Fruit or veg that is very very easy to grow please(21 Posts)
I am a complete gardening novice, but at the age of 41, have decided that I would like not to just look at the garden, but get a bit more involved. This started only a few months ago, so it is all still very new to me. We have two raised beds that we have earmarked for fruit bushes or veg. It is against a fence (with clematis growing up it), east facing, but has huge amounts of sun and the area around it is not built up. We live in the south east.
We already have rhubarb growing in there, but we'd like to grow other things too. The bed is empty, but will need some prep I'd imagine (I have no idea what - all advice very welcome indeed).
What can we grow that has a large chance of success and is low maintenance please? I would like us to eat whatever it is that we grow, so I suppose I am looking at fruit or root vegetables and that rules out gooseberries and black/redcurrants.
Hooray for your decision to start gardening!
A word of caution - veg growing is probably the most intensive and difficult kind of gardening, so it's not really a low-maintenance option (fruit is lower maintenance on the whole). If you still want to go ahead, please don't be discouraged if not everything works first time around. It is normal to have a few failures every season! The trouble is that the things we want to eat tend to be stuff everything else wants to eat too - so pest problems can be an annoyance.
A sunny patch is absolutely idea for loads of things! Fruit and especially veg needs rich soil, so you will need loads of well-rotted manure and perhaps some compost in there too to beef it up a bit. I would maybe try some courgettes, some chard, and perhaps the 'three sisters' - sweetcorn, pole beans (runner, French, borlotti?), and squash, grouped together (squash needs space to ramble, however, so ignore that if your beds are small). Elsewhere, a few potatoes perhaps, and a few strawberries? And I would also think about setting up a rotation, because even in small beds this can be really beneficial.
Herbs are a great - and generally much easier - thing to grow in a back garden too.
Courgettes are easy and have lovely yellow flowers too
Another vote for courgettes, very easy to grow!
Strawberries are also very easy. Cucumbers and beans are also pretty straightforward and peas are great at the end of winter
Best place to start is, what are your favourite fruits and vegetables? I'm currently a bit obsessed with James Wong's grow for flavour which is a lot about easy to grow crops that taste dramatically better than supermarket stuff. Soft fruit is pretty easy and can save you a fortune - strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, and blueberries if you have acidic soil.
Una's advice is key! No point growing a veg you're not going to eat!
When I started growing veg (around 2007) I picked one veg (tomatoes) and gave it a try. When that worked fine the first year, I just added another veg the next year then the next year etc. It stopped me from feeling too overwhelmed. The veg I started out with was as follows: tomatoes, chili peppers/ordinary peppers, courgettes, herbs, runner beans. These were all pretty straightforward. I'd say that tomatoes were the most high maintenance of these.
Fruit and veg need nutrients to grow so your bed would benefit from being topped up with some good quality compost/manure/soil enhancer. I would recommend making your own compost for future years. You can get compost bins of all shapes and sizes so you could start with a small one and see how you get on. There are websites which explain how to do it but it really is pretty simple once you get going, and a great way to reduce your food and garden waste.
Raspberries are v easy. Once they're in, then apart from a bit of faff with the canes late on, they just grow and keep going year after year.
Courgettes are super easy, as others have said. I find strawberries difficult as they get eaten by slugs or mice before they are harvested. I don't like to use slug pellets as we have lots of frogs - not enough to keep the slugs at bay! Due to the slugs any lettuce gets destroyed too. Beetroot grows well, clearly not a slug favourite.
It depends where you are in the country as to whether you'd be able to grow tomatoes outside.
Thanks for so much advice! We like to eat berries - blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries in huge amounts. We also like potatoes, carrots, squash and runner beans (nobody eats courgettes unfortunately). If veg is generally higher maintenance, I am happy to stick to fruit as it will definitely get eaten.
We don't have slugs (that I have seen), or have a pond nearby, so I would put down slug pellets - should I be putting down anything else to deter what might want to eat my precious plants?
I will buy some compost this weekend. Should I leave any time between putting the compost through the soil and actually planting? Can I buy manure at a garden centre? And is it the right time of year now to plant?
Thanks so much for your guidance, I am starting to really enjoy having input into my garden.
Lots of good advice already on here. Definitely grow what you like to eat.
Raspberries are my favourite, but they do need a bit of space , as they will spread .
Compost and already rotted manure is available , in bags and can be forked in now, no problem.
Beans are very easy - and, take up less space up a wigwam or trellis.
A rule of thumb. If you like to eat it, everything else will....
Another one who grows fruit in preference to veg. And I no longer try to grow anything that is relatively cheap in the shops like potatoes carrots and onions. Lots of things that are easy to grow are expensive in the shops, or unobtainable, both fruit and veg - here are my thoughts on vegetables:
-peas because they are easy and taste so gorgeous raw fresh off the plant.
- purple sprouting broccoli - I have some ripe now that has happily grown in shade.
- cavolo Nero Is dead easy and provides so much leaf, you only need a few plants. Mine is now over & in flower and it's a gorgeous pale lemon cloud that the bees love.
- Swiss chard also happy in shade and very prolific
- Oriental greens
I also like planting fun thing, like tromboncino courgettes, and last year I successfully grew and pickled tiny French gherkins.
Radish is very easy to grow, you could plant two or three different varieties for added interest when serving salad.
I found beetroot and broccoli easy too.
Herbs do well in containers, so you might try a few of your favourites, thyme, mint, sage and oregano always do well.
I bought two yellow raspberry bushes, two red raspberry bushes, a fairly mature blueberry bush and two thornless blackberry bushes. I think the blueberry will fruit this year as there are lots of flowers on it, but it will be next year I think for the others. We've staked them using u shaped stakes and wire.
I will get the other beds prepped in time for next spring as I really fancy doing peas, radish, beans and cavalo Nero on the back of this thread. We already have rhubarb.
I am so excited! I will get nets ready for when they start to fruit. Fingers crossed we will have some success as it all set me back by £100 so I am now very invested in looking after Them!
Thank you all for your tips and enthusiasm.
Bear in mind the blueberry needs acidic soil so will be better in a pot with ericaceous compost.
Beetroot are low maintenance but of course, as other posters have said, only worth growing if you like to eat them. You could probably grow lettuce this year too - you can buy packs of cut and come again seeds.
Radish only take a few weeks to grow, and don't take up much space, so if you have a free patch available you could have some this summer.
Good luck with all your fruits.
this book is excellent
not only is it lovely to read and look at, it has tons of really useful information in it.
he does another one which covers fruit and herbs too, I haven't read it, but if it anything like the other then get it!!
monkey are those books suitable for a complete novice please? I genuinely have no idea what I am doing!
Yes, i would say so, there is info about how to prepare the ground, plant, everything really, and detailed info on each veggie, plus even recipes!
Mint in a pot- as this spreads like wildfire if planted directly in the ground. You can use it as mint water, mint with potatoes, mint with fruit salad
Rosemary- in the ground. Trim it so it becomes bushy but not during winter. It can be used to flavour roast chicken and roast potato.
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