market stallYou hear a lot of talk these days about how good vegetables are for you. The daily allowance is of five portions of fruit and veg today.

But it costs a lot to buy fruit and veg at the supermarket. Despite all the guff about supermarkets being low cost places they still charge a lot for vegetables.

It is not uncommon for a couple of lettuces to set you back over £1. You can get veg much cheaper if you go down to the market, but it can be out very cost effective to grow your own.

Easy to grow vegetable ideas

Here are the top ten vegetables to grow on your own. I have based this list based on my own hard experience. These should suit the lazy gardener who has little time to carefully tend their crops every day. I like to grow in a largely organic way. The only chemicals that I ever use are a few slug pellets.

1. Spinach beet

This is a great crop that is very easy to grow and a very good vegetable. The slugs and caterpillars will have a gentle nibble at it but largely leave it alone. You can plant it directly into the soil and thin out the seedlings when they come up. You just take off leaves when you need them.

2. Radish

These were the first veg that I ever grew as a kid. They had a big advantage that they came up quite quickly. They have a nice spicy tang and are best off eaten on their own.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce can be easily grown and can be planted across the season. My personal favourite is the Tom Thumb as these can be picked very soon after sowing. Their size makes them very suitable as a single portion. The main problem with lettuce is that slugs and snails love lettuces and can destroy your whole crop. Slug pellets are some of the few chemicals that I would use on a garden. I understand that there is a biological control called nematodes, but I’m not sure where you can get hold of them from. (Beer is another technique you can use – see below)

4. Cress

This is a great one for kids. The seeds can be grown indoors on a few sheets of tissue (best is unbleached) or in a little compost. It’s not the easiest vegetable to eat but they can be spread on top of a salad or go nicely as an addition to a salad.

5. Cherry tomatoes

cherry tomato

Cherry tomatoes are a real delight to grow

These are very easy to grow. They be grown from seed though I find that it is very easy to pick up seedlings from a village fete or from a vegetable shop or garden centre in late spring. They work best if you have a greenhouse, but I have grown them up against a sunny south facing wall. They can be grown in a grow bag, but you have to make sure that they get lots of water. You can buy irrigation hose pipe which will drip water at a constant rate.

6. Nasturtiums

“What?” I hear you say – Nasturtiums are a flower. Well yes, but you can also eat the leaves and flowers as part of a salad. The leaves have a fiery tangy taste, a bit like rocket. They are easy to grow from seed and have very pretty flowers. They are quite good at trailing from a hanging baskets. They seem to grow very easily and quite late in the season, but they can be prone to be eaten by caterpillars.

7. Potatoes

Potatoes can be easily grown from either seed potatoes or the old potatoes that have started to chit (sprout shoots). They can be grown in a trench and as the potatoes come up it is necessary to keep them watered and to cover the sides of the plant with soil. They can also be grown in barrels or a particularly common practice is to grow them in old car tyres that can then be raised up with soil as the potatoes grow.

8. Courgettes

Courgettes can be quite tricky to grow but with a greenhouse they can produce good results. They do not take well to no being regularly watered and can be prone to the same virus that effects cucumber plants. The secret seems to be grow the courgettes from seed yourself rather than buying them as seedlings from the garden centre. They can also be prone to aborting the courgettes that then tend to rot.

9. Carrot

Carrots can be grown to good effect and they can generate good “beginners luck” in the first year. They are prone to carrot fly which can cause problems, particularly in the second year. I have found that baby carrots can be very effective – particularly if you mix them around other types of vegetable.

So here are my top ideas. I once set myself a New Years Resolution to grow and eat ten vegetables in a year. With very little effort I managed to get to fourteen.

Dealing with slugs (Sent in by Alecia)

My grandmother and mother taught me a very easy, safe, and effective method for slug control that I wanted to share.If you have any problem with slugs in your garden, choose a night when you don’t expect rain, take a pie plate or other deep plate, and place it under the plant. Fill the plate with beer (The brand is up to you as make sure it is aromatic.).

