If you’re just starting out growing your own fruit and vegetables, congratulations – you’ve made the right decision. Growing your own food is significantly more environmentally friendly than purchasing it. There’s also simply no substitute for sitting down to a home-cooked meal consisting entirely of ingredients you’ve grown yourself. Whatever your reasons may be for growing your own food, it’s a great decision to make.
That said, you’re probably wondering where to get started in this endeavour. What are the best fruits and vegetables you can grow? This, of course, will come down to your personal preferences; do you want easy growth or is versatility more of a priority? Whatever your answer is to this question, this guide should be helpful. We’ve put together a list of the 9 best fruits and vegetables for beginners to grow in their garden.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile, useful, and delicious vegetables you can grow in your garden. Thanks to the widespread availability of premium greenhouses in the UK, potatoes are incredibly easy to grow, too. Simply fill a potato sack half-full with compost, then when the shoots start to appear, add more compost. You’ll need to water them too, but this is a seriously easy crop to grow.
Perhaps one of the most famous English fruits, strawberries are naturally easy to grow in the UK. They’ll keep coming back year on year, too, so you can expect regular crops if you look after them. You can grow strawberries in tilled soil in your garden, but you can also grow them in hanging baskets, pots, and anywhere else you can situate soil. They make a delicious snack with cream!
As a member of the onion family, garlic can reasonably be expected to grow in pretty much any conditions. If you want it to grow during the winter, you’re going to need to invest in a high-quality greenhouse, but it’s such a staple of almost every meal that it’s worth having a greenhouse just for garlic. Be sure to expose your garlic to cold weather so that the cloves separate!
We couldn’t create a list like this and not include onions. Just like garlic – with which they share a significant kinship – onions are pretty much a staple food. They’re in everything from pies to curries to stir-fry dishes. Growing onions is relatively simple for beginners and many can be grown in the same plot; they’re more of a leaf crop than a root crop, so think of them that way when you position them.
Whether you’re thinking of making a quiche or a Caribbean-style jerk chicken curry, tomatoes are an essential part of so many meals that not growing them feels like a missed opportunity, even if you’re not cultivating a vegetable (or fruit) garden. Both big and small varieties are simple enough, and they’re hardy, so you won’t need to worry too much about bad weather.
You’ll need a trellis if you want to effectively grow cucumbers. Unlike many of the other fruits and vegetables we’ve included, cucumbers are vining plants, so you’ll either need to grow them in a container or allocate trellis space for them to climb. Once you’ve grown them, though, cucumbers are an incredibly useful crop, great for everything from salads to Mediterranean vegetable medleys.
Radishes grow to completion within about a month, so you won’t have long to wait before you can harvest them. You’ll need to sow them about four weeks after last frost, so they’re perfect for planting in around February to March. They make an excellent addition to the kinds of salads you can create with cucumbers, so they’re a great all-rounder to include in your garden.
If you’re more of an autumn gardener, cabbage is the perfect crop for you. It’s entirely possible to plant cabbage in late summer and still have a usable crop come autumn, which is down to the fact that cabbages love cool weather. Don’t wait until winter; if you do, you’ll need to plant them in your greenhouse. You can use cabbage in everything from a nice stir-fry to a classic Sunday roast dinner.
We’re including everything in the caneberry family here: blackberries, raspberries, and so forth. Not only do caneberries make an excellent fruit salad or pie, they’re also wonderful if you’re looking to attract birds and other wildlife to your garden. Blackberry and raspberry bushes do need to be regularly pruned, but if you can spare the effort to do so then you’ll have a rewarding and simple plant to grow.
10. Bell peppers
Did you know that every bell pepper is the same kind of pepper? This blew our minds – green peppers are simply red peppers that haven’t ripened yet. This makes them ideal to grow in your garden; no matter what your particular pepper flavour preference is, you can harvest them whenever you like and add them to your meals for a different effect every time!