Easiest vegetables to grow in the UK

Within the past decade, allotment gardening has seen a renaissance. ‘Newbie’ gardeners are looking to find the easiest vegetables to grow and provide food for the dinner plate. This can be quite daunting to a generation that has had very little exposure to methods of growing food.

Spiralling food costs and increased awareness of environmental issues have accelerated the momentum of the ‘Grow your own’ revolution. Younger generations are now appreciating this highly rewarding pastime. Waiting lists for new allotment plots are growing ever longer.

You may be one of those new generations of allotmenteers, bitten by the ‘grow your own’ bug. Whether you are growing vegetables in raised beds or in pots, the following list of easy-to-grow vegetables, has been specially selected for the first-time gardener.

A list of the easiest vegetables to grow for beginners

The following is a list of the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK garden. It features a number of crops to sow from seed. You will also find a little advice along the way, to get the best out of your veg patch. You are sure to get a good crop, save money and fill your kitchen with great-tasting, fresh greens.


Easy Grow Lettuce

Lettuce can be sown directly into the ground for most of the year. Will produce a crop within a month or so an looks great in the ground and on the table.

Lettuce – for standard head growth

If you wish to grow lettuces for a single harvest with a nice round head shape, then you must space each lettuce plant according to the instructions for that variety. This is usually done by broadcasting the lettuce seeds and then ‘thinning out’ the seedlings to the required spacing. You can also start off the them in trays or pots and then plant out with required spacing. Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow on the veg patch.

Gardener’s Advice: You will need to guard against slugs, snails, birds and rabbits! A cloche may offer some level of protection.

Lettuce – Cut and come again

Loose-leaf lettuce varieties make for great ‘cut and come again’. For this method, sow the seed in rows, 4-6 inches wide.

Once the seedlings start to put out secondary leaves, thin out a little. Depending on the variety, thin out to a couple of inches apart. Harvest once the lettuce starts to bush by cutting the upper leaves as you would trim a hedge.

Gardener’s Advice: Don’t sow too many rows of seed at once. A previously cut row will take about 2 weeks to replenish.  Start a row every couple of weeks for a continuous supply of lettuce.

Varieties to try



Pronounced ‘Keen-noir’, a very easy and rewarding and nutritious vegetable to grow on the veg patch. Will produce masses of tiny seeds that can be harvested with little effort. Grows easily in the UK, just like it’s close cousin, ‘Fat-hen’. You may also each the leaves as you would spinach. To harvest the seed: wait until the plants have started to dry out and the leaves die. On a dry day, cut each seeded stem and take into a warm dry environment. Tie into loose bunches and hang up in paper bags. The seeds should easily fall away as they dry out.

Varieties to try

Runner Beans

Runner Beans

One of the easiest vegetables to grow. Runner beans will quickly ramble up sticks, trellises, hedges and even over a garage or shed! They need very little care and attention. You will need to pick the beans daily for a continuous supply! Don’t allow each runner bean pod to grow too large. They will become tough and stringy. Instead, harvest them while they are still thin and flexible.

You can either sow each bean into pots and grow in a greenhouse in April or directly in the ground during the latter end of May. Ensure that you provide adequate climbing support and protect the young plants from slug attacks. Once each runner bean plant reaches the top of the support, trim the growing tip. This will cause the plant to bush out a little and will result in a greater harvest. Runner beans love moist (but not soaking) soil. Don’t allow them to dry out.

Gardener’s Advice: The only serious pest for Runner beans is Blackfly. I use a mixture of of my own to treat an infestation. Mix together 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 10 drops essential oils such as spearmint, or peppermint and spray it over the Blackfly, whenever they appear. Check daily.

Varieties to try

French Beans

French Beans

Some varieties are self-supporting and bushy. Grow in the same manner as Runner Beans. Make sure that you harvest daily for a continuous supply of beans.

Varieties to try

Peas & Mangetout

Peas and Mangetout

Very easy to grow. Sow directly into the soil from March onward. Peas will quickly entwine around netting, sticks, chicken wire, etc. You must protect them from pigeons and other birds. Tie old CDs or bits of silver foil to string and hang it around the pea plants to scare off most warm-blooded pests. For support, you can’t beat using small fallen branches.

Varieties to try


Easy Grow Radish

Sow directly into the ground, thin out and eat! Another one of the top easiest vegetables to grow on the allotment. And, perhaps the quickest sprouting and child-friendly crops there is. You can grow them between crops such as Potatoes, Beans and Sweetcorn, while you are waiting for the larger crops to mature.

