What should I grow?

One of the most common questions we get asked by new gardeners is what they should start off growing.

Start by answering the following questions...

Why do you want to grow your own?

To save money

Focus on foods which are more expensive. Also think about seasonality and how prolific plants are. Remeber to save your own seeds.

  • Soft fruits

  • Figs

  • Salads

  • Asparagus

  • Tomatoes

  • Chillies

  • Courgettes

  • Artichokes

  • Baby sweetcorn

  • French beans

  • Purple sprouting broccoli

  • Florence fennel

  • Sweet potatoes

To be more self sufficient

This needs the most space but start by thinking about what you buy most often. If you have plenty of space, then that's your list! If that's not an option, then pick plants which are prolific, and which can be stored or preserved.

  • Top fruits - apples, pears, plums. These can also be trained for small spaces.

  • Potatoes

  • Onions - especially spring onions or multisown onions

  • Cut & come again salad leaves

  • Fast growing veg - radishes, turnips

  • Kale

  • Beans

  • Look up the '3 sisters' growing method. This allows you to grow corn, beans and squash in the same space. However, it does require good planning and the right varieties to work well.

For fun

Maybe you want to grow with your family and all learn a little bit more about plants and food. Maybe you just want to try it.

  • Baby sweetcorn, 'Mini pop' or 'Snobaby'

  • Achocha

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Chillies - there are many colourful varieties with different heats, have a look at Sea Spring Seeds

  • Cucamelons

  • Edible flowers - nasturtiums, pinks, 

  • Potatoes

  • Peas

  • Brussel Sprouts

What's your climate?

 

If you live in Cornwall like us, you can probably get away with a lot more than you realise. Mediterranean plants do well in our climate - though beware of the wet winters.

Also look at Andean plants. The climate is very similar to ours and some of our most popular foods, potatoes and tomatoes, come from there. Achocha, oca, yacon, amaranthus, mashua...there's a lot to explore!

You might struggle with some crops if you live in a very exposed location, and/ or you're right on the coast. In which case consider dwarf varieties and salt tolerant plants.

Most importantly...

What do you like to eat?

Grow what you like - don't bother with the rest. 

There is a lot of advice available to a budding gardener. This can be helpful, it can also be contradictory or overwhelming. But don't let that stop you, gardening should be fun!  Don't worry too much about what you're supposed to do, enjoy yourself and learn along the way.