Fruit trees and bushes in the garden can provide regular crops of fruits each year with little effort and they make a good starting point for growing your own food. But which vegetables produce a regular crop for little effort?
Asparagus is an unusual vegetable in not being grown from ‘seed’ each year. Asparagus crowns need a couple of years in the ground before spears can be cut and eaten, but once established they should provide food for 25 years.
Perpetual Spinach is described as “tasty, long-producing and very easy to grow” and a “very worthwhile plant particularly for those with a tiny garden or those with no time”. Supposedly the plants can be harvested for up to a year. So the seeds are now planted and I am looking forward to picking my first leaves.
Runner beans are one of the easiest crops to grow and if kept watered they can produce beans from summer into the autumn. Courgette can be hard to get started, especially if the slugs and snails are about, but hardening a new plant for as long as possible before planting it out seems to help, and once it’s established it should provide a regular crop. There are varieties that claim to produce courgettes even if male flowers are not around, so you only need space for one plant. I’m trying a variety called ‘Sure Thing’ and hope it lives up to its name.
Baby leafed lettuce can be grown from seed in three weeks and once picked the leaves grow again. Leaves tend to regrow a few times before they seem a little tired and not quite so tasty. But with a couple of pots that are seeded and picked in rotation it is possible to eat a season of home grown lettuce. Cucumber plants should keep cropping but they can be tricky to maintain. This season I have switched to growing mini-cucumbers, having been advised that they are easier to grow and tasty.
Vegetable growing is all a bit of an experiment, but with high food prices it seems a good year to try and get some food growing in the garden and pots, and hopefully these ideas will inspire.
If you want a little support to start growing food for your family and live on the Jackmans estate then why not come along to TTL’s family growing space on Woolgrove allotments and we can help you and your children to have some fun growing your own food. Our Wildlife gardening Club meets every Sunday morning from 11am till 12 (email GIYLetchworth@gmail.com for information).