This guide, vegetable gardening for beginners, will help you learn how to start a new vegetable garden from scratch. In this post, I’ll cover some of the basics of gardening. From the layout to the types of beds and provide more in-depth links to posts you can read.
Knowing where to start can feel daunting, but vegetable gardening is a gratifying hobby. Have you ever tasted homegrown vegetable produce? There isn’t anything quite like the flavor of freshly harvested produce.
The great news is that as a beginning gardener, you can start your own vegetable garden from scratch. Then, relish in the fact you can grow your own fresh vegetables year after year.
A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Growing a garden is such a rewarding experience. I want you to know the excitement of planting the seed, watching it sprout, seeing the vegetable growing, and then being able to harvest the produce. Here are the easy steps to follow on starting vegetable gardening for beginners.
Choose a Garden Location
Go out to your yard and take a look around. Where do you see the full sun during the morning, afternoon, and evening? This is the first step in locating the best place to start a garden.
Most vegetables need around 6 hours of sunlight each day. Where you find the most sunshine throughout the day is where you will want to plan for the location of your vegetable garden space.
Another thought to consider is the garden’s location is the drainage for water. Planting in an area that floods or dries out quickly would be an area to avoid. So, it is important to choose a sunny available space with good drainage.
Garden Bed Types
In Ground Gardening: In years past, I have used the traditional gardening method of planting in the ground using traditional rows. It is cost-effective, easy to start, and easy to change if needed.
The downside to in-ground gardening is the weeds. The weeds will be the number one enemy as you work to keep them out of the garden. It will often take longer for the soil to warm in late spring, making it take longer to get seeds in the ground.
Raised Beds: Raised garden beds can be made from wood, timber, bricks, or rocks. Wood can be costly, and once they are in place, it is a commitment to leave them there.
The advantage of raised beds in the soil often warms faster in the spring. Raised garden beds also allow for better water drainage, and they are easier to reach. Keeping weeds out of raised beds is much easier than the traditional in-ground method.
Container Gardening: Many vegetables can be grown in containers. This is a great way to maximize space, especially for those who want to garden in a small space such as on balconies or a patio. The downside to a container garden is the pots can be costly, and the soil tends to dry out quickly.
Back to Eden Gardening: Back to Eden gardening is a garden method I have researched and I am pretty interested in. It’s a way of gardening I hope to eventually add to my current way of growing vegetables as we expand our garden.
Raised Garden Beds: using raised garden beds has been my choice for gardening for the past several years. They look lovely, are easy to build, and are easy to maintain. In a post called, How to Build Cedar Raised Garden Beds, I share how you can make one.
Having good soil is the key to a successful vegetable garden. Plants need nutrient-rich healthy soil to grow. Start with well-drained soil and plan to add as much organic material as possible. Compost and well-aged manure will increase the ability of your soil to drain and hold in moisture.
I fill our raised beds with well-aged manure from a local farmer. The aged manure has sat for over a year and been turned many times. This makes it very good for growing vegetables.
Know Your Frost Dates
As soon as the weather gets nice, many gardeners are anxious to start planting. However, getting plants in the garden at the right time for your growing season is an essential first step to a successful spring garden. Knowing your local frost dates will help prevent frost damage from varying spring weather temperatures.
The Farmers Almanac is an excellent resource in finding out when your first and last frost date is in your area.
Water needs to be easily accessible. Consider installing a water source near the garden or, even better, a drip irrigation system. Nothing will cause a gardener to experience burnout faster than carrying water to thirsty plants when the temperatures are hot.
Another option is to install soaker hoses around the plants so that they get the adequate amount of water that they need each day.
Garden tools can be costly but, buying the best quality tools your budget will allow can go a long way in getting the most out of what you have spent. Start small in the number of tools you own; it’s easy to go above and beyond what you will generally use.
The top essential tools to get you going on any gardening endeavor are garden gloves, a hand trowel, a spade, a garden hoe, a garden hose with a nozzle, and a wheelbarrow. It is also helpful to have garden markers like slate plant labels.
Starter Seeds or Plants
Now that you have your garden plan thought out, it’s time to start the fun job of planting. The quickest way to get your garden growing is to purchase plants from a local greenhouse and transplant them into your garden. Several varieties are best grown from seed, and for all of the best vegetables seeds, I buy directly from Bakers Creek.
Some vegetables are considered slow-growing and are best grown from seeds. Others seeds are started indoors and then transplanted outside into the garden when ready. All of my seeds are started inside with an organic seed starting mix. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, and tomatoes are best started from seed.
Some of the easiest vegetables are quick-growing, such as peas, squash, and green beans. These do best being direct seeded into the garden. Vegetables with long taproots, such as carrots, don’t transplant well and must be directly seeded into the garden.
Read your seed packets for the best results in planting seeds. All of the information you need to know will be on the back of the package. Information, such as how deep to plant the seeds, how long it takes to sprout, and how far apart to space the seeds are located on the back.
More Tips | Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Start Small: It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the care a garden can need. Start small and add more as you find you need the space. When I built my first garden beds, I started with four; I added four more the following year.
Only Grow What You Will Eat: Unless you plan on giving away or selling a lot of produce, only grow what you know your family can eat. Plants such as squash, zucchini, and cucumbers produce a lot of vegetables.
Garden Journal: Keeping a garden journal is a fun, simple way to track your garden’s progress through the seasons. It’s easy to lose track of what day you planted seeds or the name of the seeds you planted. Journal entries don’t have to be elaborate, but it provides a way to look back on the information you may need.
In keeping a garden journal, I find it helpful to write down the names of the seeds I have started and the date they were planted. Other information may include the day the seed sprouted, when harvesting the vegetable began, how much harvest was brought in, and final thoughts on the taste. These factors will help decide if this is a variety you would like to grow again in your garden for the next year.
One of the most rewarding homesteading tasks is knowing where your own vegetables come from. I hope this guide, Vegetable Gardening for Beginners, gives you the courage to start your first vegetable garden.
More Gardening Inspiration, Tips and Ideas
In this post, I have shared some of the essential tips and ideas to think about if you are interested in vegetable gardening for beginners. Here are several other related posts for gardening.