5 simple things to grow and eat

Gardening is a great self sufficient activity. Unfortunately many people are put off through either lack of space, time or information.

Nothing beats eating home grown produce – it tastes like nothing you can ever buy, it’s packed full of nutrition when eaten fresh, it’s cheap and you can grow organically, so you know exactly what you are eating.

Why not have a go this year? I’ve come up with 5 ideas of simple things to grow, but there are many more. These crops are so simple you can grow them with children. They don’t take much effort and you can grow them with limited time and space. You can even grow these in containers, so if you only have a patio or small yard, you can still join in with the ‘grow your own’ brigade

1- Lettuces

There are so many varieties of lettuce to choose from. From the exotic to the bog standard green lettuce, you can enjoy them throughout the summer. Cut and come again salad leaves will keep producing tender new leaves which will make your summer salads come alive.

Home grown lettuce tastes nothing like shop bought, so give yourself a treat and grow some. Most will grow happily in window boxes; so are ideal for flat dwellers. Or a system like this amazing vertical gardening planner is a composter and plant pot in one!

vertical garden planter from garden tower project

2- Tomatoes

You can grow tomatoes anywhere where you get sun. You don’t need a greenhouse; a south facing wall is ideal. Tomatoes will grow in gro-bags, containers and even hanging baskets. Give them plenty of water each day and you’ll enjoy a bountiful crop.

Grow the small, cherry tomatoes such as Gardeners Delight for a taste explosion. And if you get a glut, you’ll love my fresh tomato soup recipe.

3- Courgettes (zuchini)

The only thing to watch out for when growing courgettes is that they turn to marrows almost overnight so regular picking is a must. If you let the marrows grow too big then the plant stops growing new vegetables.

Courgettes are lovely when sliced thinly and stir fried or can be grated and eaten raw. Last year I had more success by planting them in small containers; small plants meant small courgettes. Here are ten ways to use up courgettes.

simple crops to grow and eat

4- Potatoes

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of land to grow potatoes. The will happily grow anywhere, from a compost heap to a plastic bin liner! You can get a stack of tyres to grow them in or a special planter. It’s up to you, your budget and your space.

All you need to do is cover up the shoots when they appear (called earthing up) and let nature take care of the rest. Last year I grew my entire crop in large bags on the patio!

5- Mint

Spice up your home grown vegetables with some fresh mint. Mint is delicious when mixed with butter and allowed to melt over freshly cooked new potatoes. It provides the perfect partner to tomatoes and lettuces and mixed with rice and fried onions, you’ll create a heavenly stuffing for courgettes! Throughout the year I drink mint tea, which is calming for the digestion.

Mint needs to be grown in pots otherwise it can take over the garden. So what are you waiting for?

What about you – what is your favourite simple food to grow?

This post is in partnership with Responsival and Little Green Blog.



  1. watermate on April 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I started growing tomatoes and radish first and they took off a treat. It got me into growing veg and in the summer, what better 2 salad ingredients.

  2. Mrs Green on April 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Hi watermate; you’re so right – a simple success with easy-to-grow veggies soon turns into a bit of an addiction!
    Are you growing anything else this year?

  3. topher on June 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    another cool thing to grow if you have some logs around are mushrooms…..http://www.fungi.com/plugs/index.html

  4. Mrs Green on June 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    @topher: Hi Topher; welcome to the site and thank you for the link. i used to know someone who was a shittake mushroom farmer; but I hadn’t thought of doing this recently. Thanks for the reminder! Is this your own website, or just one you recommend to others?

  5. Stuart on August 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the courgette tip, I’ll try faster picking next year. I love them and eat them raw sometimes, without even slicing.

    Kale makes a great home crop as it is healthy and laughs off the frost, and radishes grow fast and are beautiful healthy looking things imo.
    Both worth a go, the radishes in a container. 🙂

  6. Mrs Green on September 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

    @Stuart: Oh yes, I’m a HUGE fan of kale. Our radishes went woody before I could eat most of them – note to self; successive sowing next year 😉