Ultimate guide to starting a vegetable garden

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In the Vegetable Gardening for Beginners Guide, we cover how to start a vegetable garden from scratch, which vegetables lớn grow, và when to plant what. This year, we’ve added a “starter” garden plan consisting of easy-to-grow vegetables, companion planting techniques, và some lovelyflowers!


Vegetable Gardening forBeginners

Why garden, you ask? How about enjoying the best vegetables và fruit you’ve ever eaten? If you’ve never tasted garden-fresh food, you will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavors & vibrant textures. There’s absolutely nothing quite lượt thích fresh veggies, especially if you grow them yourself—which youcan!

It may seem daunting at first, but gardening is a very rewarding hobby. On this page, we’ll highlight the basics of vegetable gardening và planning: how khổng lồ pick the right site for your garden, how to create the right-size garden, và how khổng lồ select which vegetables togrow.

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Pick the RightLocation

Picking a good location for your garden is absolutely key. A subpar location can result in subpar veggies! Here are a few tips for choosing a goodsite:

Sunny spot:Most vegetables need 6 lớn 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. There are a few veggies (mostly the leafy ones) that will tolerate someshade.Drains well & doesn’t stay wet:If you have poorly drained soil where water pools, plant veggies in a raised bed or raised row for improved drainage. Wet soil means wet roots, which can turn into rotted roots. If you have rocky soil, till và remove the rocks, as they will interfere with root growth và make for weakerplants.Stable & not windy:Avoid places that receive strong winds that could knock over your young plants or keep pollinators from doing their job. Nor bởi vì you want khổng lồ plant in a location that receives too much foot traffic or floods easily. Plant in a location that would makeGoldilocks smile—somewhere that’s “justright.”

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Choosing a Plot Size: StartSmall!

Remember: It’s better to be proud of a small garden than be frustrated by a bigone!

One of the most common errors that beginners make is planting too much too soon—way more than anybody could ever eat or want!Unless you want to lớn have zucchinis taking up residence in your attic, plan your garden with care. Start small, và only grow what you know you and your family willeat.

Size ofGarden

If planting in the ground, a 10’ x 10’ garden (100 square feet) is a managable size. Pick 3 khổng lồ 5 of your favorite vegetables và buy 3 khổng lồ 5 plants of eachone.If you want lớn go bigger, a 12’ x 24’ garden in the ground is probably the biggest a first-timer should go. For example, agarden that feeds afamily of four could include: 3 hills of yellow squash; 1 mound of zucchini; 10 assorted peppers; 6 tomato plants; 12 okra plants; a 12-foot row of bush beans; 2 cucumbers on a cage; 2 eggplant; 6 basil; 1 rosemary, and a few low-growing herbs such as oregano, thyme, andmarjoram.Whatever the kích cỡ of your garden: Every four feet or so, make sure that you have paths that allow you lớn access your plants khổng lồ weed & harvest. Just make sure that you can reach the center of the row or bed easily without stepping on thesoil.

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ChoosingVegetables

As a beginner, start by choosing easy vegetables that are also productive.We’ve listed ten easy vegetable below. However, it would also be wise to tương tác your state’s Cooperative Extension Service khổng lồ find out what plants grow best in your area. For example, if you live in an area with extremely hot weather, vegetables that prefer cooler temps maystruggle.

Top 10 Easy Vegetables(Tip: Click on a veggie’s name khổng lồ see its detailed GrowingGuide.)

Mix in flowers such as marigolds—which discourage pests, attracts pollinators, và adds somecolor!

Five tips for choosingvegetables:

Choose what you (and your family) like to eat.If no one likes brussels sprouts, don’t bother planting them! But if your kids love green beans, put more effort towards growing a big crop ofbeans.Be realistic about how many vegetables your family will eat. Be careful not to lớn overplant, as you will only stretch yourself thin by trying to lớn take care of tons of plants!(Of course, you could always give excess veggies away to lớn friends, family, or the local soupkitchen.)Consider the availability of veggies at your grocery store.

