If you are new to edible gardening or just want to grow a few things to eat with minimal fuss, then try my top 10 list of easy to grow vegetables. And if you’ve got kids you’d like to introduce to vegie gardening, look for the ones with a ‘K‘, as they’ll like eating these ones straight from the garden too.
Lettuce – Very little bothers lettuce. As long as you feed and water lettuce well, you’ll enjoy lots of crisp and delicious leaves for your salads. Growing loose-leaf varieties such as mignonette allows you to pick off outer leaves as you need them. Plant a few seedlings every 2-3 weeks to ensure an ongoing harvest. It will grow in all but the hottest and coldest weather. K
Beans – Climbing or pole beans make a happy low maintenance crop as long as you provide a decent frame or trellis to support them. Pick the beans regularly to keep plants productive. Bush beans are also very productive, but they are short lived so plant fresh seed every month or so for an ongoing supply. Beans are very happy in warm condition. Grow snake beans in hot weather. K
Asian Greens – Easy, space saving and fast growing. They’re also one of the simplest veg to grow from seed. Seeds germinate in a few days and with good care, you can have something to harvest within 4-6 weeks. Sow seed once a month for a continuous and satisfying harvest. Cool to warm weather is the best.
Cucumbers – It’s hard to find a crop as prolific as cucumbers. 4-5 plants will return more than enough cucumbers for the average family with a few left over to share. Plant when all dangers of frost have passed and provide a trellis to save space and keep fruit off the ground.
Zucchini (squash, courgette) – These fruit prolifically on fast growing vines. The plants are sensitive to wind damage so provide some protection. Plants have male and female flowers which you can easily pollinate by hand if there are not enough bees about. Just two plants are enough for a household of four. It dislikes cold weather but thrives in warm conditions.
English spinach – This is the best of all the so called ‘spinaches’ for flavour. It hates hot weather so grow it when temperatures are cool to mild. Start picking the outer leaves once the plants are established and water and fertilise regularly with liquid fertiliser to guarantee a long continual harvest.
Peas – Fresh peas from the garden are sweet, tender and delicious and they’re easy to grow. Most varieties need a tepee or trellis to climb, but dwarf forms are largely self-supporting when they are planted in blocks of 2-3 rows. They enjoy cooler weather. Sow seed directly in the ground every 6 weeks or so. K
Spring onions (shallots, scallions) – Forget about store bought bunches that go slimy in the fridge. Springs onions are incredibly easy to grow and having them on hand guarantees the freshest and firmest spring onions for cooking. Seedlings are easier to plant than seeds and save lots of time. Grows in all but the hottest and coldest temperatures.
Radish – Super fast and easy to grow from seed. Dribble a few seed into well-prepared soil or into containers of fresh potting mix. They’ll be ready to harvest in just 6-8 weeks. Radishes develop a woody texture when they get older so pick and eat them as soon as possible. Regular small sowings is the trick. Cool to warm temperatures are best for radish. K
Broccoli – You can get several months of harvesting from a planting of broccoli. Many varieties will continue to shoot miniature florets well after the large central head has been harvested. 10 plants will keep a family of four in good supply. Feed and water them regularly and watch out for caterpillars. Broccoli grows best in cool to warm seasons.