Slugs apparently love beer and will abandon the plant to drink it. While drinking, they become quickly intoxicated and will slip into the beer and drown. Leave the plate or plates there for about 24 hours before checking. When you come back, you should see a number of drowned slugs.This can be repeated as often as needed and could even be left in place and refilled. There is no risk to your plants from the beer, and you won’t even have to worry about harming any stray animals that might come in contact with your pest control.I had a patch of strawberries that were covered in tiny slugs.

I placed a saucer of beer (in my case, Molson Ice) under every few plants, and within about three days they had all met a beer induced demise.

More Dealing with slugs (Sent in by Sonia)

The old idea of making slug traps with beer is very effective but can be expensive as the beer either gets rained out or dries up. And when replenishing, you waste quite a bit while retrieving the dead slugs.I came up with the following idea – an improvement on the old – which is the best yet.Take two yogurt pots (or similar) and one empty margarine tub. Place the ‘sieve pot’ inside the other yogurt pot. Take the margarine tub, (the roof) turn it upside down and in two sides, cut a ‘doorway’ large enough for slug or snail to enter.

Take the second yogurt pot and in the base pierce about ten small holes. This is the ‘sieve pot’ Place the sieve pot inside the other pot.’By your young salads, bury the yogurt pot/s with sieve, up to its neck. Fill with beer! Place roof over the top with a few pebbles on top to stop it blowing away.In this manner, I caught sixty small slugs, the ones that do the most damage, in one night.Inspect your pots every day or two. Just remove the sieve and the beer stays in the pot. Throw the dead slugs out to give the birds a boozy breakfast. Replace sieve carefully and top up beer when necessary.If anyone has a cheap mixture that appeals to slugs, without the need to buy beer, I shall be glad to hear of it.

Do you have any other good ideas? Simply add them into the box below.

March 27, 2007 Filed under Lifestyle,Money -


Ideas submitted by our readers on: Easy to grow vegetable ideas

I know slugs and snails like small shoots as one snail got my melon plant. You can use slug repelent but hedgehog and other small animals can be poisoned by it and hedgehogs are endangered, but put your plants in pots up high on shelves so mammals can’t be poisoned or put them in the shed or green house and make sure no mammals can get in and then you can use slug replent. fiona 13

Thanks to fiona 13 — August 25, 2007

If you’ve wanted to grow exotic plants like melons then get the seed or stone from the fruit put it in a pot and cover it in a plastic bag and then tie it with an elastic band and put it on a sunny window sill. When you see shoots take off the bag only plant them in the ground when it is very strong. However you would be lucky if any of the plants live. fiona 12

Thanks to fiona 12 — August 25, 2007

Grow you own Veg ideas:
The easiest way to get started is to grow your vegetables in a raised bed

Thanks to Anonymous — September 5, 2007

[...] In most areas you can get a box of fresh organic vegetables and fruit delivered to your door. As well as cutting down on food miles, it will be healthy and will put you back in touch with the seasonality of your food. You could even consider growing some of your own vegetables. [...]

Thanks to 10 ways to make your house carbon neutral — September 11, 2007

If you want to deter slugs organically why not try Slug and Snail Copper Tape or even better the new Smart Pots available from (Code GPC-33) This provide great protection for Hostas aswell another favouite of the Garden SLug

Thanks to Anonymous — February 11, 2008

The best way to deal with slugs I have found is to drive over them in my car, you have to be quite careful as to miss the vegetables and not get the car stuck in the garden also this is best none between one and four in the morning on a clear night.

Thanks to Anonymous — February 24, 2008

I have a much better way of dealing with slugs and that is to shine a bright torch in to its eyes and it cant see were it is going and becomes disoriented I have found this highly effective but a little time consuming.

Thanks to Anonymous — February 24, 2008

i find that peas can be quite easy to grow, and you dont even need those tripod things, just a fence, and there are some pots that are elongated so peas can grow in them, this is how i was able to grow a lot.

Thanks to Anonymous — April 26, 2008

Sent in by JennyLynn

An idea for the Slug happy hour. lol ….

