How to Start a Vegetable Garden: Tips and Tricks

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Nothing comes close to the handpicked home-grown vegetables. You can never experience the same texture or zest with the store-bought vegetables,  that is for sure. Let us see how to start a vegetable garden.

How to start a vegetable garden? Follow the steps to start a vegetable garden from scratch. Step-1: Choosing a Spot for Your Vegetable Garden, Step-2: How to Test and Fix Your Soil, Step-3: What to Grow In Your Vegetable Garden (Peas, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Garlic, Beans, Squash etc.), Step-4: Seeds vs. Transplants, Step-5: Caring For Your Vegetable Garden like Fertilize Your Vegetables, Pest-Control, Pest-Control, etc.

Vegetable gardening at home requires some patience and creativity, but it’s a great way to save a ton of money. Tending to your vegetable garden can also prove to be a great physical activity to keep you fit. And not to forget the fact, spending some green time is essential for your mental health as well.

Also, check out 7 Essential Gardening Tips for Beginners and Self-Sufficient Garden – Ultimate Guide to Start.

If you were wondering how to start a vegetable garden successfully, you are in the right place. All that’s required of you is to dig into the following tips and tricks, and you will be harvesting the best flavorsome vegetables you have ever had!

how to start a vegetable garden
how to start a vegetable garden

How to start a vegetable garden

If you are starting a vegetable garden from scratch, it will be best to plan for a small garden at first. Big gardens demand a great deal of time and care. And without any prior experience in vegetable gardening, you will want to be careful about not overdoing it and overwhelming yourself. 

Once you get comfortable with a small garden and figure out how to plant, water, weed, and harvest, you can start investing more time. However, before learning the ropes of vegetable gardening, it can backfire in the meanest of ways.

A good size for a beginner’s garden is 10×10 feet. Try to keep it simple and plant about four to five types of vegetables at first. If a 10×10 garden seems too big, you can go smaller where you can grow three different vegetables.

Step-1: Choosing a Spot for Your Vegetable Garden

If you want to know how to start a vegetable garden? It is vital to choose the perfect spot for your vegetable garden. It would help to give some practical thinking before you pick up your shovel and start digging. 

If you want a quick access to your garden, you should consider locating your garden near your house’s kitchen. It will make it easier for you to harvest the vegetables or pick some herbs you planted while you are cooking.

There are three fundamental requirements for planting a triumphant vegetable garden – sun, water, and soil. Let’s get into it in detail:

1- Sun

The first thing to know about planting vegetables is that they need the right amount of sun to grow well. It implies that you should never position them from east to west in your garden as they shade each other in this direction.

To get the maximum amount of sun exposure, orient the planting of vegetables from north to south. An average-growing vegetable needs at least 8 hours of direct sun each day for growing well. It doesn’t matter where your garden is located, front yard, backyard, or even balcony; you should always make sure to follow this rule.

However, if your yard has some partially shaded areas, it is best to grow vegetables and herbs that are best suited for such spots. Lettuce, parsley, spinach, kale, and cilantro are some of the examples of such plants.

2- Water

For a perfect vegetable garden, you should know when and how much to water your plants. Weather conditions, soil composition, and the region where you live, these all factors contribute to figuring out the water supplication cycle. 

When you first plant seeds in the bed, they don’t require a regular water supply. However, when the seeds start to germinate, you should frequently water the plants so that the water is absorbed deeper into the soil and your vegetable plant is well-nourished. 

If the weather condition is dry, the plant will require more water than it usually does to sustain. The kind of soil you use also needs to be checked before watering the plants. For example, sandy soil dries much quicker than clay soil, especially in sunny and windy conditions. 

If you are still unsure about when to water your plants, there is a simple trick to determine whether it’s time to water them or not. Stick a finger about four inches in the soil. If you feel the soil is dry, it is time to water the plants.

3- Soil

For harvesting the best vegetables, you need ideal soil as well. Good soil is one that is crumbly textured and dark in tone. However, even if you don’t have the best type of soil, you can improve it by frequently incorporating organic matters like compost, mulch, and aged manure into it.  

Adding chemical fertilizers to a vegetable garden may plenish a certain amount of nutrients, but it will do almost nothing for maintaining a good soil that is full of life.

Step-2: How to Test and Fix Your Soil

If you don’t have a kit to test your soil, there’s a way to observe and fix it manually in three steps.

How do you start a vegetable garden from scratch
How do you start a vegetable garden from scratch
  1. Drench the soil with a hose, then leave it for a day to absorb the water.
  2. Now, dig up some soil to test it. Take a handful and make a tight fist. If the water streams out, it means you need to add compost, manure, or some organic matter to improve the soil drainage.
  3. Open your fist. If the soil falls apart like sand on the slightest of touch instead of making a ball, it indicates the soil is too sandy. To improve the quality of soil, you will need to add organic matters. However, if the ball crumbs when you touch, like a chocolate cake, it signifies that your soil is in an ideal condition.

Step-3: What to Grow In Your Vegetable Garden

You should always plant vegetables that you like or consume frequently. However, it would be best to avoid rookie mistakes that most beginners make of planting too many seeds. Vegetables and herbs like squash, tomatoes, coriander, and pepper tend to grow throughout the season, so you should not plant too much as a few will provide you with more than enough.

