3 easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs – and recipes to make use of them
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If you’re lucky enough to have a patch of outside space, whether that’s a modest balcony or a proper garden, it’s pretty easy to turn your hand to growing your own grub. Sound good? It isn’t that difficult but is incredibly healthy, so here are three ideas to get started with.
1. Peas please
Peas need well-drained, weed-free soil in full sunlight in order to grow. Add plenty of compost to the soil for a few weeks before sowing and then harvest them between June and October. The easiest varieties to grow are mangetout and sugar snap. Plus, you don’t need a particular place as they are just as happy growing in ornamental pots and borders.
Pea and Mushroom Risotto
- Gently fry some onions in butter and olive oil until softened.
- Mix Arborio rice, peas and mushrooms into the pan, and stir to ensure they get coated with the oil and butter.
- Add a ladleful of vegetable stock, stirring all the time.
- As the liquid gets absorbed, add another ladleful until the rice is cooked.
- Scatter some parsley on top and serve with Parmesan cheese.
2. Tasty tomatoes
Growing tomatoes is simple too and is a good vegetable for starter gardeners. Sprinkle tomato seeds over seed compost, cover with compost and water lightly. Grow in direct sunlight but sheltered from wind. As they grow, use canes or netting for support and water little and often.
Lazy Tomato Tart
- Follow the packet instructions to prepare your pastry, or you could use a ready-made casing.
- Make a simple tomato sauce by frying some onion, garlic and tomatoes together with some caster sugar, vinegar and tomato puree.
- Spread this sauce on your pastry, and top with freshly picked tomatoes, all squished up.
- Bake following the pastry instructions, and serve with a crunchy green salad.
3. Hero herbs
Growing herbs is always immensely satisfying as they grow quickly, don’t take up much space and go with so many spring dishes. Ideally start growing herbs in early spring under cloches and frames and sow a few trays on a windowsill (that catches the sun) or in a conservatory or greenhouse. Forget making herbs part of a green salad and instead make them the salad.
Mint, Parsley and Tarragon Salad
- Remove the stems from your herbs, and roughly tear the leaves into a bowl.
- This is so fresh that it doesn’t need a dressing, but you could use your favourite vinaigrette.
- If you prefer individual herbs then try a mint salad with lamb, tarragon salad with roast chicken or parsley salad with a fish dish.
What are your favourite spring-time recipes? We’d love it if you shared them in the comments section below.