To improve on the magerine tub idea…

you could just take 2 yogurt tubs, poke tiny holes in one to make a sort of strainer, and place it inside the other one.

Fill them with beer. bury them half way in the ground under your plants… when you have captured your drunken sailors, pull the inside cup out and it will “strain” the little buggers right out leaving the beer behind. flick them in the compost heap and replace the strainer back inside the cup with the beer still in it.

Also, i thought maybe to try a fruit beer, like pomegranate, blueberry, or strawberry beer to give them a tastier last meal. haha

Thanks to jonathanball — May 6, 2008

A much cheaper option to buying beer as a slug catcher, is of course to use your own home brewed beer. There’s always gallons of the stuff in our house!It’s a much cheaper alternative to comercial beer,tastes better and is better for you!

Thanks to sharon-Australia — September 16, 2008

Easy way to grow vegetables or flowers, new and wonderful environmental solution.
The Easy raised bed is a new, easier, low cost and free of maintenance Raised bed.
It enable you to grow more and better by making the growing season longer.
why not to enjoy to keep the garden interesting beautiful neat and tidy and with only little easy work enjoy flavor health, freshness, and tasty vegetables.

It made from recycled materials.
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Thanks to Ofer — January 8, 2009

For the slugs in grdening just get some honey and salt mix it together then add 2 cups of water and spred it on the porch or close to your plants. once their dead bury the carcasses in the ground for better crops.

Thanks to Jennie — January 17, 2009

If growing your own raddishes put netting overthem so birds dont eat them

aged 13

Thanks to aaron — January 30, 2009

I found that if you buy some shells any will do. Crush them up so you have little bits of jagged shells and put then on your garden it will keep the slugs of.

Thanks to Jack — August 8, 2009

[...] Or if you are like most of the country and want to either get fit or lose weight here are two ways of doing it.  We have a list of easy to grow vegetable ideas. [...]

Thanks to New Year’s Resolution Ideas — August 11, 2009

The shells idea works but you can also use egg shells. works a treat.

Thanks to kerry — August 11, 2009

when dealing with slugs or snails instead of useing something that could harm other animals i use fresh straw every couple of weeks round the plants the slugs/snails will not go anywhere near it.

Thanks to Gail — August 16, 2009

Salt it burns them.

Thanks to Vinny — August 18, 2009

try growing some of your vegetables in containers, specially potatoes which take up lots of room in a patch, also broccoli takes up lots of space but is not so easy in a container. There is a whole chapter about what to grow in containers and how to do it on my website area.

Thanks to Shirley — August 24, 2009

fuck off

Thanks to Anonymous — September 14, 2009

i think the best way to get rid of slugs is to buy from a suppermarket only kidding iv red the sugesstions and i agree my grandfather allways said beer im just starting out with home grown my self wach this space for more ideas

Thanks to dave clark — September 21, 2009

i would use hyperballistic missiles to counter slug attack

Thanks to Anonymous — September 28, 2009

I have a slightly more unusual way of dealing my my old nemasis, the slug!! Although time consuming, i Stalk them, then drop single pieces of rock salt as close to their little eyes as possible. This renders “the intruder” completely useless. (which means its not eating my veggies) Tip: Leave all the De-capatated, as a stark warning to the other slimey suckers!! Good luck!!!

Thanks to The Slug Killer — October 7, 2009

put saw dust around them, they wont go any where near your plants. you could also put some salt aroung them, salt kills slugs and snails it makes them shrivle up.

Thanks to justin — October 12, 2009

On most occasions i find a 410 removes most slugs quite adequately! However larger groups and particularly stubborn specimens get the 12 bore.

Thanks to Mr Slugworth — November 7, 2009

Growing potatoes is one of the easiest things in the world!

Thanks to Paul Dickinson — November 23, 2009

Try using a beer trap to get rid of slugs

Thanks to Fruit Cages — November 30, 2009

open a can of beans, eat the beans,1/2 fill can with beer, dig small hole next to plants and place can halfway into ground repeat with as many cans as you wish but watch out for the wind

Thanks to bryn — December 30, 2009

You can grow lots of vegetables in containers to keep the pesky slugs away. Hanging baskets are perfect for trailing tomatoes and strawberries for example.

