How to grow vegetables – beginner veg to grow

Growing your own vegetables is rewarding, healthy and fun. But it can be daunting knowing how and where to start. Should you start with beans or onions? Courgettes or asparagus? While it’s a good idea to grow what you like to eat, it’s also worth paying attention to how easy a crop is to grow. So, if aubergines are your favourite vegetable, why not try growing them in your second veg-growing year, as they can be tricky to grow?

Instead, it’s best to grow crops that require little maintenance, are ready to harvest within a short time, and suffer few pests and diseases. These include crops like courgettes, beans, beetroot, rocket, radish, chillies and potatoes.

How to grow vegetables

Choose a sheltered, sunny spot for growing veg. Exceptions to this rule include salad leaves and some herbs, which can bolt (run to seed) in full sun, and therefore do better in partial shade. Prepare the soil by removing weeds and adding well-rotted compost or manure, and rake level.

Only grow what you have space for. If you don’t have a large garden you can grow salad crops in window boxes, pots or growing bags. Don’t grow plants too closely together and prick out if necessary – always follow the spacing suggestions on the seed packet.

Deter slugs and snails using physical barriers such as copper tape. If possible, start off vulnerable plants, such as salad leaves and courgettes, indoors, and plant them out when they’re big enough to withstand attack. Use wildlife-friendly slug pellets (made using iron phosphate) as a last resort.

Water plants thoroughly and stake if necessary, to stop them flopping over.


Beetroot can be sown direct into shallow drills in the soil, and are ready to harvest within a few weeks. ‘Boltardy’ is a popular and reliable globe-shaped beetroot. It has good resistance to bolting (running to seed), making it a perfect choice for beginner growers. It produces medium-sized roots, with smooth skin and deep red flesh.

Find out all you need to know about growing beetroot in our beetroot Grow Guide.

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