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Maybe you want to grow tomatillos, instead of cabbage or carrots, which are readily available. Also, certain veggies are so far superior when homegrown, it’s almost a shame not khổng lồ consider them (we’re thinking of garden lettuce and tomatoes). Also, homegrown herbs are far less expensive than grocery storeherbs.Be prepared khổng lồ take care of your plants throughout the growing season.Going on a summer vacation? Remember that tomatoes và zucchinis are growing strongest in the middle of summer. If you’re gone part of the summer, you need someone to look after the crops or they will suffer. Or, you could just grow cool-season crops such as lettuce, kale, peas, and root veggies during the cooler months of late spring và earlyfall.Use high-quality seeds. Seed packets are less expensive than individual plants, but if seeds don’t germinate, your money—and time—are wasted. A few extra cents spent in spring for that year’s seeds will pay off in higher yields atharvesttime.

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Where và When toPlant

If you are simply growing two or three tomato plants, this process is easy. But if you planto grow a full garden, you need toconsider:

Where will each plantgo?When will each vegetable needto beplanted?

Here are a few guidelines for arranging yourvegetables:

Not all vegetables are planted at the same time. “Cool-season” vegetables such as lettuce và brocoil and peas grow in cooler weather of early spring (and fall). “Warm-season” such as tomatoes và peppers và cucumbers aren’t planted until the soil warms up in late spring andsummer.Plant tall veggies (such as pole beans on a trellis or sweet corn) on the north side of the garden so they don’t shade shorter plants.If you bởi vì get shade in a part of your garden, save that area for small, cool-season veggies.If shade is unavoidable in parts of your garden, save those areas for cool-season vegetables which appreciate shade as the weather heatsup.Most veggies are annuals (planted each year). If you’re planning on growing “perennial” crops such as asparagus, rhubarb, and some herbs, provide permanent locations orbeds.Consider that some crops mature quickly và have a very short harvest period (radishes, bush beans). Other plants, such as tomatoes, take longer to produce, but also produce for longer. These “days khổng lồ maturity” are typically listed on the seedpacket.Stagger plantings. You don’t want to lớn plant all your lettuce seeds at the same time, or all that lettuce will need to be harvested at around the same time! Stagger plantings by a few weeks khổng lồ keep ‘emcoming!

When to lớn PlantWhat

Every region has a different planting time based mainly on their weather, & every vegetable has its temperature preferences, too.See the nhatroso.com’s Best Planting Dates—a gardening calendar customized khổng lồ your local frost dates. Just enter your zip code (or postal code inCanada)!

For specific planting information, see our individual Grow Guides for over 100 popular vegetables, herbs, & fruit.For each crop, we provide specific information about how to plant, grow, và harvest, including watering và fertilizing and pestcontrol!

A Starter Beginner GardenPlan

To help out beginners, we thought that it may be useful to lớn see a garden design. Here is an example of a starter family garden using mainly of thecommon easy-to-grow vegetables listed above.It also features companion planting (the practice of placing plants that thrive together next lớn eachother).

You’ll see that we have given the garden decent-sized paths & mixed in afew herbs and flowers, too. Frankly, ifwe had grown this garden in our very first year, we would be thrilled! In planning the garden this way, we have made it so much easier for you to lớn succeed withit.

Click here to see the full plant list, number of plants, spacing, and spacing inrows.

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Garden PlanningTool

The Old Farmer’s nhatroso.com offers an excellent online garden planning tool which makes your garden planning fun & easy. With this tool,draw your garden plan on the computer and drop in your preferred vegetables, và it automatically calculates the proper spacing for each type of crop!This way, you don’t waste seed or crowd your plants. The Garden Planner automatically pulls in the frost dates for your specific location, identifies easy vegetables, & even identifies companion plants. Then you can print out your plan và the tool reminds you of your seeding & harvesting dates for everyvegetable!

Plus, you’ll see many không lấy phí garden plans for inspiration!Over time, you’ll see that this tool also provides “crop rotation” so that if you plan a second season, you can properly reposition your plants khổng lồ avoid pests anddisease.

With new gardeners in mind, we offer a không tính phí week to try the Garden Planner—ample time khổng lồ plan your first garden.Check it out here: http://gardenplanner.nhatroso.com/

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Photo:nhatroso.com Garden Planner. Earth’s most popular tool for planning your garden. Try it miễn phí for 7days.

Any questions or advice about starting your garden? check out some of the comments below. Many of your questions may have been answered already by our nhatroso.com community or you are welcome to địa chỉ your own comment. Happygardening!