Thanks to Grow Your Own Vegetables — January 28, 2010

Really interesting article. I’m even thinking of growing a veg garden for my partner. I think it would be really romantic.

Thanks to Romantic lines tips — January 29, 2010

iam a impatient gardner that cant spell either i have a very large plot, on a main road what can i grow fast year round and sell my local farmer friend will prep my land help please have you ever seen a fat harley biker growing veg thats
meeeeeeeee jimbo

Thanks to jimbo — February 9, 2010

Great info. I wonder how many other vegetables besides tomatoes can be grown upside down. That is something I want to try this Spring.

Thanks to Daniel — February 12, 2010

I grew my 1st crop of potatoes last year in empty black bins, had a good crop, but the sluggs still managed to invade! This year I am trying egg shells and the groovy double yog pot idea with beer. Hubby will enjoy drinking left over beer in can after filling the pot! I will also check them daily with my old bbq tongs, and drag them off the plants if need be.

Thanks to yummy mummy — February 19, 2010

Hi, Slugs and snails love beer and any sweet smelling fruit, so why put it near your treasured plants, what you are doing is attracting them to a feast, the beer and your plant. Use spent coffee grains, if you don’t drink coffee go to your nearest coffee shop and beg some. Tis will keep the slugs away, they get high on caffeine and the grains are good for the soil.

Thanks to Howard — February 20, 2010

Make a pond even an old bird bath to turn into a small pond, the frogs that come along will eat the slugs

Thanks to orangepeel — February 20, 2010

I once left some paint stripper in a jar outside the shed after doing some decorating. The next day it was full of bloated fizzing slugs, gruesome but true.

Thanks to Mick — February 28, 2010

broken seashells will prevent the slugs crossing over to invade the crop.

Thanks to Denis — March 8, 2010

4 my own idea about planting the vegetables,you nid to prepare the soil,you must to cultivate the soil fist b4 u do planting,especially f the soil is hard.

Thanks to loida — March 19, 2010

make easy fertile of your soil,you put animals manure,or either if you cut some of grasses,live it until become soil,no nid to burn the grass,because once you burn it,the soil become unfertile,

Thanks to loida — March 19, 2010

Dear Sir,

How much does it cost to set up greenhouse a size of average size of two living rooms.
Everything in water and mixture of nutrients and
water and light. Can you give me rough idea of
how much it will cost and what will be a cheaper
way to set up the green house.

Thank you very much for your advice and idea.


Thanks to mike — March 29, 2010

I’ve found Onions very easy to grow. Beetroot is also easy as long as you water it lots!

Thanks to Alex — April 7, 2010

Cider is also very effective in traps and is not as expensive as beer.

Thanks to Stephen — April 9, 2010

For your beer supply for the slugs, why not ask your local friendly barman for the beer slops. They always throw away a couple of pints when they change the barrel.

Thanks to Carol — April 10, 2010

Slugs dont tend to visit the onions so much. This is because the onions grow a chemical near to the roots that sting any surface that is wet.This is why most of our eyes get watery when we try to prepare an onion.

Thanks to Sarah — April 15, 2010

Hi I use clean very short hair clippings mixed with egg shells. I sprinkle it round the veg seedlings the slugs hate the prickly feel. I also have tried the copper tape it works but its too sticky and thin and ends up stuck together if you roll it out too fast.You can buy reusable slug traps from the pound shop to fill with beer.

Thanks to Vickie — May 26, 2010

can anyone point me in the direction of a website that will allow me to identify a plant . i planted some carrot seeds and a few of them turned out to be a mystery

Thanks to mark — May 28, 2010

I placed a small electric fence 2 mm off the ground around my veg patch and ran it off a car battery 12V. On a full charge the fence will work for weeks and there i no living creature bar worms above 4 inches tall will walk across it. My dogs even keep off the veg patch. Of Course I have netting up to keep the birds off. All in all gardening has become enjoyable and cheap and easy to do. Great Plants !!!


