One of the best decisions we make when we started to grow our own vegetables was picking easy vegetables to grow. UK growing seasons and conditions must be taken into account as well as your tastes. We love tomatoes, use a lot of onions and potatoes and so it made sense that we’d pick those to start our vegetable garden. We didn’t have a huge amount of space, half an allotment and a small back yard. And so we picked some of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK in order to give us a lift and reduce our failure rate. Here are the best of the easy vegetables to grow, UK conditions and seasons taken into account!
8 of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK
We’ve picked 8 of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK, but bear in mind that these take into our account our tastes and what we like to cook. I’ll confess now, that I didn’t and still don’t completely like courgettes, but their versatility means that they’re added into this list. Oh, and I love making relish and chutneys with them. Perhaps it’s just the fact that in our first year of growing our own vegetables we had so many of them that put me off a little. I know better now and would plant accordingly.
Salad Leaves are easy vegetables to grow
When I was growing up iceberg lettuce was a staple. I probably haven’t eaten iceberg lettuce for years, but I love the flavours and textures of different salad leaves. Before picking a variety of salad leaves, look at what it is that you enjoy eating. There’s no point growing something that you won’t eat unless you can find a way of swapping it or bartering with fellow growers for alternatives!
Salad leaves come in all shapes, sizes and are seriously quick to grow. You can expect the first harvest within THREE weeks! The trick with sowing salad leaves is to show them in stages, so you get a steady supply that keeps you going for weeks on end. You’ll want to look for a seed mix that gives you both variety in texture, taste and colour – try this one. Get used to growing salad leaves, and then expand your horizons and perhaps try spinach or rocket too! Oh, I love the peppery taste of rocket and really want to try wasabi rocket too!.
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow
Potatoes don’t need to be difficult and you don’t need acres of space to grow them. We’ve grown potatoes in raised beds and in bags, containers and pots. My tip? Grow potatoes in pots, containers or bags. We’ve had our best crops from the bags and pots in the back yard and they hardly take up any space at all. Usually, potatoes are planted in early March and take around 10 to 20 weeks until harvest.
Potatoes grown in bags, even old compost bags are an amazingly easy vegetable to grow in the UK. The amount of maintenance needed is REALLY low. You could even grow them in a dustbin. We prefer using a bag of a container that you can “move upwards” when its time to harvest as that makes them seriously low maintenance vegetables to grow. It’s seriously easy to pop some seed potatoes in a bag, add some compost (read about the best compost to use here) and keep topping up the compost (don’t forget to water them too), as the tubers grow. Harvest when the leaves turn yellow. Potatoes are not only one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK, but also one of the best veggies to grow in order to save money. We’ve found over the years that the more veg we have the more we eat, and the more we use to substitute expensive ingredients. Win-win all the way!
Onions are easy vegetables to grow
We cook a lot of Indian food and really recommend the Curry Guy’s range of books, which use onions to create a base curry sauce, which is life-changing. And so for us knowcing that onions are one of the easiest vegetables to grow was great. And it made it so much cheaper to cook dishes that we already cook anyways!
One of the best things about growing onions is that they are almost maintenance-free. If you plant “onion sets” rather than seeds you’ll probably get better and quicker results. Plant onions in Spring (March to April in the UK) and you’ll be harvesting in the autumn. (read more about what to plant in April here) Onions need well-drained soil and sun. Do NOT overwater, but don’t let them dry out either. Be sure to remove any flowers if they appear, as you want all the energy to be concentrated on the onions themselves. We’ve also grown onions from seed in pots in the back yard (we ran out of room in the allotment) and they were just as good.
From the same family, and even easier to grow are Spring Onions and garlic. You’ll harvest them when the leaves of the onion plants have turned yellow. If you’re going to store onions then you need to let them dry in the sun for about 3 weeks. (put them in the window sills if it turns wet).
Peas are easy vegetables to grow
I used to hate peas. Seriously. But that was as my pea experience was tinned peas and, even worse, mushy peas. Fresh, homegrown peas are incredible. We rarely end up with any for cooking, as we’ll eat them straight from the pod. Who am I kidding, they rarely make it back to the house, as we’ll eat them en-route! We love these particular peas for their sweetness. Growing peas in a pot is seriously easy to do.
