Courgettes are epic fruiters, and easy to grow, once the fruit gets going they seem to double in size every day and as general rule they are best pick when 4-8in in length, or if round type slightly larger than a cricket ball. Don't plant too many as they seem to be constant cropers and the more you harvest the more they seem to produce.
One of the most fun vegetables to grow is the pumpkin, especially for children, who can't wait to harvest big, colourful pumpkins to make lanterns for Halloween! Pumpkin soup is also a tasty treat, but don't stop there, they have so much more to offer!
Cauliflowers are pricey to buy in the supermarkets so if you can grow your own, it’s really worthwhile. They take up quite a bit of space, need rich, deep soil and need plenty of watering, especially in summer, but they can be grown all year round.
Sweet Corn needs plenty of space as it can grow up to 2m (6ft) tall depending on the variety, and must been grown in blocks as it is pollinated by the wind knocking together the plants so they pollenate each other. Nothing beats fresh Sweet Corn, in fact my little lad likes nothing more than to pick a cob and munch it straight off the plant!
Broccoli encompasses two slightly different vegetables from the same family; Calabrese, these form large green almost cauliflower-like heads, and sprouting broccoli, which as the name suggest throw out a mass of smaller, seperate heads or florets on long stems. One portion of boiled broccoli (100g) provides over half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C reason enough to grow it!.
The humble Radish is an incredibly easy vegetable to grow, as they tolerate most soil types and are quick to crop (usually within three weeks). They're delicious eaten raw, offering a fiery burst of flavour to salads. There's a wide variety of cultivars to choose from too, ranging from near spherical red-and-white roots, to long, thin white radishes, also known as mooli.
In traditional medicine, leeks have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, gout and kidney stones. Because they contain Potassium - one leek contains the equivalent of an eighth of an adults daily needs of the mineral - leeks encourage the efficient functioning of the kidneys and are an effective diuretic. A useful source of folate too, one cooked leek will contain one third of an adult's recommended daily need.
Garlic is a really healthy vegetable, and is popular in Mediterranean and Asian cooking, so it’s hardly surprising it has become popular to grow at home or down the allotment. Garlic is simple to grow and you’ll get plenty of fat, juicy garlic bulbs, if you grow in a sunny site. Don’t be tempted to plant garlic cloves from the supermarket though, buy from a garden centre or mail order supplier.
The Oca is first thought to have been grown by the Incas in South America but are hugely popular in New Zealand also and are increasing in popularity in this country too with the first farmers taking to growing them commercially recently.They can be used like a small potato and have a slightly citrous flavour. Great raw in salads too!