Harvesting and eating homegrown veg is one of life's joys. Whether it's picking leaves for a winter salad or harvesting sweetcorn for a summer barbecue, there's something special about eating veg that you have grown yourself. Not only does it taste so much better than shop-bought, it also couldn't be fresher or more healthy – or better for the environment, with no packaging or food miles involved. And of course being out in the fresh air and getting your hands in the soil growing your own veg is great for the soul. You don't need a lot of space either as a container on a sunny doorstep will make a great spot for growing your own tomatoes or chard. Here we share some of our favourite veg to grow. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners' World team and familiar faces from across the gardening industry.


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Squash 'Tromboncino'

Squash 'Tromboncino'
A great ornamental climber, you can harvest and eat this squash young or store once large. Getty

Chosen by Frances Tophill, Gardeners' World presenter

I love squash. They are the best autumn vegetable, in my opinion, because they are so versatile for cooking – you can roast them, fry them, make them into soup or a pie, mash them, and anything else you can think of. But also 'Tromboncino' grows really well. It climbs, is prolific, and you can eat the young squashes small, or let them develop into a large "trombone". Cure them like any other squash (leave the fruit outdoors in the sunlight or in a greenhouse for a week to 10 days) and they can keep for months.

Radish ‘White Icicle’

Radish 'White Icicle'
The long white roots of this radish are firm and mildly spicy, and look wonderful. Getty

Chosen by Sue Kent, Gardeners' World presenter

If I could only grow one veg it would be the radish ‘White Icicle’. A great choice for first time veg growers, radishes are quick and easy to germinate and are ready to harvest in just six weeks. This particular radish's edible root is long, white and tapered and has a milder flavour than its red cousins. If left to bolt it produces edible seed pods that I use in salads or stir-fries, or alternatively I pick the seed heads for flower arrangements.

Chilli peppers

Chilli peppers
Chillies are easy to grow from seed and grow best in containers, perfect for a patio or balcony

Chosen by Chris Beardshaw, garden designer

My glasshouse is never without chilli plants, proof that they are a key ingredient in the kitchen. For a rapid turnover of fruit (two months from sow to harvest) and a compact plant, try the variety ‘Quickfire’. For the barbecue or grill, and to be served drizzled in olive oil or dusted in sea salt, I also love jalapeños – they're easy and reliable and plants overwinter well. For a variety that sets all who eat it aglow, you could try the curled cherry red fruits of ‘Bhut Jolokia’ or ghost pepper, one of the hottest chillies in the world, but handle with care and use sparingly as it's not for the faint-hearted.

Chard 'Bright Lights'

Chard 'Bright Lights'
Chard can be sown from March to September, making it a versatile crop

Chosen by Toby Buckland, Gardeners' World presenter

Swiss chard is my must-have veg as it’s harvestable all year round and is so versatile in the kitchen. Colourful rainbow chard 'Bright Lights' is the best variety as the leaves are both food for the table and the eye with its mixture of red, white and yellow stalks. This variety is great for a small garden and can also be grown in a container.

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Sweetcorn 'Swift'

Grow sweetcorn in a sunny, sheltered spot and plant in blocks to aid wind-pollination

Chosen by Pippa Greenwood, Gardeners' Question Time presenter and plantswoman

Sweetcorn, in particular the variety 'Swift' is a must-have. Shop-bought sweetcorn simply never tastes so good, so sweet or so juicy. The great thing about 'Swift' is that it ripens, as the name suggests, earlier than many other varieties so, even when we're having (another) grotty UK summer, it still crops reliably and tastes wonderful. I grow it every year.

Beetroot ‘Golden Detroit’

The young leaves of beetroot can be used in salads, and the mature leaves enjoyed in stir-fries

Chosen by Sinead Fenton, Aweside Farm manager

The ‘Golden Detroit’ yellow beetroot is so deliciously sweet and tender, with a flavour unmatched by any other variety. This beetroot has the added bonus of not turning everything they touch pink as you prep them. I roast them, pickle them or use them raw in salads and their sweetness and unique flavour is always retained.

Squash 'Crown Prince'

Squash 'Crown Prince'
Easy to grow, this beautiful squash bears prolific autumn fruit to store for winter. Getty

Chosen by Oliver Parsons, horticultural sub-editor

I don't think I can remember a year in the last decade when I haven't grown the reliable winter squash 'Crown Prince'. It yields massive green-blue fruits that last an age. Cut the leading stem when one or two fruits have set and they'll grow to enormous proportions.

Tomato 'Gardener's Delight'

This deservedly popular large cherry tomato is both tasty and easy to grow

Chosen by Jo Cloke, art editor

Great for anyone to grow, Gardener's Delight can be grown from seed in a greenhouse or you can buy established plants from the shops to grow outside. They are as happy in nice deep pots as in the ground, as long as they have lots of sunshine, regular water and are protected from the wind. There is nothing better than picking your own fresh and tasty tomatoes, and the vines smell amazing!


Salad rocket 'Sky Rocket'

Sow rocket every two weeks throughout spring and summer for a continuous supply

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, digital editor

Salad leaves couldn't be easier to grow, and peppery rocket is my favourite. You can simply sow the seeds direct and enjoy up to six months of harvests. It even looks pretty when it's bolted – mine does bolt as I always sow more than I should. It adds bite to salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and so much more.