy to grow in containers or you can sow them directly into the ground throughout the summer.

The ‘French Breakfast 3’ is a popular variety that has stood the test of time, while ‘Rainbow Mixed’ will give you a colourful visual treat for your plate as well as masses of flavour.

3 Potatoes

Ah, the versatile potato is a champ! Regardless of whether you like them boiled, roasted or fried as chips, this root vegetable is a must-have for every household.

Best grown during February and March, potatoes must be sewn in bags part-filled with compost. As soon as green shoots appear above soil, simply cover with more compost. Repeat until the bag is full, then just continue to water them. It could take up to 20 weeks before the foliage starts to yellow and die back, this is when you tip the bag out and rummage in the soil to collect your tatties.

[Credit: Markus Spiske]

4 Peas

Much like potatoes, peas are versatile lil’ guys too. Pop them on a plate with fish and chips, throw them in a curry, or celebrate them as the star of the show with a puree.  

Peas are a trouble-free crop that adore cool weather. If you sow them into the ground from March to June, you’ll reap the benefits by August at the latest. All they need is support for their stems, which you can DIY with either chicken wire or netting at each end of the row.

5 Spring onions

Often underestimated, spring onions can bring pizazz to your salads with their tangy crunch. The ‘White Lisbon’’ and ‘Performer’ seeds come highly recommended, with the suggestion to plant them alongside mint as this will help to deter onion flies that can kill seedlings.

6 Broad beans

These legume family royalty need sowing in spring in small pots of compost, before graduating into plants that can flourish in the garden. ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Masterpiece Green Longpod’ promise to deliver a gourmet crop, and you can even watch the bees pollinate their flowers as they grow.

[Credit: Nadine Primeau]

7 Runner beans

Almost as simple as broad beans, these fellas are sown in much the same way. As the name ‘runner’ suggests, they are climbers so will need plenty of space and trellis to travel on. With regular watering, they will reward you with a constant supply throughout summer.

8 Onions and garlic

If you like low maintenance, then onions and garlic are your guys. Simply plant onion bulbs and individual garlic cloves on well-drained soil in spring or autumn, then leave them to it! By late summer when the foliage yellows and dies back, you can lift them and dry in the sun before storing.

9 Tomatoes

Tommies are a strong contender for getting kids into gardening as they are so quick to grow you can practically watch them in action. It’s recommended you choose a bush variety like ‘Romello’ that can be planted in hanging baskets or window boxes as they don’t require trellis training, so you only need to feed and water them before the fruit starts to appear.

10 Beetroot

They say you should eat a rainbow of colours off your plate to make sure you get all the nutrients you need, so you may want to include the purple beet. Known for being super easy to grow, beetroots can be sown directly into moist ground from March to July. By September, you can look forward to sinking your teeth into their fleshy and sweet flavour.

Good luck on your mission!

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