How to Start a Vegetable Garden

variety of vegetables

Do you want to have your own vegetable garden? Maybe like most people you are aware of the fact that vegetables are needed in the diet to promote and maintain good health. (You have all heard the recommendation of 5 -8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, haven’t you?) Maybe you are envious when you see your neighbours or persons in YouTube videos reaping lovely vegetable from their own backyard garden.

You must have certainly thought of the fact that you can save so much money by growing your own food. After all, you probably spend a pretty penny at the grocery on vegetable.

What about the idea of fresh vegetable. No more old, stale veggies that have been on the supermarket shelf too long.

You can control what goes on your plant. No dangerous pesticides Yes. You are truly sold on the idea of having your own vegetable garden but as a newbie, what you really would like to know is how to start a vegetable garden.

The obvious answer of course is vegetables, but which ones?

What you need

What you decide to grow will depend on certain factors.

  • How much space you have
  • How much sunlight is available
  • Most importantly, what vegetables you like. It is pointless growing tons of eggplant if you hate it or don’t even know how to cook it.
  • Ensure that you have your basic gardening tools such as your small shovel, garden fork, spade, hoe etc.

Decide between a raised bed and an in-ground bed

Raised bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in beds. In other words, a bed is framed out with material which is typically wood, and soil is added on top of the ground soil. It can be of any length or shape, but is usually about 4 feet square.

Raised beds offer a more manageable way to garden a smaller space intensively. There is more control over the soil quality specific to the items you want to plant. The soil is less compacted than the ground and raised beds require less maintenance over time than traditional garden beds.

raised bed vegetable garden

In-ground beds are easier to start up. You just go ahead and use the existing soil that is in your garden. There are benefits in that clay soils found in your garden do have benefits that are not found in man-made soils. It is also less expensive to start an in-ground garden as opposed to a raised bed garden.

But hey, you don’t have to limit yourself. You can try both. Plant some of your vegetables in a raised bed and plant some in the ground. As time goes on you can decide which you prefer.

Should you plant seeds or seedlings?

That’s really up to you. The main difference is that seeds take a longer time to maturity than seedlings. If you have a short growing time and a long season plant for example, it would be better to plant a seedling.

Although it is much cheaper to use seeds, as a newbie gardener, you might prefer to have a jump start and use seedlings. I think it is more encouraging to see an actual plant growing from the get go.

What vegetables should you plant?

As a new gardener you want to plant something that is easy to grow. If all your crops fail, you might become discouraged.

My first attempt at gardening was very disappointing. I was not sufficiently prepared. I just dug up some soil that was already in the garden without giving any thought to whether it was good, fertile soil. I was probably trying to shortcut the method as I desperately wanted to plant and reap from my own garden. The result, total failure.

Initially I saw lots of growth in my containers and was quite excited but alas they were all weeds.

You can plant a variety of vegetables in your garden. Depending on what you decide to plant you may be able to prepare a complete meal from what you reap from your garden.

Beans are easy to grow. There are quite a variety to choose from and they provide you with lots of protein and iron.

Radishes are probably the easiest vegetable to plant and can be reaped in less than a month after planting. This is great encouragement for the new farmer. Enjoy it in your salads.

Speaking of salads, plant some lettuce. They are also quite easy to grow and can provide you with long periods of reaping if you just cut off leaves as needed and not uproot the whole plant.

Scallion -These will even grow in a glass of water in the kitchen. When next you buy scallion at the market, just cut off the bottom root area and place in a glass of water. Soon you will see it sending up green sprouts. It’s that easy. Plant your scallions in your garden and have lovely seasoning herbs at your fingertips whenever needed.

Tomatoes – There is a wide variety to choose from. This is one example of a single plant that produces many reapings of fruits.

We won’t get too technical here and point out that tomato is really a fruit and not a vegetable. For our purposes we will class it as a vegetable.

Carrots – The first time I planted carrots, all I reaped was the smell. Seriously. Not one carrot grew. When I crushed the green leaves between my fingers however, it did smell of carrots.

Don’t worry. That does not have to be your experience. Carrots are actually quite easy to grow. Just imaging reaping your vegetable rich in vitamin A and beta carotene right from outside your kitchen door.

Peppers – Another easy plant to grow. You can decide to grow hot peppers or bell peppers. Then again, why limit yourself. Go ahead and grow both.

Sweet potatoes – This is not one that people think of readily when they think of starting their vegetable garden but they are missing something truly nutritious and easy to grow. If you just cut off a slip from an existing potato plant and stick it in the ground, it will grow.

The sweet potato is naturally pest resistant and the thick growth of the leaves smothers weeds making for easier maintenance.

Points to consider when planting your vegetable garden

This is just a short list of suggestions of what to plant in your vegetable garden. The fact is there are many more vegetables to choose from. I am sure you would love to have some corn, cabbage, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, kale, beet, spinach….and the list goes on and on.

But don’t try to plant everything at once. At least not as a beginner. You will become quite overwhelmed. As you get more experienced, and if you have space, feel free to add as many vegetables as you like.

As you grow, learn about which vegetables grow well together and which should be planted further apart. (Referred to as Companion Planting)

Consider planting a few flowers in between your vegetables. Why, you ask? Well, these flowers will attract bees which help to pollinate your crop.

Let the gardening begin

planting seeds

Now you know how to start your garden and what vegetables you can plant, so grab your spade, your shovel, your fork, your hat and get outside to your little plot.

You go Farmer! Happy planting.

Please share your gardening stories with us.

Do so in the comments section below.

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