Luckily, peas are easy to grow, they don’t need deep soil, so you can, if you’re got a wall and some way of attaching them to a frame or canes, you can grow them in a grow bag or a compost bag. I like that, as you can grow them in the backyard easily. Check out frames for peas here
Sow peas straight into the ground from February onwards – although getting further into Spring is better – If you plant in April you’ll be harvesting from June onwards. If you pick the peas constantly, then you’ll actually help to keep it producing more peas! Grow peas in containers, grow bags or containers. Peas grow really well in cooler weather, don’t forget a support system – wires or bamboo canes. Don’t forget to keep picking. Keep the ground or compost moist and enjoy what is now one of my most favourite vegetables. Read about which is the best compost bin to make your own compost here.
Tomatoes are really easy vegetables to grow
Tomatoes are one of the UK’s easiest vegetables to grow. So easy you can grow them indoors or outdoors. And tomatoes are so, so versatile. Put them in salads, sandwiches, sauces, chutneys and relishes. Grow your tomatoes from seeds (start them off in a window sill if you do this), or buy a tomato plant and get a head start. The easiest way to grow tomatoes is to find a spot that gets a lot of sunlight and is sheltered from the wind or prevailing weather.
It’ll take about 2 weeks for tomato seeds to germinate, then you can move them into individual containers or put several in a grow bag or compost bag. Tomatoes will be ready to harvest in about 2 months, you’ll know the tomatoes are ready by the glorious red colour. If you find a few stubborn green tomatoes, either make them into a green tomato relish or try ripening them by putting them in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana.
Chillies are easy vegetables to grow indoors
Chillies don’t have to be hot, but they will add significant flavour to your cooking. And, surprisingly they’re on of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK. Pick your variety carefully, based on the heat you’d like from it, but bear in mind that the hooter the variety the warmer they need to be kept. The best variety for the UK climate would be a mild cayenne.
Grow chillies in pots on a warm patio, back yard or on windowsills that get good sunshine. You can sow chilli seeds on a window sill in spring, and they can go outside in May. (find out more about what to plant in May here) You’ll be harvesting from July onwards. Keep picking and you’ll keep the plant producing. Leave them on the plant and you’ll reduce the amount of fruit that the plant produces. You can store chillies over winter too > read our guide on how to store chillies here.
Beetroot are easy vegetables to grow
Beetroot is a seriously easy vegetable to grow and it’s incredibly versatile to use in meals and cooking. While you’ll want to sow beetroot seeds directly into a moist soil between March and July, you’ll be able to harvest from May to September. However, in the meantime, you’ll also be able to harvest the leaves to add your salads (I LOVE beetroot leaves in salads and you can also use them to bulk out stir-fries too – we have some awesome options for preserving beetroot here) my favourite variety is Boltardy. Beetroot is one of the vegetables that you can plant in June – find more here.
It’s usual to thin out roots when the Beetroot is half-grown, but it’s not a waste, think baby beets in salads, or shredded to add to your salad leaves or more stir-fries! Beetroot is incredibly easy to grow and so satisfying – you can even use it as a base for this amazing pasta sauce!
Courgettes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow
I’ll finish with courgettes, as courgettes are perhaps TOO easy to grow. In our first year we planted way more courgettes than was sensible, it saved us a lot of money, as we ended up using courgettes in everything. Even Christmas presents, as courgette relish and chutney became the way that I best dealt with a glut of courgettes. > read more tips on how to save money by growing vegetables
You can get up to 30 courgettes from a single plant. This I know now. You can also easily grow courgettes in containers, so pop them in the backyard and keep them a bit more under control. Here’s our favourite seeds for courgettes. Courgettes are so easy to grow as they require little maintenance, but once the fruit has appeared you’ll want to keep a close eye on them, they grow SERIOUSLY quickly. Don’t forget you can also use the courgette flower in recipes too – they’re delicious!!
Final Words on Easy Vegetables to Grow UK
Variety is the spice of life, and selecting several easy to grow vegetables that are best suited to the UK climate is one of the best ways to get started growing vegetables. Make sure that you pick vegetables that you currently eat, or that you’re going to use in recipes. Pick easy to grow vegetables and you’ll get much more satisfaction, much more quickly and get inspired to try different vegetables as the season’s progress! Good luck and keep us posted on how you do!
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