If, like me, you enjoy growing your own food but struggle to find the time, then you probably want ways to make vegetable growing easy. Fortunately, picking the right plants to grow can save you time and help to ensure success.
Hardy vegetables are the ones that prefer cool growing conditions, and so are better able to survive down-turns in the weather. Living in the north of England, this should have been the first thing I learned about vegetable gardening - it would have saved me from a lot of disappointment, as cool or erratic weather stunted the growth of what was meant to be my lunch.
Hardy vegetables include brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Bulbous vegetables like onions, leeks and garlic are also hardy and handy to have around, giving you the base for many recipes, especially soups and stews.
Having crops that keep coming back can save you the effort of re-planting every year. If you can get some well established perennials then you'll save yourself effort in the spring, and free up time for other planting, or to just enjoy the weather getting better.
Hardy perennials, to really make your vegetable gardening easy, include globe artichokes and asparagus. So not only will they save you effort, but they're a cheap way of eating what can be quite expensive in the shops.
Once well established, many fruit trees will largely take care of themselves. One of my favourite childhood memories is of sitting in an apple tree in my grandma's garden, an old thing that took no effort to maintain but that produced tasty, bountiful crops years after year. It may take time to get any returns on a fruit tree, but if you have the space then it's well worth the effort.
The right herbs
Having fresh herbs readily to hand is a great way to liven up your cooking. Chives and thyme take up little space, survive well with little care, and will provide you with fresh flavour year after year.