10 cheap foods you can grow in your house or garden

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1. Herbs


If you don’t have a garden, the good news is that no kitchen is too small to accommodate a few pots of fresh herbs. To grow your own, the method is simple: sprinkle a few seeds of basil, coriander and parsley into a pot of soil, keep them under a reusable food bag or glass clear plate or bowl to germinate and expect the first leaves after around five weeks.

For more advice on how to plant and grow herbs on the kitchen windowsill or in the garden – try our easy-to-follow advice for beginners.

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Find more information on how to grow herbs on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Carrot pilaf with coriander chutney
Orecchiette with butter beans, parsley, chilli & lemon
Baked tomato, mozzarella & basil risotto

2. Tomatoes

One-pot tomato orzo in a pan

Picking your own tomatoes fresh, and keeping them at room temperature, makes a big difference to flavour. As well as tasting better than the shop-bought variety, the price difference is vast: a pack of 20 seeds will cost you £3, with an average yield of 4kg per plant, whilst 4kg of quality cherry tomatoes on the vine in supermarkets will set you back £38.

Albeit wide in variety, shop-bought tomatoes will never match the diversity of varieties you can grow from seed. As well as coming in different shapes, homegrown tomatoes come in plenty of colours: red, orange, yellow, green, pink and black.

Once you have a glut, you have the freedom to do whatever you like with your tomatoes, whether that’s oven-dried or pan-cooked to make a rich pasta sauce.

Find more information on how to grow tomatoes on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
One-pot tomato orzo
Roasted tomato, basil & parmesan quiche
Tomato & mascarpone risotto

3. Radishes

A colourful salad of salad leaves ,radish, burrata, flowers and quinoa

Radishes are among the most satisfying things to sow in the summer, and they’re great for growing with kids. The grow quickly, and are ready four weeks after sowing in summer. Make sure to harvest as soon as they’re big enough to eat, as they quickly become woody and unpalatable.

For summer radishes, a pack of 500 seeds will cost approx £2, with an average yield of 1kg per three-metre row. Comparatively, the shop-bought equivalent will set you back £8.

For a variety you won’t find in the supermarket, rat’s tail radishes are left to flower so their seedpods can be harvested. Crunchy and spicy, add to a salad or stir-fry.

Find more information on how to radishes on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Radish, burrata & nasturtium salad with quinoa
Chilli-butter smashed radishes
Roast new potatoes & radishes

4. Broad beans

Peas & broad beans on toast with ricotta on a plate

Broad beans are an easy vegetable to grow from seed, sown outside in spring or autumn. Growing your own broad beans is more cost-effective than purchasing from supermarkets, with a pack of 65 seeds costing approx £3, with an average weight of 10kg. To put that in perspective, 10kg worth of fresh broad beans with pods will cost £61.50 in the shops.

Broad beans are legumes, which provide protein, making them particularly good for vegetarians. Just one seed can result in a large plant, producing masses of pods. Plus, they grow upwards, so they don’t take up much ground space of the harvest you get. Broad beans can be dried for easy storage in jars, too.

Try your beans as a toast-topper with goat’s cheese, made zippy with lemon juice for a vibrant lunch.

Find more information on how to grow broad beans on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Broad beans & peas on toast
Courgette & broad bean risotto with basil pesto
Broad bean pasta

5. Cucumbers

Platter of ribboned cucumbers

Sown from early spring to early summer – and ideally indoors – cucumbers are among the crops that taste best when homegrown. You’ll find that the flavour and sweetness is notably different from the shop-bought variety. Plus, what you’ll find in the shops bears very little relation to the richness of options you can grow yourself; a pack of five seeds is approx £5, making them cheaper to grow than shop-bought.

Most cucumbers are climbing plants, meaning one seed produces a big crop from one plant that won’t take up much ground space. Plus, cucumbers go from plot to plate faster than most other veg. Due to being held off the ground, they stay clean and they’re easy to cut and peel.

