What you choose to grow on your vegetable plot should be influenced by two main factors: what you and your family like, and how much time you have. You could grow two or three low maintenance crops in quantities enough to be self-sufficient.

You may decide to grow a wider range of vegetables – bear in mind that this will require little planning, more time during the growing season, and some self-control.

 Here are just a few different vegetables that are suitable to grow in a small garden.


A great crop to grow if time is limited. As the shoots come through cover them in compost and harvest them from early summer onwards. You will need to water them regularly if the weather is dry, to ensure a good yield.


Follow you potatoes with leeks for the winter. Sow the seed thinly in short rows, in a corner of your plot in late spring. Thin out any overcrowded seedlings when the young plants are like blades of grass, and plant out to their final positions in June or July.

Peas and Mange-touts

As the leeks are lifted throughout the winter the soil will be left in great condition. This is now an ideal site for peas, which dislike manure but will appreciate an application of lime in early spring, once the leeks have been harvested.


Beans, along with potatoes are perhaps the most widely grown vegetables. Runner beans find their way into many gardens where other vegetables would fear to tread; they are the easiest beans to grow. Climbing runner beans are vigorous plants that produce a lot of foliage, resulting in potential shade for their neighbours.


Sweetcorn is a great crop to grow alongside peas and bean, and it usually matures just as their season is coming to an end. It is an attractive plant and will enhance any vegetable plot at the same time as producing delicious succulent corn cobs in late summer and early autumn.

Onions, Shallots and Garlic

The most popular way of growing onions is from sets – small bulbs that are planted in spring and gradually grow to maturity for harvest in mid to late summer. They succeed in most well drained soils.

Shallots are also simple too grow. Plant as individual bulbs, about 15cm apart, just below the surface, leaving the tip showing. By the time the foliage has died down in July or August they will have multiplied to produce a cluster of shallots.

Garlic is a crop that can be tucked in at the edge of the plot where there is not room to grow anything else. Garlic is one of the most under demanding vegetables to grow, especially on sandy, well drained soils.

Written by: Jade Coleman