5 easy-to-grow vegetables to keep you healthy and happy
There's nothing more satisfying than growing your own vegetables to eat, and it's surprisingly easy to do. It's also a great way for children to learn about gardening while adding to your kitchen stores. You can buy vegetable seeds in some supermarkets, shop for them online, or ask a green-fingered neighbour if they have some seeds going spare.
Cress is the easiest vegetable to grow. Simply line a small punnet or tray with wet tissue, sprinkle it with seeds, cover with clingfilm and and leave on a sunny windowsill. The seeds should germinate within 2 or 3 days, and will grow quickly. Spray with a little more water as required, and sow more seeds every week or two for a continue crop.
Lettuce needs to be grown outdoors in containers or a vegetable patch. Early spring is a good time to sow, as they like cooler weather. If you need to, dig over the soil with a fork first to ensure it's soft. Plant your seeds 1-2cm deep, spacing them about 30cm apart so each lettuce has room to grow. Watering should be light and frequent - don't over water, or the roots will rot. They should be ready to harvest in about 5-10 weeks.
Radishes are hardy and quick growers, and unlike lettuce they don't need a lot of space. Sow them outdoors in a container or vegetable patch. Plant the seeds 1cm deep and space them apart 2-3cm. If sowing more than one row, space the rows about 15cm apart. Radishes are a root vegetable, so keep the soil moist to stop the root drying and splitting. They should be ready to harvest in around 4 weeks, so keep planting more to ensure a good supply.
Carrots need deeper soil to accommodate their long root. They can be grown in containers, but prefer open ground provided it's not too stony or heavy clay. They like a sunny position. Plant the seeds 1cm deep, about 5-7cm apart. If you're planting several rows, space the rows about 20cm apart. Carrots don't require much water, but in prolonged dry spells give them a good soaking.
5. Spring onions
Spring onions make a tasty addition to any salad, and are really simple to grow. They have a shallow root system, so you can grow them outside in pots or in your vegetable patch. Sow them in rows about 1cm deep, or in clumps. Water them in dry weather, and they should be ready to harvest in about 8 weeks.