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  2. Grow Your Own Fruit & Veg
  3. Top 10 Fruit & Vegetables to Grow in the UK

Top 10 Fruit & Vegetables to Grow in the UK

Our changeable UK weather is often the but of jokes. Unlike the sunnier climates of Spain, where locals can rely on good weather to ripen their grapes, tomatoes and other produce, we often get several seasons in a single day. From sun, rain to sleet, it’s hard to know what’s coming our way. This can make it especially difficult for newbie gardeners to identify what fruit and veggies to grow in the UK. Don’t worry though we’re here to spill the beans on all the best crops to grow in your garden or veg patch. Just read on for our list of the top 10 fruit & vegetables to grow in a UK garden. From juicy apples to zingy spring onions, prepare to unleash your inner green thumb and get ready to liven up your dishes with your home-grown harvest.

5 easy-to-grow fruits

Strawberries

Strawberry plants prefer acidic soil

When to plant: March – April / September – October

When to harvest: June – September

Ideal for growing in containers or directly in the ground, strawberries are sure to go down well with the whole family. Sweet, juicy and delicious they are a great summer snack and perfect for adding to desserts, cakes and bakes. Plus, they work well in our UK climate as they can handle our fluctuations in temperature and prefer our moist air.

Although there are many different types and varieties, they prefer fertile, well-draining and slightly acidic soil. If you have poor or heavy soil, it’s best to plant in raised beds instead. They also like having plenty of space to grow, so try to keep at least 40cm between each row of plants if you can. Choose an area that receives plenty of direct sunlight, as your strawberry plant will need at least six hours per day. 

To learn even more about how to create successful home grown strawberries, check out the handy how-to guide on our knowledge hub.

Diseases & pests: Strawberries can be affected by moulds and several diseases. To prevent this you can choose a resistant variety and improve air circulation around the plants. Strawberries also attract slugs, mice and birds but you can get pest control solutions to help deal with this.

Our top tip: Strawberries only require about 1 inch of water per week. Make sure they don’t sit in wet soil as you’ll run the risk of them developing root rot and dying.

Raspberries

Protect your raspberry plants from curious squirrels with a layer of netting

When to plant: January – March / November – December

When to harvest: June – October

Raspberries perform well in our UK climate as they prefer rich, well-draining soil and cooler temperatures. Our warm (yet not scorching) summers provide the perfect conditions for them.

The two main types of raspberries, summer and autumn fruiting are easy to grow from seed or canes (young plants). Simply plant in slightly acidic soil, with a distance of around 45-60cm between each plant. Keep them in a sunny spot and well-watered during warm spells. Even if you have limited space, you can grow certain raspberry varieties from pots (like Autumn Bliss) and keep them on your patio. 

To learn even more about how to grow raspberries at home, check out the handy how-to guide on our knowledge hub.

Diseases & pests: Raspberries are particularly prone to catching viruses, including cane blight and spur blight. If you notice one of your plants is affected, remove it immediately as the virus could quickly spread. If you know squirrels love to visit your garden you should also protect your raspberry plants with netting.

Our top tip: Add a thick layer of compost around your raspberry plants in early spring to help retain moisture and limit weeds.

Blueberries

Pick your blueberries when the weather is cooler for the best results

When to plant: November – March

When to harvest: July – September

A great way to give your diet a boost of antioxidants and vitamin C, blueberries are a quick and easy snack that will keep you happy and healthy. Planting this delicious fruit in your allotment will not only cut down on your grocery bill but give you an endless supply of fresh produce to create jams, muffins and other bakes your family will love. 

Blueberries are great for UK gardens as they grow well in regions with cooler summers and mild winters. To get a good crop, plant your seedling in acidic soil with a pH between 4.5-5.5. If you need to acidify your soil, you can check out our handy guide on our knowledge hub that will tell you how. Quick and easy to plant, water your seedling well to help get it settled and place it in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Diseases & pests: While generally low-maintenance, blueberries do attract attention from birds, so it’s best to use netting to protect your plants.

Our top tip: When your crop is ready to harvest, pick them in the morning when temperatures are cooler. This will help preserve their rich flavour and texture.

Apples

Try not to plant your apple tree when your garden is wet

When to plant: November – March

When to harvest: August – November

A great addition to your fruit and veggie garden, apple trees love mild UK winters and will produce a continuous crop year after year. Sure to become a real staple in your space, they require little maintenance though there are a few important steps to be aware of when planting. Apple trees prefer sunny, sheltered areas of your garden that have deep, fertile soil. You should avoid choosing an area that is prone to frost and keep in mind that it’s best not to plant your tree when your garden is wet. 

