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My 10 Top Foods To Grow

My 10 Top Foods To Grow in list form… I am often asked what my favourite or top foods to grow are. So I have compiled my top 10 foods to grow here. I have gone with a mix of different reasons to grow from ease, to speed, and then the amount of food you can get too. Hope you enjoy.

Number 1

Lettuce

Incredibly easy, and it grows so quickly. I always recommend starting with something that grows quickly so your are rewarded early for your efforts. Often “grow your own food kits” start with a tomato plant, and whilst I adore growing tomatoes it isn’t the easiest or quickest to grow. Having something that grows within 30 days is super rewarding and helps new growers to catch the “food growing bug”. There are a wide variety of lettuces out there, and one of my favourite groups of lettuce are those that you can cut-and-come-again. This means that you can cut a few leaves, and keep coming back for more. So you could fill a trough with lettuce plants, pop it on the windowsill or by the backdoor and have salad on hand for months. Our favourite lettuce type to grow for commercial production is Salanova. Watch how we grow it here.

Number 2

Radish

A top spot on the top foods to grow list and another super quick grower, in the summer you can grow Radish and Lettuce in 30 days.. from seed to salad in a month! There lots of different varieties you can grow, from the Cherry Bell variety which is the round red you’d expect to see in the supermarket. To one of our fav snacks is the French Breakfast variety, which is slightly less hot and a lovely snack straight out of the ground. We also love to slice up our radishes when we have a glut and pickle them to pop in a jar.

Number 3

Courgette

Another favourite for its ease in growing, whilst it isn’t super quick. It is the gift that keeps on going and going and going. Courgettes, whilst they require a little bit of room, are fairly easy to grow and once they start to fruit they provide courgettes for a long time. Just a few plants will give you huge gluts of them throughout the summer. Plus there are a couple of different types, not just the green long ones you see in most shops. We adore the yellow variety and they make an amazin dish alongside their green friends. This year we have been trialling with a ball shaped variety called Ronde-De-Nice which is somewhere between a courgette and a squash, it’s delicious!

Number 4

Kale

Kale is an amazing vegetable to grow due to its longevity. If you have the right setup you can grow Kale for almost all of the year. Plus there are so many different types of Kale it can be very exciting. We also cannot argue with how packed with vitamins it is, you can easily add it to your weekly veg list and keep it exciting by having different varieties each week. Some of our favourites to grow are the conventional green curly kale, cavolo nero, scarlett borecole (purple kale), red russian kale and more. Kale plants can be classed as cut and come again, much like some lettuce varieties, as you pick the lower leaves on most kales and it continues to grow on for a few months. Successions of plants will allow you to grow kale for 10 – 11 months of the year (with fleece).

Number 5

Rainbow Chard

One of my absolute top foods to grow because of it’s beautiful colours is Rainbow Chard. It’s so stunning when growing that it could easily be slotted around a garden in amongst shrubs and flowers fitting in well. Again, like Kale, Rainbow Chard can grow for long parts of the year and is a cut and come again veg. You take off leaves as they get bigger and then smaller leaves will grow up to take their place. Both the stalks and leaves are delicious, cooking the stalks a little longer and then the leaves wilted at the end gives a delicious veg to add to any meal.

Number 6

Tomato

I was a little dubious putting tomatoes on this list of top foods to grow, but it simply couldn’t not be on here. Tomatoes have to be my personal favourite food to grow, but they aren’t the easiest. Tomato plants take a lot of work and time, they take a good few months to get going and they require constant pruning to get the best of them. But you cannot beat the beautiful taste of tomatoes that comes from the hard work. If you have never grown your own tomatoes you will be blown away by the flavour compared to supermarket bought tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes have to be a personal favourite as there are so many different varieties with colours and flavours. This year we are growing varieties of red, yellow, orange and purple toms.

Number 7

Basil

A top food to grow, and a favourite herb of ours is Basil. It grows wonderfully alongside tomatoes as it helps keeps pests at bay and away from the tomatoes. It just so happens that they taste wonderful together as a salad, sauce and much more. Growing them from seed, or picking up a plant from a garden centre is the best way to go. The ones you buy from a food shop often have so many seeds loaded in to the pot that they don’t develop properly below the soil and don’t last long. We plant basil, lettuce and marigolds in amongst all our tomato plants in our polytunnels and would recommend the same in a greenhouse.

Number 8

French Beans

French Beans are my absolute favourite bean and a firm top food to grow. They give a brilliant steady supply of delicious french beans through the summer and the more you pick the more you get. Most varieties are climbing beans and will require something to climb up, either netting or a wigwam shape, or simply up bamboo canes. If however like on our farm you are exposed to wind, their are dwarf french bean varieties that grow in a small bush closer to the ground. You can then just pick them from the lower plant, but it is a little more of a hunt for the beans. They are delicious cooked with a little garlic, but equally as wonderful raw in a salad straight off the plant. I’m constantly picking and snacking on them round the farm.

Number 9

Sweetcorn

I only started growing sweetcorn in 2019 and was instantly in love. Mainly because whilst I had eaten sweetcorn all my life, I had never ever tasted anything like a fresh sweetcorn straight off the plant. It is said you get the pan of water boiling before picking them… They really live up to the sweet in their name if you do so. They are a top food to grow, but aren’t necessarily the best use of space if you don’t have much to grow in. Sweetcorn needs to be grown in multiples and in a grid formation as they pollinate by the wind blowing them into eachother. Each plant will produce one or two sweetcorn corbs, so you do need a fair bit of space if you want them regularly.
Chris Huskins Spring Onions

Number 10

Spring Onions

So we land on number 10 of my top foods to grow, and these could easily been anywhere in this list. We sow new spring onions almost weekly so we have a steady supply throughout the whole growing season. The great thing is that Spring Onions can be grown in the bunches that you’d normally pick them in. We put 8-10 seeds in a module, then plant them out in the bunch. When harvesting we lift them with a hand fork, pop an elastic band around the bunch and trim the roots. They are then ready to pop straight in the fridge looking wonderful. There are more varieities than you imagine that can be grown too; normal white, purple spring onions, blood red, just to name a few of those that we are growing this year.

Your Favourites

“Rainbow Chard has got to be my favourite food to grow. It is so versatile and it keeps on giving. Plus the obvious best bit, the colours! It is good with breakfast, lunch and dinner… and fairly easy to grow.” – Emily

“My favourite crop has got to be squash. Whilst it isn’t the easiest to grow it can be used for so many dishes. There are so many different types too, and they store for months.” – Jack

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