Growing veggies in your own garden can seem like a daunting idea to a lot of people. But it’s surprisingly easier than you think. If you’ve been considering growing your own but have no idea where to start these are my top five favourite fool-proof veggies that are almost guaranteed to get you off to a good start.
These hardy little plants are so forgiving! Other than a little TLC when they’re starting out as seedlings and giving them something like a stake or trellis to lean on, they really require very little after that.
The cherry varieties are great because they develop and ripen quickly, which means they produce a steady supply, often faster than you can even eat. Also limited time on the vine means less time for the bugs to tuck in, especially if you’ve gone organic. So that means less pest control management compared to larger tomatoes that take longer to grow.
Another tough as nails veggie that just keeps going and going through the hottest summer and the coldest winter. You’ll have kale chips and trendy smoothies for days!
Courgette, baby marrow or whatever you call it, is a great addition to any garden. Make sure to give it some space to creep around and it will keep you in a steady supply of zucchini noodles all summer.
If you grow nothing else, then make sure you grow some salad greens. Baby spinach varieties are great for cut-and-come-again sources for all your salad, soup and smoothie needs. If you have the space try out as many salad greens varieties as you can fit. Rainbow chard and silver beet are also very rewarding and can tough it out through the winter months.
There’s nothing more rewarding than cooking with produce you’ve grown yourself. You know exactly what it has or hasn’t been sprayed with, it saves on a heap of packaging and transport and there’s nothing more delicious than freshly picked food.
Basil, coriander, flat leaf parsley, mint, sage, rosemary, chives. Try them all.
If you’ve had a go at growing your own veggies before and it was a flop, please don’t let it put you off trying again. Here are a few suggestions to help you navigate a more successful home-grown journey this time around.
Full sun location
Veggies and herbs love lots of sun! When planting out smaller fragile seedlings you might need to offer them some shade initially, but for the long term a garden bed in a full-sun position will be your ticket for success.
If you don’t have good soil it might be worth investing in some good quality veggie-friendly compost purchased at a garden centre or sourcing some well-rotted manure from a nearby farm.
I know this sounds all very “gardeningy” but adding a “mulch” around the base of your plants is as simple as repurposing autumn leaves, grass cutting or wood chip to help insulate the soil from losing too much water to evaporation in the hot months so you don’t have to water as much. As well as keeping the soil protected in the winter months from frost and excessive top soil erosion in winter rainfall regions.
Fertilise with compost
This is where your home composting efforts pay off! Adding it to your garden beds every 6 months or so will give your plants that extra boost they need as they go in and out of the seasons annually.
After all of that, if nothing else, even just planting a couple of herbs on the kitchen windowsill or a tomato bush in a pot at the front door is still a great step to reduce the packaging and transport on your regularly used veggies.