As soon as there is a glimmer of sunshine, the first thing we want to do is get out into the garden, set up the barbecue and cook up a feast for the family.

To give you a head-start, here are some crops that are crucial for barbecue season that will grow fast at the height of summer, and they don’t need that much space either.


Marconi peppers are sweet tasting peppers are an Italian variety that are long and slender, and we love cooking them on the barbecue.

If they are being sown from seed, February to April is a good time to get sowing and place in a spot where there is plenty of heat such as a warm windowsill.

When two true leaves have formed the plants can be transferred into small pots.

In May to June transfer the plants and plant them outside in a sunny but sheltered spot.

Once they begin flowering, they can be fed once a week with a tomato feed to encourage fruiting.

The crops are ready to harvest when they are green and glossy, or instead, keep the fruit on the plant until it turns red. Harvesting takes place between July and October so you’ll have a bunch of peppers ready for the barbecue.


Easy to grow from seed, these can be sown indoors from April to June. Alternatively, young plants can be bought from a garden centre and planted out in May to June, just like I did.

Plant them out by digging planting pockets, with 90cm apart each plant and filling it with a mixture of compost and soil, with a sprinkle of fertiliser over the soil and planting in the young plant.

If you don’t have much space, courgettes can be grown in growbags too, with one or two per bag because they like their own space and they are thirsty plants.

From June to October, when the courgettes are 10-15cm long, they are ready for harvest. By regularly picking the plants when they are smaller, will guarantee you have a longer harvesting period.

Not only is the veg tasty, but the flowers are edible too. They are commonly eaten stuffed with cheese and herbs, then fried, or simply tossed in olive oil and stirred into risotto.

Mange tout

The crunch of freshly picked peas is pure magic, the kids absolutely love it.

Sow the seeds in an open and sunny spot from February to June in a flat-bottomed trench 7.5cm apart from each other.

When the plants begin flowering continue to water well and provide some support for the pea plants to climb up.

The pods are ready to be picked between June and October when they are about 7.5cm long and the peas are just beginning to develop. Picking them regularly will encourage more flowers and pods to grow.

Just like that, you’ll have colourful veg ready to barbecue to add some terrific taste to your summer dishes.

Spring is on its way, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: