What if You Could Only Grow One Type of Veg?

Okay so here’s a question. Imagine, if you will, that you were only allowed to grow one type of vegetable. I don’t know, say there was some law that forbade it. Which one would you choose? And why?

For me it would have to be Sweetcorn. The difference in taste between shop bought Sweetcorn and home grown Sweetcorn is phenomenal. For that reason alone I would happily plant up the whole of mtp in Sweetcorn and sit on my deck to watch it blowing in the wind. It would be like having my own Maze field. Hmm… maybe next year?

So come one, humour me. What would you grow? These are the things I think about when I’m home all week with a sick child.

63 Comments on “What if You Could Only Grow One Type of Veg?

  1. I know technically they’re not a veg, but for me it would be tomatoes.
    The taste of a tomato straight from the plant, still warm, is just delightful. I’d grow (and eat) them all year round if I could.

  2. Globe artichokes, no question. Beautiful, deliciious, AND you get to grow the ones you never see in a shop


  3. Interesting. I thought I would see a few Pumpkins, Artichokes and Tomatoes on the list. Sarah Raven describes them as the ‘unbuyables’. Things that are just not available in the shops; purple Artichokes, Turks Turban pumpkins and yellow Tomatoes. Imagine going through life not knowing these things or tasting them. We are very lucky aren’t we?

  4. for me asparagus….Nothing nicer with real butter :O)


  5. I refuse to entertain such a dreadful thought.

    Ok, ok. I’ll play along. My garden would be full of garlic. It is simple to grow, there are 100s of varieties, and I can’t seem to eat enough of it. Add to that the long growing season which would keep my garden green for 9 months out of the year.

  6. Beans

    I remember growing them with my Dad from when I was very little. There are so many differernt types, they are easy to grow, they taste good and they have that fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstlk” quality about them – you can almost see them grow.

    I planted some this morning in the rain….

  7. I would grow lettuce, because I can grow it pretty much all year long, that way I’d have fresh easy homegrown veg all the time.

  8. Beans, without question. I never get sick of them, they produce like crazy with little work, and you can preserve them in so many different ways.

  9. Spring onions for me, but then again maybe lettuce….
    its gonna have to be both, you can’t split these two up….!

  10. i would grow parsnips, ok ok dont laugh but i really love them, roasted, honey roasted, with orange, steamed, plain soup, spicey soup, wow just sooo many different ways and they are all my favourites lol. Thanx for making me think,

  11. Beans, no Parsnips, no Butternut Squash. This is horrible. Parsnips, I’m sticking with Parsnips, ot Turnips….this could go on forever.

  12. This is really tough…mine would have to be Parsnips too, I just adore them!

  13. Mmmmm… these sound so great. I would have to have collard greens. If I had to choose just one.

  14. Speaking as one who can’t grow diddly (because I’m in a forest) I DO devote a lot of energy to fingerling potatoes (inside cages to keep the deer from eating them..sheesh!). They are sooo good. I don’t get more than a few pounds at year’s end, but they are worth it.

    Home grown tomatoes (can you hear me weep), I wish! I grew em one year and the deer ate all the flowers…great bushes though!

    So you CAN grow maize corn in the UK?…dad once grew one plant at home in Yorkshire. It was like the plant from hell. The cob grew just a few inches long. No-one had ever heard of sweet-corn (in the 60s). It was horribly hard when we cooked the poor thing.

  15. This would be a nightmare! I’m sure I’d get tired of any one vegetable – I’m so tired of chard as I’m still eating what I froze from last year’s bumper crop.

    If I had to pick one thing, I guess it would be green beans (bush beans). Or spinach.

  16. Sorry to hear your little one is poorly.. my hubby has been too all this week.. its no fun.

    I think I would grow lettuce as my one veg.. so many different types and lovely with all sorts of meals :-)

  17. Hope your little one is feeling much better now.

    It would have to be tomatoes for me. I love the whole germination, pricking out, potting on etc, and then at the end of nurturing the plants you get to eat something which supermarket bought doesn’t come close to, and there’s so many varieties to try.

  18. Like Chiot’s Run, I’d grow some kind of greens: easy to grow, relatively winter hardy, nutritious, and delicious. Likely I’d choose swiss chard or kale – between the two I can’t decide.

  19. A tough one! I think that it would probably be climbing french beans. Can’t get enough of them, although Globe artichokes are also essential…….. & Asparagus……….

  20. What a great question and quite an inspiring range of replies. I’d probably go for summer squash as it is nice and colourful and goes lovely with all sorts of foods.

  21. Peas, definitely peas…
    First earlies, second earlies followed by main crop and then have a break … (twitch twitch, someone would have to tie me down to make sure no other veg is grown for a few months)… to give your taste buds a rest and also to ensure the massive taste explosion you get when you have the first pea soup of the year.
    In my version of the pea soup the peas are left whole… but then there are also fresh new carrots required, who would grow those…? Yeah, it’s a tough one!

  22. This is so hard! The thing I love best about growing my own vegetables is that EVERYTHING is fresher and better grown at home. That said, I’d want something that would produce fresh food almost all year. (Although it’s hard to give up tomatoes. Or asparagus, beets, beans, corn, peas, chiles, tomatillos, onions, garlic…)
    For their perennial production AND because I was so amazed how much better the home grown tasted compared to store bought, I pick the lowly potato. Probably Yukon Gold, if I could only have one variety, otherwise, YG, Burbank Russets, fingerlings, maybe something purple for the shock value.
    What a thought provoking question! I’ll still be thinking about this one when I head to the grocery store in a bit. I guess I’ll have to stop and invest in a good tomato seedling while I’m out.

  23. ROCKET! (arugula for Amercia)

    It can be used with hot meals as well as cold, and if grown at intervals is avilable almost all year round. My last sowings survived the winter’s snow and are now producing nicely. I pick it carefully, a leaf at a time off a number of plants. That way it carries on growing well. At the end of the summer, many of the older plants are leggy and top-heavy. That’s when I cut whole stems, strip them in the kitchen and make rocket pesto.

    Everytime I pick a bowlful, wash it and chill it in a glass dish with a lid, I look at it and think “How much would this have cost me in a plastic bag?”

    With a bite of a single leaf you can taste its bitter goodness – my vitamin and mineral pill in a leaf! I love it!

  24. Ah, difficult as I love parsnips and tomatoes but I can get them in the shops if the worst came to the worst. So it will have to be runner beans. I love them, they are so versatile but in France they are very difficult to find yet strangely they grow quite well! And the little red flowers are so pretty as the plants climb up my teepee frame.

  25. Well that is a truly a horrible question that my wife and I pondered hard. Our TP would be full of potatoes in the ground in dustbins in old fertilizer bags, recycling boxes, old tyres in fact even old wellies can make a home for the humble spud.
    Humble it may be be it has sooooo many uses as food (I won’t list them I would be here for ages) and there is no waste, homemade wine sees to that any remnents compost down beautifully what can you say perfect. :-)

  26. That’s easy, I thought…asparagus!! then I saw the other comments and realised I couldn’t live without my rocket or garlic or courgettes…not so easy now, huh?

    I’m growing sweet corn for the first time this year – a neighbouring plotholder gave me a couple last year and wow!! what a difference!

    I’ve just used the last of the courgettes from the freezer. I slice them and bung them in a pan with just a little olive oil and some sea salt, then sweat them down until the water comes. Then, off with the lid, and keep stirring until the water disappears. The resulting ‘mush’ freezes very well and can then be used in soups or even as a side dish when re-heated with some garlic or tomatoes or whatever takes your fancy. The good thing about doing it like this is that a huge pile of courgettes becomes a small bagful for the freezer, so less of them go on the compost heap.

    Talking of asparagus, I was down the allotment yesterday and chatted to a lovely new couple who are full of enthusiasm but with no plant knowledge. They proudly showed me the ‘asparagus patch’ which they’d spent ages preparing. Unfortunately, I realised this was the very chunky sort of mares tail that grows in abundance round here, which does resemble asparagus when in bud form. They’d carefully lifted them whilst weeding the unkempt plot and replanted them with some organic fertiliser. Fortunately, they saw the funny side and I was left wondering what mare’s tail would taste like steamed with butter!


  27. The problem is that all the really wonderful stuff is seasonal and if I chose just one I would only be able to eat it for a few weeks a year and I would starve the rest! I would have to be boring and say peas. They grow in a short while and I could have a nice long succession throughout the year.

  28. Hm, possibly potatoes – one of the most versatile vegetables known to man! Incidentally, this question is a very real one faced by myself – my vegetable garden is a London flat balcony! I’m attempting to see how much produce I can grow in a tiny, tiny space. Please check my progress and support me on: http://londonvegetablegarden.blogspot.com for this unique gardening project!

  29. Beans! Cute bushes; can fit many in a small space; long-cropping and very tasty! Also help to improve the soil.

  30. Tomatoes. Fresh, sun-dried, boiled, pureed; and they’re just so RED they lift any dish on a dull day in winter. It’s gotta be Tomatoes.

  31. First I thought tomatoes, then I thought peas, then I asked him and he pondered and replied “on the basis of cost, or flavour or appearance?” Which made me realise that even though i only grow a few veg I am truly lucky to have so many to choose from. Although I think tomatoes are the winner. Brilliant Question!

  32. Broad beans. This is the first thing I grew when I started gardening again after my neck was damaged. You just can’t buy small, sweet and tender broad beans in the shops. If you find them at all they are big and floury.

  33. Definitely greens!

    Cleveland, Ohio USA

  34. No, on second thought – tomatoes. Boy what a hard question!

  35. I have to agree with Duck Duck. I’m fairly new to this, and last year I had a major disaster with brassicas (never again!). Although I also had tomatoes and salad greens planted, the crop that saved the day was my sugar snap peas. I ended up cooking them as part of a traditional meat and two veg, they got added to my stir fries, they made soup, and they even were brilliant raw in salads.

    Needless to say, I have Sugar Ann planted again this year.

  36. French Beans – Neckar Queen – I had 3 months worth of beans, steam them and they taste sweet and buttery. I would have put Tommies if I actually could grow them. Last year, its was just blight blight blight. i’m intrigued by the old sweetcorn. Maybe I should try growing them, when is the best time of year for you to seed them and how long do they take to harvest?

  37. Courgettes – they are expensive from the shops and yet so easy to grow.


  38. Courgettes definitely. As well as being easy to grow, you get masses of them for weeks on end.

  39. Pumpkins – brilliant in so many sweet and savoury dishes – they store and freeze so well and I LOVE them.

    Then I would find lots of other people growing all my other favourites and do swaps with them ‘cos I couldn’t live without all my veggies :-)

    Rosie x

  40. Interesting to read different opinions and arguments…
    At first I thought of choosing vegetable you can grow all year (rational decision), but then thought “what the hell” (emotional decision) and decided to go with – tomatoes! Nothing reminds me of long, hot summer like the taste of a home grow tomato straight from the plant, with a little bit of basil or chives….ah.

  41. CARROTS !!! Home-grown carrots are delicious & nutritious. And because noone else here would grow them, I would be in a very strong bartering position. Mmmm… Crunchy carrots… Carrot juice, carrot cake, carrots with dips, carrot puree, grated carrots with garlic and mayo, carrots in a salad, carrot soup, carrots in a stew, carrots everywhere!

  42. Mixed salad leaves – you can grow them pretty much throughout the year, they are tons cheaper than in the shops and they taste amazing. This winter we had rocket every day from our balcony, even in the thick snow.

  43. Beetroot!!!

    Beetroot sandwiches, beetroot chips, beetroot salad leaves, beetroot and onion soup and Hugh (Mr River Cottage himself) has now come up with a recipe for beetroot brownies.

    … and if I ever come over all girlie I can dye my clothes pink!

    there really is no contest!

  44. Peas! Although not many made it back from the plot last year most of them were devoured straight from the pod.

  45. Wow Thanks for all the replies. I’m glad that everyone chose a different type of veg – life would be very dull if everyone was growing the same thing. I really enjoyed visiting everyone’s websites too. There are some great blogs out there.

  46. Courgettes for me. Keep the slugs away and they just keep on coming. Pick them when no more than 1 inch in diameter, 10 minutes before dinner time. Slice into coins and saute in unsalted butter. When they start going brown in patches, eat them as hot as you can bear. An absolutely heavenly starter, ready in minutes and still tasting of the open air.

  47. Hi, I am from New Delhi, India and a great fan of your site. If there was a law asking me to grow only one veggie, I would opt for tomatoes. For one thing, I can grow them almost round the year, no heating or green house. I just love them in any form, plain raw, in salads, in salsa, in curries, juice with Vodka, anything. As a photographer, I find tomato as one of the most interesting subject too!

  48. It would have to be peas. Simple to grow and nothing better than eating them straight from the pod, they are so sweet and poles apart, in taste, from the frozen variety!

  49. Never had home grown veg, so dunno. Growing potatoes, pintos, tomatos, chard, snap peas, pole beans, corn, pumpkin, sunflower this year. Got squash, melon, for later

  50. Chillies are so addictive to grow, it would have to be them for me.

  51. Potatoes, for sure. They are so easy to grow (unlike, for me, tomatoes, which never manage to ripen, or suffer from blight) and it’s so fun digging for buried treasure with the kids. And they taste fabulous, and crop for ages, store well…

    Of course I would be willing to trade with everyone out there…

  52. for me.. SWEET POTATOES… you can have green veggies great for salad and at the same time you have sweet potatoes which are great root crop in any way you like to cook them… not to mention that it does not require so much work in growing these vegetable.