5 easiest vegetables - 1

Simple and healthy: the 5 easiest vegetables to grow for beginners

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If you want a garden full of healthy veg, but aren't sure how to go about it, here are 5 of the easiest vegetables to grow to get you started. Choose your favourites, get planting, and you'll be harvesting tasty, fresh ingredients in no time!

1. Green beans - for a bumper crop

Green beans come in bush and vine varieties and produce pretty little flowers, making them decorative as well as delicious. Although they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed, they are a bit picky about conditions, preferring sun, plenty of water, and well-drained soil.

After the last frost, add plenty of compost to the soil of your chosen bed or container. Vine beans will also need a trellis or cage to climb up once they get started. When harvest time comes around, cook them with tomatoes and garlic, share them with your neighbours, and freeze whatever's left.

2. Peppers - perfect for balconies

Peppers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and flavours - from mild but bitter bell peppers to hot chillies - so why not grow a few varieties at once? Smaller varieties are ideal for balconies and patios and their bright colours will brighten up any outdoor space.

Because they aren't the easiest vegetables to grow from seed, many people buy started plants. But if you want to try it, start them off indoors in a warm place and plant them out well after the last frost, when the soil is getting warmer. Pepper need full sun, plenty of space to grow and regularly watering.
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3. Green-leaved salads - the easiest vegetables to grow in cool conditions

Leafy green salad vegetables like lettuce, rocket and spinach have much in common, including being some of the easiest vegetables to grow in partial shade. If you want to grow them in a region with hot summers, try to provide them with some shade and keep the soil cool with a layer of mulch.

Plant seeds so that mature plants will have plenty of room, water both seeds and plants regularly, and watch them grow quickly to harvesting size. If you sow a few crops at intervals of a couple of weeks, you can also extend your harvesting time, keeping your salad supply going for longer!

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4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes need full sun, so make sure before you start that you have a suitable spot for them. Provided with this and plenty of water, a couple of plants can supply you with a huge quantity of delicious, juicy tomatoes. Whether you grow them from seed or from started plants, add plenty of compost to your soil before planting.

For the best chance of success, choose smaller varieties like cherry tomatoes, which are less likely to suffer from split fruit. You can also plant basil next to them to deter pests and add to the flavour. Provide your tomato vines with good support, like a cage or trellis, so that they can really grow upwards and outwards as they soak up the sun.
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5. Carrots

Grow carrots from seed, remembering that they need plenty of loose, stone-free soil to grow down into. Make holes just under an inch deep and a few inches apart, sowing two seeds in each. Keep the soil moist while they are young, but reduce watering as they mature.

Although they prefer full sun if possible, carrots will also grow in areas with partial shade, and benefit from a layer of mulch to keep the soil cool and weed-free. Harvest them when their tops start growing above the soil and add sweetness and crunch to your salads.
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Now you're familiar with some of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden, there's no reason not to start straight away. Enjoy the excitement of producing your own healthy food from planting to long-anticipated harvesting.