Although there are many varieties to choose from, we recommend going for a ‘Greensleeves’ apple tree if you are just starting out. They are self-pollinating and produce a heavy crop. Before you know it you’ll have enough delicious, juicy fruit to feed every apple pie lover in your household (and beyond).

Diseases & pests: One of the easiest fruits to grow, you shouldn’t encounter many problems with your apple trees. However, certain pests should be looked out for. Check for holes in your fruit as this may be a sign of an apple sawfly infestation. If so, you can pick off the damaged fruits and encourage birds (their natural predator) to visit your garden. Varieties like ‘Charles Ross’ or ‘Worcester Pearmain’ are particularly susceptible to this problem.

Our top tip: If planting several different varieties in your garden, make sure to properly label your trees. You would be surprised at how common it is for gardeners to get confused about which variety is planted where. This will help you avoid mixing up care directions. Keeping a detailed gardening journal will also help with this. 

Pears

Harvest your pears when they are still a little under-ripe for the best results

When to plant: November – February

When to harvest: August – November

Adding charm and delicious fruit to your space, pear trees will feel perfectly at home in a UK garden. With plenty of varieties to choose from, they prefer a sunny, sheltered spot with deep, fertile soil. If you are struggling to find space, some varieties can be planted successfully in large pots. 

If planting a bare-root tree you should keep the roots submerged in water for 30 minutes before planting. The ‘Red William’ pear is a variety that works well for beginners. It produces slightly smaller fruits and has an easygoing nature, allowing you to slowly grow your confidence before you transition into a larger variety. 

For more information on how to choose the right fruit tree for you, check out our handy guide on our knowledge hub.

Diseases & pests: Generally hardy and easy to care for, there are a few things to watch for to maintain the health of your tree. If your fruit starts to appear scabby or distorted then your plant may have a fungal disease known as ‘pear scab’. To prevent this from spreading and continuing to damage your fruit, remove the affected leaves and make sure you prune out any infected growth.

Our top tip: Pears should be allowed to ripen off the tree to prevent them from overdeveloping on the stem. Therefore, we recommend harvesting your fruit when it is still firm but slightly under-ripe. Once picked, over the next week they should ripen fully and develop a delicious taste and firm texture.

5 easy-to-grow vegetables

Lettuce

Lettuce can be grown in as little as six weeks

When to sow: March – September

When to plant out: March – September

When to harvest: May – November

Perfect for creating delicious salads, lettuce is an easy vegetable to grow in your garden. Coming in many different varieties, they are best sown regularly in small batches. Cropping in as little as six weeks, this method will allow you continually receive a crop, keeping you stocked up with delicious leafy greens at all times.

The seeds will need plenty of water and can be sown directly into the ground or indoors if temperatures are low. It’s best to choose a warm, sunny site that has moisture-retentive soil, as these conditions will produce the perfect salad leaves. Baby loose-leaf lettuce will be ready to pick at six weeks, while hearting types will be ready at ten weeks. 

If harvesting in the summer, we recommend picking in the morning as this will allow you to remove the lettuce heads before their leaves dehydrate in the sun, keeping them much more succulent than if you were to pick them in the afternoon.

Diseases & pests: Often attractive to slugs, snails and aphids, we recommend protecting your lettuce plants with insect-proof mesh or natural pesticides. Your lettuce may also be prone to mould in cool, humid summers. To prevent this, remove any affected leaves immediately and space your plants well to ensure that they can each receive proper air circulation.

Our top tip: ‘Little Gem’, ‘Butterhead’ and ‘Loose Leaf’ lettuce all thrive in UK gardens as they are tolerant to cooler temperatures and can withstand our unpredictable UK weather.

Tomatoes

Certain varieties of tomato can be grown in-doors

When to sow: February – April

When to plant out: May – June

When to harvest: July – September

Easy to grow at home, tomatoes are a great choice for adding to your fruit and veggie garden. Not only are they a juicy and delicious snack straight off the vine, but they are also useful in a variety of dishes. From whipping up a pasta sauce to adding to a fresh salad, growing your own will save you plenty of money in the long run.

