If there’s anything more satisfying than mastering a dish, it’s doing so using fresh vegetables that you’ve grown using your very own green thumbs.
The good news is that you don’t need acres of space in your garden to get started with home-grown produce either.
Although some ingredients require a little more work than others, tomato plants can be grown with nothing more than seed, a well-composted pot and a stick, for example.
Similarly, you should be able to find dedicated potato-growing bags (or solid containers) at your local gardening store. Once set up, they require only a small amount of maintenance.
In this guide we’re highlighting five of the easiest vegetables you can grow yourself.
If you want to get started with any of these, take a look at the detailed articles we’ve linked to in each section.
(If you’d like some inspiration on what to do with your home-grown produce, take a look at my home juicing and blending archive.)
#1 Salad Leaves
It’s extremely easy to grow your own salad leaves, and all you need to get started are the appropriate seeds and any size garden pot.
Once the seeds have been planted in compost, keep them well-watered.
You can snip the leaves as and when they’re ready, and the plant will continue to grow more leaves for you throughout the season.
You don’t really need a detailed growing guide for these. Talk to your local garden store staff about seeds and pots!
As we mentioned in the introduction, many garden stores sell dedicated bags and containers for growing potatoes.
That’s your easiest option for this incredibly versatile ingredient, but they can also be sown into the ground if you’ve the space to spare.
As the plant grows and the shoot develops, make sure you keep topping up the compost.
When the foliage begins to die back, you can begin harvesting the potatoes.
For detailed growing and harvest advice, take a look at this guide that was created by American Meadows.
Home-grown produce doesn’t get much easier to farm than the humble tomato. It’s also easy enough to maintain that you can get the kids involved as well.
You’ve got a few options when it comes to how you actually go about growing them as well.
Most tomato plants will do just fine in a standard pot, but you’ll need to add a stick for them to climb up.
Alternatively, they can be grown in bags (check your local store) or even hanging baskets.
Regular feeding and lots of water are the order of the day here, so make sure you’ll be around to give them daily care.
Almanac has a great guide to growing tomatoes in all kinds of conditions. Have a look if you’re interested in exploring this further.
Radishes grow best when they’re planted directly into the ground, and so are more suited to those of you who have a bit of spare growing space in the garden.
The good news is that they grow very quickly, so it won’t be long at all until you can add a deliciously crunchy bite to your next salad.
Just make sure they get plenty of sunlight. If they’re in too much shade – or they’re being shaded by other plants – all you’ll get is lots and lots of leaves…
Almanac has another detailed guide about how to get the most out of your next harvest.
#5 Runner Beans
Runner beans are a little trickier to grow than the other vegetables mentioned in this guide – you’ll need a bit more space to play with as well.
These climbing plants require a support frame to grow into, and you’ll need to water them regularly as well.
Make sure you pick the pods off once they’re fully formed, as the plant will continue producing more of them as the season progresses.
For more detailed advice on how to grow them yourself, take a look at this in-depth guide from The Spruce.