We like ours cut into thin ribbons and bolstered with herbs and drizzle in lemon juice for a summer side dish.

Find more information on how to grow cucumber on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Herby warm cucumbers with lemon
Quick pickled cucumbers
Cucumber soup

6. Courgette

courgette curry

Easy to grow and highly productive, seasonal courgettes are a summer staple and are perfect in seasonal dishes and salads. They’re prolific croppers and take up a lot of space, so just two or three plants are enough to feed a family, with some left over.

You can buy young courgette plants at the garden centre in late spring, but they are easy to grow from seed – a pack of 15 seeds costing just £3. By choosing to grow your own courgettes over the supermarket, you’ll save approximately £8.50.

We like to slice and fry courgette to make a satisfying plant-based curry. Nothing is wasted – the seeds bulk out the sauce.

Find more information on how to grow courgette on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Courgette curry
Spinach & courgette lasagne
Courgette & lime cake

7. Green beans

A sharing plate of green beans with lemon & parmesan

Easy to grow and heavy cropping, green beans are suitable for growing in pots or as ornamental crops, with the tall climbing varieties prettily covering archways or trellises. There are tall and short peas and beans suitable for any growing space. Green beans give you two crops for the price of one: enjoy the pods when they’re young and tender, or leave them to dry on the plant for use as haricot beans.

You can save a staggering amount by growing your own. A pack of 150 seeds will cost approximately £3.50, resulting in an average yield of 4.5kg per three-metre row. If you were to buy this amount in the grocery store, it would cost £40.50.

Green beans are cooked quickly in this easy side dish, tossed in a mustard dressing and sprinkled with parmesan.

Find more information on how to grow green beans on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Green beans with lemon & parmesan
Teriyaki salmon & green beans
Green bean mac ‘n’ cheese

8. Gooseberries

gooseberry buckle cake cut into slices with one slice on a plate

Gooseberries are easy to grow, and just a single bush will reward you with masses of berries for up to 15 years. Most gooseberries are ready to pick from June to August, but to ensure good-sized berries, thin out the bunches earlier, when the fruits are the size of a pea. These thinned-out fruits are great for stewing.

Showcase a glut of gooseberries at their very best in this buckle cake, with a sponge base, gooseberry filling and crumble topping.

Find more information on how to grow gooseberries on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Gooseberry buckle cake
Gooseberry cheesecake
Gooseberry fool

9. Rhubarb

A half full glass bottle of water, a full bottle of rhubarb vodka and two glasses of rhubarb vodka and ice

Rhubarb is easy to grow, producing masses of stalks each year. Rhubarb is expensive to buy in supermarkets, and growing from seed is the cheapest method.

Only the rhubarb stalks are edible. Never eat rhubarb leaves as these are extremely poisonous – compost these instead.

Showcase rhubarb in summer with this rhubarb flavoured vodka. Perfect if you’re growing rhubarb in the garden, simply decant this into bottles and it will keep for up to six months.

Find more information on how to grow rhubarb on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Rhubarb & custard blondies
Rhubarb gin
Rhubarb & elderflower cake

10. Spring onions

Tofu and spring onions on a bed of rice topped with chilli

Also known as scallions, spring onions are quick and easy to grow. They don’t need a lot of space or much soil, so they’re perfect for growing in smaller spaces or a container. With varieties that can be grown all through the winter months, they have a long cropping season, too.

White Lisbon is probably the most popular variety, because it is fast growing and can be sown right through into the autumn, to grow through the winter months. White Lisbon can be sown through summer in pots and containers using multi-purpose compost.

Spring onions are a great ingredient for salads and stir fries. Rustle up this teriyaki tofu with spring onion in just 30 minutes.

Find more information on how to grow spring onions on Gardener’s World.

Recipes to try:
Chilli corn & spring onion quesadilla
Sesame & spring onion stir-fried udon with crispy tofu
Spring onion & ginger crispy chicken rice pot

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