We have a feeling Spring is just around the corner and that means time to get planting! Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a veg growing novice, these top 10 vegetables to grow from Selina Lake, author of Garden Style, are sure to bring you a bountiful harvest this year!
1. Bulb Fennel
When we moved to our house I sprinkled fennel seeds on a patch of earth, then forgot about them until I noticed a bulb with a hairy stalk appearing. I harvest a few bulbs, save some seeds to add to recipes and leave the rest to fall, and each year more fennel appears.
I sprinkle carrot seeds directly into raised beds, covering them lightly with soil. When shoots appear, I thin them out and wait patiently for the crop to grow. They are always fresh and sweet.
Home-grown peas have a sweet flavour no frozen variety can compete with. The flowers resemble sweet peas without the scent, so they look pretty while growing as well as tasting so good.
One of my earliest memories is helping Grandpa harvest courgettes/zucchini from his veggie patch. The yellow varieties are my favourites as they taste buttery.
These will grow in almost any soil and prefer a warm, sunny site.
6. Salad Leaves
Crunchy salad leaves are quick and easy to grow from seed. Use the cut-and-come again method of cutting the outer leaves and leaving the centres to grow for fresh salad all summer long.
Best planted in late autumn or early winter. Break up the bulbs and plant individual cloves just below the soil surface 15 cm/6 inches apart and in rows 30 cm/12 inches apart.
I admit I cheat and buy a small plant started off in a greenhouse. I plant this directly into the veggie patch and water it every evening. Last year one plant yielded over 20 cucumbers!
Tomatoes are so easy to grow and you don’t even need a garden – cherry varieties can be cultivated in a window box while grow bags are perfect for decking or balconies.
Not strictly vegetables, but these could not be omitted because there are so many unique flavours. Always plant mint in a pot, as it spreads rapidly.
Two of the lovely side effects of growing your own are sharing your produce with neighbours and friends, especially if you have a glut, and trying out new recipes to make the most of fresh produce. Grow whichever vegetables suit the conditions of your garden, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
This blog has been extracted from Garden Style by Selina Lake, photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small