You can sow from seeds or buy young plants to get started. Either way, for the best results plant in moisture-retentive yet free-draining soil. Keep them sheltered from the wind in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. Certain varieties can even be grown on your windowsill if you’re stuck for space. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist and space them approximately 45-60cm apart. 

Diseases & pests: Tomato blight is a disease that can cause your tomatoes to rot. It often occurs in warm, wet weather conditions. Initial signs that your plant may be affected include the leaves turning brown and rotting. To prevent the blight from further attacking your tomato plant, remove the infected leaves and use the fruit from the plant immediately, before the disease can take hold of the tomatoes themselves.

Our top tip: If you find that your plant is infected with tomato blight, make sure to thoroughly clean any gardening equipment that may have touched the plant, to ensure that the disease does not transfer further.

Beetroot

Keep about 30cm of space in between your beetroot plants

When to sow: March – July

When to harvest: June – October

An often overlooked root vegetable, beetroot is a great choice for your garden. Once grown, they work well in a variety of soups, salads and are delicious when roasted or pickled. They are also an easy to grow vegetable and have a number of health benefits. Well suited to our climate, the plant only requires mild temperatures and consistent moisture for optimal growth (so our rain actually comes in handy here). 

When sowing your seeds, choose a sunny spot that has well-draining soil. Keep about 30cm of space in between each row of seeds and ensure that you are weeding the area around your plants regularly. Your plant’s growth time will vary according to the variety you have chosen, but beetroot plants tend to be very productive, so will produce an abundant harvest for you to enjoy each season.

Diseases & pests: One of the easiest vegetables to grow, beetroots are normally trouble-free. However, birds may eat young seedlings, so it’s best to place a fleece over your plants to protect them. 

Our top tip: When sown in very cool conditions, your beetroot runs the risk of bolting. This means that they will produce flowers as opposed to swelling the root. To avoid this happening, we recommend choosing a bolt-resistant variety like ‘Boltardy’.

French beans

French beans are tender and should be kept indoors until after the last frost

When to sow: April – July

When to plant out: June – July

When to harvest: July – September

With a short growing season and an abundant harvest, French beans are a great choice for any UK garden. Great to pair with any dish, they are crunchy and delicious. Simply choose a sunny spot with rich, moisture-retentive soil to sow your seeds and keep your plants well watered to produce a generous crop. If you have limited space to work with dwarf French beans are a great option. 

Diseases & pests: Young plants may be damaged by slugs, snails and black aphids. Luckily there is a simple solution to this issue. Just keep a close eye on your plants, paying particular attention to under the leaves and the shoot tips. If you happen to see any of these pests, quickly wash them off with water from your garden hose before they can cause any damage. You will need to keep doing this until your plant is firmly established.

Our top tip: A very tender vegetable, French beans should be kept indoors until after the last frost. If you don’t have enough time to move them in from outside, cover them with a fleece to protect them from the worst effects of the cold.

Spring onions

Spring onions add zing to every dish

When to sow: March – September

When to harvest: March – April / June – October

A great vegetable to grow for beginners, spring onions are easy and very straightforward. They prefer a sunny growing site with light, free-draining soil. Space each row about 4cm apart when sowing and water only if the soil is dry. However, if you are growing indoors, it’s best to water regularly as plants in containers tend to dry out much quicker. Your spring onions should be ready for picking about 8-12 weeks after being sown. With great flavour, they will add zing to your salads, sandwiches and warming bowls of ramen.

Diseases & pests: Spring onions are generally trouble-free but could be affected by fungal diseases like onion downy mildew. This disease damages the bulbs and could destroy your crop. Common signs that your plants may be affected include leaves turning yellow and dying and bulbs sprouting prematurely and shrivelling. If you notice this occurring it’s important not to compost the infected area, instead removing and disposing of the affected plants as quickly as possible.

Our top tip: As they have a short growing season, we recommend sowing small batches of seeds every couple of weeks to ensure that you have a continual supply of spring onions for all your recipes.

We hope this post has given you the confidence and know-how to get started gathering plants and seedlings to start growing your own fruit and vegetables at home. You can check out our incredible range of garden plants online now or discover our previous post on how to keep a gardening journal to track your progress. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on social media (@gardeningexpress), we would love to hear from you!

Keep an eye out on our knowledge hub for even more step-by-step guides on how to create the perfect fruit and vegetable garden. We’ll be covering everything from how to find the best seeds for your garden to companion planting.

Updated on January 29, 2024

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