Varieties to try


Sweet Corn

Sow Sweetcorn during the latter end of April either in 1 per pot/plug or directly into the ground. Plant them in block formation to aid wind pollination. Sweetcorn grows quickly and looks great.

Once the tassel-like growth (or ‘silk’) at the top of each cob has dried off, then it should be time to harvest. This is usually about 20 days after the silk first appears. You may try a single cob first by pressing your thumbnail into the corn. If the juice is milky, then it is ready for eating.

Varieties to try

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Sow into finely raked soil and thin out. Pick the leaves and leave the plant in the ground to produce a continuous crop. This may continue into the New Year, so don’t pull up your plants too soon. You may dispose of them once they start to bolt (produce tall, thin flower stems), or let them flower for next year’s seed supply.

Varieties to try

Spring Onions

Spring Onions

Sow spring onion seeds directly into the soil or into containers. Thin out. Spring Onions tend to be problem-free although slugs may cause some damage during wet weather.

Gardener’s Advice: Instead of pulling up the entire spring onion plant to harvest it, try cutting it an inch above the ground. It will re-sprout and provide even more of a crop! Easy gardening!

Varieties to try

Asparagus Pea

Asparagus Pea - Easy to grow

Sow Asparagus Peas directly into the ground in late spring. Needs very little attention. Looks good in a border or even rockery! As with runner beans, harvest the small pods regularly to ensure a continuous crop. Don’t leave each pod to grow too large. Large Asparagus Pea pods are tough to eat. Pick them while they are still medium-sized and tender. Great tasting if steamed!

Varieties to try



A very easy-to-grow vegetable. Sow Carrot seeds in rows and thin them out to a couple of inches apart. Should take 12-16 weeks from sowing to harvest. As with most salad vegetables, carrots should be sown in succession from April until July to allow for a continuous crop. In contrast to popular opinion, the leaves of a carrot are not toxic. However, they are quite often bitter. The main pest that affects the Carrot is the carrot root fly. Try planting your carrots in large pots or planters and raise them, as the carrot root fly can only gain an altitude of a couple of feet.

Varieties to try


Easy grow Beetroot

An effortless root vegetable to grow. Sow Beetroot seeds as you would carrots. Be aware that the seeds are often clustered together. One seed may be several. So thinning out is important. While you are waiting for the harvest, you can eat the leaves in salads and stir-fries. An extremely nutritious, easy-to-grow vegetable. I find that Sparrows can be a bit of a pest. They love eating the leaves.

Varieties to try

easiest vegetables to grow – Calendar

Asparagus PeaMarch-AprilMay-June
Broad BeanNov-AprilMay-June
French BeanApril-JulyJuly-Oct
Runner BeanMay-JulyJuly-Oct
Salad LeavesMarch-OctApril-Nov
Spring OnionMarch-JulyJune-Oct
Swiss ChardMarch-JuneJune-Oct

A gardener’s advice On Easy to grow vegetables

It barely needs mentioning, that you will need to check your crop daily. Make sure that your seedlings are watered and no weeds are competing with them. I like to sow my vegetable seed in rows and cover them with lines of compost. This makes it both easier to direct the watering efforts and identify which seedlings are weeds and which are the actual plants.

There are plenty of other easy vegetables from seed to try. If you are an absolute beginner to vegetable gardening, I would avoid most of the Brassica family, such as Cabbage and Cauliflower). Try those varieties next year once you have become a seasoned vegetable grower.

If you have enjoyed this article about the easiest vegetables to grow, then please do comment below. Perhaps you have a few recommendations, not on my list of vegetables?
For more advice, why not watch the following video:

Frequently Asked Questions About The easiest vegetables to grow

What is the quickest-growing kind of vegetable in the UK?

Radishes are one of the quickest vegetables to harvest, taking only 3-4 weeks.

Is it cheaper to buy or grow vegetables?

Gardeners can save money by purchasing commonly grown produce at the greengrocers or supermarket, rather than growing it at home. However, the veg will not have the same flavour or nutritional value as homegrown.

Which are the easiest vegetables to grow in pots & containers?

I would recommend the following: Carrots, Broad beans, Dwarf French beans, Peas, Rocket, Runner beans, Salad leaves, Potatoes, Salad onions, Radishes and Tomatoes.

If you are looking to grow vegetables during the winter months, then do consider reading this article: Top 10 Winter Vegetables to Grow in the UK

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