Thanks to Dodge The Slug — June 7, 2010

To get rid of slugs, I advise an AK47.

Thanks to Jesus — June 20, 2010

If you have any Beer or Larger left over place a small amount into a plastic container and put onto your garden where you are growing Vegetables, the slugs love it and fall in and cant get out

Thanks to Lin — August 10, 2010

you can also try small stones that you can get for a fish tank and spread them all over the garden that works as well for slugs, If you are pestered with green fly use a little mild washing up liquid in warm water and spay them, can be used on plants or vegetables and has no effect on eating the product after

Thanks to Lin — August 10, 2010

As ive read everyone’s post. it seems to me like the only problem is growing plants before slugs eat them. Well my suggestion is to use garlic and rub it around your veggie garden or on your plants. Slugs dont like the smell of garlic so it is like a repelent. It is organic and cheap, so use it.

Thanks to PrettyIdeas — November 21, 2010

As ive said that garlic repells off snails and slugs it also works for those anonoying flys and other pesty insects.

Thanks to PrettyIdeas — November 21, 2010

can you give me any advice about corn. there dieing on me.

Thanks to daniel — December 22, 2010

use the garlic, i think its cruel to kill snails.

Thanks to sam — December 29, 2010

I find that spelling, and grammatical punctuation works best for fighting off slugs. Especially if you’re trying to read the ideas of others.

Thanks to JobesRoguely — December 29, 2010

What is a portion?

Cheers . Happy New Year 2011

Thanks to Patrick — December 31, 2010

[...] Grow your own vegetable ideas [...]

Thanks to Hobby Ideas — January 19, 2011

I’ve found if you feed slugs honey then they are so satisfied they don’t eat the plants.

Thanks to David — March 1, 2011

This is a long term solution for the snail/slug solution I use in my garden and it is very simple. I place empty flower pot upside down on the ground holding them a crack open on the soil (about a centimeter or so) with a small stone. The snails and the slugs start using them to shelter during the day for safety. Every few days I check them and sure enough I harvest a lot of them and dispose them. In addition, I use pellets.

Thanks to E. Louizos — March 7, 2011

what you do is wait for a nice warm day,when the sun is shinning really warm.then trap as many snails and slugs as possible in a pre dug pit,you could lure them into it by running in front of them yelling and screeching out loud,they will follow you.then,they will fall into the pit,but that is the really tricky bit,you got to jump over it,you dont want to be covered by nasty slimy snails,do you?then take out your magnifing glass and fry them in the could then garnish them with a few of your chopped vegtables that you have just saved from the green army.

Thanks to shane — April 12, 2011

put pepper on a wall verry fine pepper is best the slugs climb the wall … sniff the pepper… sneeze.Achoo! fall off the wall and break their necks haha

Thanks to for the control of slugs — June 12, 2011

You dont need beer to kill slugs just dissolve dried yeast in warm wter and put that out instead of beer it works just as well and doesn’t cost so much.

Thanks to JAN — October 7, 2011

You can use bran instead of beer. The slugs love the stuff and gorge themselves on it….to the point of their organs exploding! :s . Smashed up eggshells work great at a deterant as does mushed garlic.

When I first started growing my own veg, my children were horrified at the idea of killing any creature, and I wasn’t keen either…it took just over a year of battling to keep plants alive and fit enough for us to eat them, before our entire family decided that slugs, snails, green and black fly were all our mortal enemies and should be killed rather than relocated!!! Mind you, even after nearly 10 years of ‘growing our own’ it only takes one viewing of the film ‘Flushed Away’ and the kids start questioning if we should go back to midnight slug patrols relocating them to away from our crops!

Our latest dastedly foe is the caterpillar….currently I am encouraging every child in our street to come and collect the adorable wriggly creatures….which saves me squashing the evil little things! (The caterpillars not the kids!)….but a less child reliant but equally organic alternative is needed!

Thanks to Lil — July 15, 2013

Last summer I made an awesome experiment. I tried to grow strawberries in a tire pyramid. The result was impressive!

Thanks to Olga — May 10, 2014

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