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Growing vegetables

The five easiest vegetables to grow

By Ceri Thomas

Article 3 of 3

Make growing your own simple by starting with the easiest veg to grow

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The easiest way to enjoy vegetables that are chemical-free, fresh as possible and without any packaging is to grow your own. And the only distance they will travel is from your garden to your plate.

Growing your own is much simpler than you might expect. To get started, all you need is a couple of pots or a patch of soil and you can make a contribution to your family's five-a-day portions of fruit and veg.

We've picked five of the easiest and most rewarding veg to start off with. They will hardly take up any room in the garden but will give you a delicious supply of fresh produce.

Salad leaves

A supermarket favourite that's easy to grow yourself

  • An 85p packet of lettuce seed could produce 16 bags of salad - saving you around £24 at the supermarket!
  • The good news is that salad leaves are easy to grow from seed in the ground or in a container.
  • Our Best Buy lettuce varieties taste great and give a high yield.
  • Discover the secrets of how to grow salad leaves, with tips based on more than 30 years of trialling veg.
  • We like Sow seeds every time the previous batch has germinated for a supply of leaves all summer without gluts.

Courgettes

You should be able to get up to 30 fruits off a single plant

  • Courgettes are perfect for patio containers - keep them well watered and pick the fruit regularly.
  • The flowers can also be eaten and taste great when stuffed and fried.
  • Worth knowing When powdery mildew turns the leaves white in late summer, courgettes' leaves die off and it's time to put the plant in the compost heap.
  • Discover how to grow courgettes.

Beans

Supermarket beans are expensive and are often imported

  • Runner beans are easy to grow from seed and should crop for months if you pick the beans every few days.
  • French beans take about eight weeks to mature, and they then crop for about a month. 
  • There are both dwarf and climbing forms of French beans.
  • We think Why bother buying them when they're easy to grow and taste better fresh?
  • Discover out Best Buy runner bean varieties and how to grow them

Tomatoes

A great choice for the greenhouse or a patio pot, but worth growing in the ground, too

  • Tomatoes are easy to raise from seed in March on a warn, well-lit windowsill. Alternatively buy plants from a garden centre in May.
  • They do well in a greenhouse, in containers or the border.
  • Alternatively plant them outside once the danger of frost has passed in late May or early June.
  • Discover our Best Buy tomato varieties and how to grow them.
  • Worth knowing: Let the fruits ripen fully in the sun to enjoy unrivalled flavour.

Potatoes

Easy to grow, even in patio pots

  • Early varieties can be planted in late March, and the rest follow in April.
  • They can be planted in the ground or in patio containers.
  • We like Plant in early April and by late June or July you'll have lots of egg-size new potatoes.
  • Discover our Best Buy potato varieties and how to grow them.

Don't bother with...

  • Vegetables in the cabbage family (brassicas) are prone to pests.
  • Pumpkins and marrows take up a lot of space.
  • Even experienced gardeners find celery, celeriac and Florence fennel a challenge.
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