Here’s the crazy thing - you don’t have to be a vegetable gardening guru to have a productive, fruitful kitchen garden. Literally anyone with the space and inclination can set one up in their back yard or even on their balcony. It’s a rewarding and fun process, a way to provide healthy, organic vegetables for your family and help out the environment at the same time.
A question we often get asked by beginner gardeners is,
“What are the easiest vegetables to grow in my kitchen garden?”
The answer to this is dependant on a few things. A good starting point is to ask yourself what you and your family enjoy eating? The effort you put into your garden will be so much more rewarding if the delicious produce is appreciated. So stick to the vegetables that really tickle your taste buds!
The plants you can grow will also be determined by the space you have available. Crops have different space and sunlight requirements, so make sure you’re picking ones suited to your garden.
In a similar vein, the time of year is important. Changing seasons and the local climate will affect the growing conditions of your kitchen garden. Always double check that the prevailing conditions suit the type of vegetable you want to plant.
With those things in mind, here are five of our favourite vegetables for beginners to kick off their kitchen garden journey with:
These are a hardy and easy to grow choice, usually providing abundant harvests for first time growers. They’re also super tasty and versatile, lending themselves to many salads and dishes.
Beans have the ability to grow in fairly poor soils, so should do well in a nicely-tended vegetable garden. As a legume they’re nitrogen-fixers, so they put back into the soil what other crops can take out. This gives the other plants in your veggie garden a nice boost.
You can choose between bush beans and runner beans (or pole beans), depending on the nature of your garden space. Runner beans are a climbing vine that require a trellis to grow up, so are better suited to smaller garden spaces. Bush beans do as the name suggests and grow in a short, bushy plant.
Beans are a summer crop, so plant them at the start of summer so they can enjoy the warm sunlight. They’ll be ready to harvest in a couple of months. Be sure to check they have adequate water during this time or they won't achieve their full growth.
Who doesn’t love a fresh and crunchy lettuce salad? This leafy vegetable is an enduring favourite amongst home growers and health enthusiasts. The good news is lettuce is easy and fast to grow, so you can be enjoying fresh, organic produce within six weeks of planting. It’s pretty cold-resistant so can be enjoyed all year round, growing indoors during the cooler months and outdoors in summer and spring.
Lettuce need space to grow, so plant them thinly. We’d also suggest planting small amounts at regular intervals, giving you a regular harvest throughout the year.
Nothing tastes quite like a homegrown tomato! They simply have richer flavours than their supermarket counterparts, part of the reason they’re such a popular kitchen garden choice. A healthy tomato plant looks fantastic too, and they’re actually not that difficult to grow.
Tomatoes aren’t big fans of the cold, so plant them at the beginning of summer if your veggie garden is outdoors. They can be grown indoors too, as long as you keep the temperature conditions right and ensure they get lots of water.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables out there, an incredible source of protein, fibre, iron and other vitamins. It’s no wonder then that it's a home gardening favourite, particularly considering that it's easy to grow and thrives in cooler climates.
You’ll want to time planting your broccoli crop to avoid high summer temperatures. The plants will go to seed (called ‘bolting’) when it gets too hot, which makes them tough and flavourless. They can grow fairly big, so plant the seeds around 18-inches apart and expect a harvest in three to four months time.
For the sake of variety it’s always nice to include a root crop in your veggie patch, and carrots are a popular option. They can be planted in an outside garden bed, or indoors in a container. Make sure the dirt is loose, and when your seedlings sprout thin out any clumps so the carrots have room to grow.
When the carrot tops get nice and bushy, pull out a couple to see if they’re good to eat. This will normally be between 60 to 80 days after planting the seeds.
Compost For Your Kitchen Garden
To be at its most productive, your home vegetable garden needs a good compost system. One that takes your food waste and turns it into a rich, nutritious and organic fertiliser that feeds your plants.
A Subpod is a worm farm that uses worms and microbes to break down food waste into an organic compost which fertilises your garden. Simple and compact, they reduce the environmental footprint of your household whilst providing a superfood organic fertilizer to help your plants grow. That’s a win-win!
These vermicomposting systems can be used everywhere from small homes to commercial developments. There’s a Subpod wormery for everyone, so have a look at the online store and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions.
Starting your own kitchen garden?
Our worm farm compost systems are your perfect partner.