Growing your own fruit and vegetables can have many health benefits. Homegrown food will have had no unnecessary pesticides or chemicals added to help it grow, plus the slow nature of tending to fruits and vegetables can be relaxing and rewarding so great for mental health and wellbeing.
It can be daunting to know where to start, so we have selected some of the easiest – and most versatile – edibles that we recommend to begin with. If you are short on space in your garden, that is fine: all can be grown in a pot at least, offering the perfect start to home-grown produce.
Strawberries are the perfect plant to get started. Not only are they versatile in terms of planting – whether it be a small pot, a grow-bag or even a hanging basket (so ideal for even the smallest of gardens), the beauty of strawberries is that they grow back year after year – simply tidy up the plant every few months and you will enjoy strawberries summer after summer.
2. Salad leaves
Salad leaves grow really quickly, so when you have cut once, they will grow back again in as little as two-to-three weeks. There are also lots of varieties available – from rocket to little gem – to accompany a wide range of meals. Grow in an open bed or a vegetable trug, you can go for as little or as many varieties as you would like.
3. Chilli plant
Impress friends and family with a fiery chilli plant. Simple to keep, just plant in a large pot in a sunny spot. Some varieties are able to move outside once established and provide an abundance of brightly coloured fruits. The many varieties mean you can choose what heat suits you best, with mild and hot varieties available. Chop up and fry with noodles for a spicy dish or make a sweet-chilli jam, these colourful plants are as much trendy as they are practical.
Like strawberries, planting-wise tomatoes are really versatile and are able to grow in hanging baskets, pots or grow-bags. They are quick to grow, lovely to watch change colour from zesty green to bright red and, when freshly-picked, smell delicious.
5. Runner beans
Plant these climbers directly in the ground or a large pot along with a supporting bamboo and watch these plants come alive by twisting and curling up the cane. Runner beans offer a large crop, just make sure to regularly pick them and water them well. You will be amazed at how fast they grow!