There is also another significant factor to think about – planting seasonal vegetables. You should always research before planting a vegetable to check if it is the season to grow that vegetable yet. Many times people get disappointed when they can’t grow a certain vegetable without checking the seeding and harvesting calendar.

Here is a list of some easy-growing vegetables any beginner can grow without difficulty:

Peas

Peas come in different types so you will have a variety to choose from for a summer treat. They are mostly sown in autumn and harvested in June. These plants are easy and quick to grow as they take almost 60 to 80 days from planting to harvesting. And you can freeze them as well to store for a very long time.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are immensely easy to grow and take almost two to three months to grow adequately. These plants love the sun, so try finding a spot with full sun exposure for them to grow in. You should also make sure to water the plants every day in hot or dry weather. 

Once they start growing, tie the plants to some support to help them stay vertical, or else they will crash and fall in their beds or containers.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are on the most refreshing vegetables on earth, and they come in daily use in households for salads and wrappings. These refreshing summer veggies can grow quite easily at home in the vegetable garden. 

You will need to make sure to place two to three seeds into the soil while keeping the soil moist and warm. Maintaining these conditions will make sure to grow the best cucumbers you have ever had in your life.

Lettuce

Lettuce leaf is also a daily use veggie that is almost effortless to grow. And the best thing about it is that you can grow it all year round and expect to harvest the lettuce leaves after only ten weeks of seeding.

If you want a beautiful little spot for leaf lettuce, you can grow a variety of them in different colors. Some of the top choices you can go for are the Red Sails, Black Seeded Simpson, and LollaRossa. 

Garlic

Growing garlic takes time and patience, but it is an easy task nevertheless. It would be best if you planted its cloves in mid of autumn and then let it grow for the next nine months. The best time to harvest garlic is mid-summer. 

Be sure to tuck the garlic cloves in well-drained soil on a sunny area, because they need at least six hours of sun exposure to grow well.

How do you start a garden for beginners
How do you start a garden for beginners

Bush Beans

Bush beans are also fast seed-and-harvest veggies. Their seeds take almost ten days to germinate, and they mature in about two months at most. 

Beans love the warm soil, warm weather and sun exposure, so you should wait for the last frost to end before seeding them.

Summer Squash

Summer squashes always grow in a large quantity even if you plant just one in your garden. Another great thing is that they only require forty to fifty days from planting to harvesting. You should wait to let them grow till they are four to six inches long and then harvest them immediately.

The squash needs well-drained soil with plenty of compost or manure. And it would help if you plant them in a bright sunny area for the right growth. Splashing the squash plants with a liquid fertilizer once in a while when they begin to produce fruits also works as a catalyst for their growth. 

Step-4: Seeds vs. Transplants

Before you start planting, you need to decide whether you want to grow your vegetables from scratch via seeds or you want to purchase transplants (young plants). 

If you decide to go with seeds, pay attention to the directions from the seed packages. Every vegetable has a different set of instructions, and mixing them up will mess up your garden quite severely.

However, if you decide on transplants, buy seedlings for slow-growing vegetables such as kale and broccoli. These types of vegetables are the best option when it comes to growing young plants. Also, once you plant them in your garden bed, they will mature fast for harvesting, giving you much quicker results than seeds. 

Step-5: Caring For Your Vegetable Garden 

If you don’t put some effort into caring for your vegetable garden after this much planning and preparation, it would be a pity to see your garden wilt away.

How to Start a Beginner Vegetable Garden from Scratch
How to Start a Beginner Vegetable Garden from Scratch

Keep these instructions in mind when you start your vegetable garden:

Fertilize Your Vegetables

For maximizing the vegetable growth in your garden, supplying the vegetable plants with proper fertilizers is a must. You will often get the best results when you add organic matter to your plants. Sometimes, applying store-bought vegetable fertilizers can also help a lot when you use them as per the package’s instructions.

Discourage Weed Seedlings

Weeds tend to fight with the vegetable plants for water and nutrients, cutting their feed by half. That’s why it is necessary to keep the weed seedlings to a minimum so the vegetables can grow with proper nourishment. 

Build a Fence

Animals sometimes get into your vegetable garden and chew it out. To avoid that from happening, build at least an eight inches fence so that no animal could hop into the garden.

Deter Fungal Diseases

Instead of watering the leaves, water the garden soil frequently to deter the fungal diseases. Morning is the best time to water plants as the soil dries by nightfall. Also, don’t add sick plants or diseased fallen leaves to your pile of compost. 

Pest-Control

Stray off pests and insects like caterpillars from your vegetable garden. Large insects can be taken off the plants by hand. However, for smaller insects, you can try using insecticidal soap sprays and pest-control chemicals, following the box’s directions. Check out Pest control for vegetable garden.

Winterize Your Garden

Taking the season off in the winters may sound tempting, but it is the best season to care for your soil and prepare it for the upcoming harvesting season. Reducing the weeds and tending to your soil will accelerate your growth process and extend your next harvest exceptionally. Now that you know how to start a vegetable garden in your home, you can invest in a little hard work and enjoy the flourishing results with a bountiful harvest.

You may like to grow the below vegetables in your vegetable garden: