Best Way To Start Vegetable Gardening For Beginners

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

Updated on 10/1/2023
Emma DowneyBy Emma Downey
Gardening Expert
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The Fundamentals of Sowing Seeds and Cultivating Crops in a Vegetable Garden

We discuss how to establish a vegetable garden from the beginning, which veggies to grow, and when to plant what in the Vegetable Gardening for Beginners Guide. The guide also includes a list of foods that can be produced. This year, we have expanded our garden plans to include a "beginning" garden that consists of some simple-to-grow crops, companion planting strategies, and some beautiful flowers!

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Why garden, you ask? What do you say we treat you to the freshest fruits and veggies you've ever tasted? If you have never tried food right straight from the garden, then you really missed something. You are in for a treat since the flavors are sweet and juicy, and the textures are crisp and alive. There is nothing quite like fresh vegetables, especially if you produce them yourself, which is something you can do. There is nothing quite like fresh vegetables.

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

Gardening is a tremendously gratifying activity, despite the fact that it may initially appear to be challenging. But her, in this article, we will focus on the fundamentals of vegetable gardening and planning, including how to choose an appropriate location for your garden, how to design a garden of the appropriate size, and how to decide which vegetables to cultivate.

Choose the Appropriate Locale

It is of the utmost importance that you choose a suitable site for your garden. A less-than-ideal location could produce less-than-ideal vegetables. The following are some main pointers to consider while selecting a reliable website:

  1. A location that receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal for the majority of veggies. There are several vegetables that can survive in the shade, the majority of which are the leafy green varieties.
  2. So let's say if you have soil that doesn't drain well and creates puddles, planting vegetables on a raised bed or elevated row will help drainage. When the soil is damp, the roots also become wet, which can lead to the roots rotting. If you have rocky soil, you should till it and remove the pebbles from it since rocks inhibit the formation of plant roots and result in weaker plants.
vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

  1. Stable and not windy: Stay away from areas that frequently experience high winds because these conditions might cause your young plants to wither and die or prevent pollinators from accomplishing their jobs. You have to also avoid planting in areas that are prone to flooding or experience an excessive amount of foot traffic. Place your seeds in an area that would make Goldilocks happy—somewhere that is "just perfect."
  2. Nutrient-rich soil. Your soil feeds your plants. If you have poor soil that is thin and lacking in nutrients, your plants will be weak and unhealthy. To encourage the growth of your plants, incorporate a significant amount of organic matter. Check out some tips on how to get your soil ready for your veggie plants.

Choosing the Size of Your Plot: Begin with a Small One!

Keep in mind that it is preferable to take pride in a modest garden rather than feel annoyed by a large one.

Beginners frequently make the mistake of planting too much too quickly – far more than anyone could ever consume or want. This is one of the most typical mistakes that beginners make. Take the time to carefully lay out your garden, especially if you don't want to find zucchinis hiding out in your attic. Begin on a small scale, and grow only what you are certain you and your family will consume.

small size garden

small size garden

Size of Garden

A garden that is 10 feet by 10 feet (100 square feet) in size is a manageable size if it is planted in the ground. Choose three to five of your favorite vegetables, and then purchase three to five plants of each variety.

When starting out, a raised bed that is either 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet is an ideal size. Check out our guide on raised garden beds, which discusses the advantages of using raised beds, how to construct raised beds, and the types of soil that should be used to fill raised beds.

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

If you want to go bigger, a garden in the ground that is 12 feet by 24 feet is usually the most you should try for as your first attempt. For instance, a garden designed to provide food for a family of four might contain the following plants: three hills of yellow squash, one mound of zucchini, ten different kinds of peppers, six tomato plants, twelve okra plants, a 12-foot row of bush beans, two cucumbers on a cage, two eggplants, six basil plants, one rosemary plant, and a few low-growing herbs such as oregano, thyme, and marjoram.

No of the size of your garden, you should be sure to establish walkways that allow you to access your plants in order to weed and harvest them at regular intervals of around four feet. Just make sure that you won't have any trouble reaching the middle of the row or the bed without having to step on the dirt.

Choosing Vegetables

As a novice, you should begin by selecting veggies that are not only simple but also productive. Below you can find a list of ten simple vegetables. However, it is also a good idea to get in touch with the Cooperative Extension Service of your state in order to find out which plants do particularly well in your region. For instance, if you reside in a location that experiences unusually hot weather, it may be difficult to grow vegetables that thrive in temperatures that are lower.

The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Prepare

  1. Lettuce
  2. Green beans
  3. Radishes
  4. Tomatoes (bush variety or cherry are easiest)
  5. Zucchini
  6. Peppers
  7. Beets
  8. Carrots
  9. Whether it's Chard, Spinach, or Kale.
  10. Peas
vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

Add some color by using flowers such as marigolds, which are known to deter pests while also attracting pollinators.

Here are some helpful hints for selecting vegetables:

  1. Pick the foods that everyone in your family enjoys eating the most. Do not bother planting brussels sprouts if no one in your household enjoys eating them. However, if your children enjoy eating green beans, you should put more effort into growing a large crop of beans.
  2. Consider how much greens your family will actually consume before you buy them. Be cautious not to overplant, as you will simply tire yourself out if you try to take care of an excessive number of plants at once. (Of course, you always have an option to give away any extra vegetables to friends, relatives, or the community soup kitchen in your area.)
  3. Think about the selection of vegetables that are sold at your supermarket. Perhaps you would want to cultivate tomatillos as opposed to cabbage or carrots, both of which are easily accessible. Also, there are some vegetables that taste so much better when produced at home that it seems almost irresponsible not to consider them (garden lettuce and tomatoes come to mind specifically). Additionally, the cost of herbs cultivated at home is significantly lower than the cost of herbs purchased from a grocery shop.
vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

  1. You must be sure you have everything you need to tend to your plants over the whole growing season. Are you going to take a trip this summer? Keep in mind that the middle of summer is the time when tomatoes and zucchinis are producing the most fruit. If you are going to be gone somewhere for a significant portion of the summer, you need to make arrangements for someone else to tend to the crops. Or, you may focus on cultivating plants that thrive in milder climates, such as lettuce, kale, peas, and root vegetables, during the spring and fall months when temperatures are lower.
  2. Make use of seeds of good quality. Seed packets are more cost-effective than purchasing individual plants, but if the seeds do not germinate, you will have lost both your money and your effort. When it comes time to harvest, spending a few more cents in the spring on seeds for that year will pay off in the form of bigger harvests.

When and where to plant the seeds

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

This procedure is straightforward if you are only planting two or three tomato plants at a time. But there are a few things you have to think about if you want to cultivate a comprehensive garden:

  • Where exactly will each plant be placed?
  • When should each kind of vegetable be planted in the ground?

The following are some suggestions for the arrangement of your vegetables:

  1. Planting times vary according to the type of crop being grown. "Cool-season" vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, and peas are grown during the chilly months of early spring when temperatures are lower (and fall). After the soil has had time to warm up in the late spring and into the summer, "warm-season" crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers can be planted.
  2. On the north side of the garden, you should plant tall vegetables (such as pole beans on a trellis or sweet corn) so that they do not shade other, lower-growing plants. If there is any portion of your garden that receives shadow, you should reserve that space for growing vegetables that require a shorter growing season. If you cannot avoid having a shadow in certain portions of your garden, you should reserve such areas for cool-season vegetables, which thrive in the shade and produce more fruit when the temperature rises.
  1. Most veggies are annual (planted each year). If you want to produce "perennial" crops like asparagus, rhubarb, and certain types of herbs, you will need to provide permanent sites or beds for them.
  2. Take into account the fact that some plant species reach maturity extremely quickly and have a very brief window for harvesting (radishes, bush beans). Some plants, like tomatoes, require more time to mature yet remain productive for a longer period of time. These "days to maturity" are often indicated on the packaging of the seed.
  • Stagger plants. You don't want to plant all of your lettuce seeds at the same time. Since then, the lettuce will have to be harvested close to simultaneously! Plantings should be spaced out by a few weeks to provide a steady harvest.

When and what to plant,

Every region has its own unique window for planting, which is mostly determined by the local climate, and every vegetable has its own temperature preferences, as well. 

Check out the particular Grow Guides we've created for over one hundred of the most common vegetables, herbs, and fruits for more detailed planting guidance. We provide detailed instructions on how to plant, care for, and harvest each type of crop, including recommendations for when and how to apply water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

A Starter Beginner Garden Plan

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

We thought it could be helpful for novice gardeners to see a garden layout, so we included it in this article. Here is an example of a family garden that focuses mostly on growing some of the common and easy-to-grow veggies that were discussed earlier. Additionally, it makes use of companion planting (the practice of placing plants that thrive together next to each other).

You will see that we have given the garden walkways of reasonable width and have included a selection of herbs and flowers in the design. To tell you the truth, we would be overjoyed if we had been able to cultivate this garden in our very first year! Because we have planned the garden in this manner, we have made it a great deal simpler for you to be successful with it.

You may view the whole plant list, as well as the number of plants, the spacing, and the spacing in rows.

Garden Planning Tool

vegetable gardening

vegetable gardening

The Old Farmer's Almanac is a high-quality online garden planning tool that is both enjoyable and easy to use, and it is available to anybody with internet access. You may use this application to sketch your garden plan on the computer, drop in the veggies you want to grow, and it will automatically calculate the appropriate spacing for each type of crop! You won't have to worry about wasting seeds or overcrowding your plants if you do it this way. The Garden Planner will automatically pull in the frost dates for your particular region, determine which veggies are simple to grow, and even determine which plants would grow well together. After that, you can print out your plan, and the program will remind you of when you should plant seeds and when you should harvest each produce.

In addition to that, you'll have access to a wide variety of free garden plans for ideas. If you use this tool for a while, you'll see that it also offers "crop rotation." This allows you to properly arrange your plants so that you can protect them from pests and diseases if you plan on growing your crop for more than one season.