Courgettes are 'tender' vegetables, so need a little more care and attention – but they're still pretty easy to grow.
The great thing about courgettes is that they're prolific croppers – so you only need two or three plants to provide enough vegetables to feed a family. In fact, in a good year, you may struggle to keep up with harvesting and find you have to give your courgettes away to (hopefully) grateful friends and neighbours.
To grow courgettes, start by sowing seeds into small pots of compost – one seed per pot. This should be done in early May. Keep inside on a sunny windowsill, and water regularly.
At the end of May, when all risk of frost has passed, begin to 'harden off' the plants in preparation for planting out. To do this, take them outside during the day, bringing them back into a porch, greenhouse or garage at night. Repeat for about five days. Then leave them outside, in pots, for 48 hours before planting out. (If the weather is fairly warm and no frost is forecast you can just stand the plants outside, in their pots, for a week before transplanting).
Plant out 90cm apart and keep well watered. If growing on the patio, use a large container and choose a compact variety, such as Venus. The first courgettes should be ready to harvest in July, and can be picked as soon as they are as long as your index finger.
And if you fancy growing pumpkins, they're grown in exactly the same way but, being bigger, take a little longer to mature – harvest in october, ready for Hallowe'en!
There are, of course, many other vegetables that are easy to grow – but these are our three favourites! For a few more ideas of easy vegetables for first-time kitchen gardeners, check out our handy infographic!