Whether you have a few containers, a patch of soil in the garden, or a whole allotment, you really don’t need green fingers to grow your own veg.
It’s worth considering which veg are easy to grow, which ones the kids are likely to eat, and which ones are expensive to buy in the shops.
With that in mind, here are my top of crops when it comes to growing your own.
1. Courgettes. For ease and quantity, you can’t beat courgettes. By mid-summer you’ll be pleading with your neighbours to take them off your hands. Not only are courgettes super high yielding, they are also fairly immune to slugs and bugs. All you have to do is remember to water them. Plant now, in pots indoors, or in a greenhouse, then plant them out when it’s warmer.
3. Beetroot. Before you turn your nose up, forget those vinegary things that come out of jars and stain your fingers, and think roasted with goat’s cheese. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, beetroot are one of the most failproof and low maintenance veg around. They also take up very little space and are suitable for growing in containers. Plant directly into the soil, no faffing around with pots, and wait for them to appear. Surprisingly good in brownies and chocolate cake too!
4. Salad. Whatever takes your fancy really – lettuce, rocket, spinach, cut and come again leaves, or a bit of everything. The great thing about salad, is it’s so quick to grow and will be on your plate just weeks after sowing. It also tends to be expensive to buy in shops, so growing your own can save you a packet. Unfortunately, slugs like it too, but you can help avoid the problem, by growing in raised beds or containers, and covering young seedlings. Large plastic bottles cut in half will do if you don’t have anything posh like a cloche.
5. Carrots. Kids and carrots go together like salt and pepper. Well, ok not always, but even the fussiest of eaters can usually be persuaded to try one – especially if they’ve pulled it from the ground themselves. Carrots are relatively straightforward to grow, though it’s a good idea to cover with netting if possible. You can even get multi-coloured and purple varieties (carrots, not netting!) – if that doesn’t tempt them nothing will.
What will you be growing this year?