Starting a Vegetable Garden isn’t as hard as you might think.
I’m often shocked when people say they have a “brown thumb”. Brown thumb? Nah, you just need to learn the RIGHT way to garden! It’s time to quit having low-gardening-self-esteem and get your garden on!
There are a few things you need to know before starting a vegetable garden and lucky for you, you came to the right place! I just happen to know a thing or two about gardening! Let’s get to it, shall we?
Starting a Vegetable Garden
1. First things first, you need decide on what KIND of garden you want.
You have 3 choices. Don’t over think it. Just choose the one that works THIS YEAR. Next year you may do something different.
- Planting in Pots & Trellises | This is great for a first time gardener or if you have a small amount of space to work with. You’d be surprised to find out that A LOT of vegetables can be grown in a pot or on a trellis.
- Planting in Raised Garden Beds | Raised garden beds are nice because you can place a barrier at the bottom to prevent weeds, and you can also create your own perfect soil combination. Check out these 12 raised garden bed ideas. Also, check out this method to creating the soil in a raised garden bed.
- Planting directly into the Ground | The pro of this method is that you have more space to work with, and also you can get a heavy duty tiller and get work done fast. The cons are that it’s harder to keep out weeds & surrounding grass. (That dang Bermuda will be the death of me!) Check out my post on how to get superpowered soil when planting in the ground.
2. Next, you’ll need to decide on a spot to plant before starting your vegetable garden.
Choose a mostly sunny spot, with some afternoon shade. If you want to get really serious, you can choose a FULL sun spot for your colder season gardening, and a SEMI-SHADY spot for warmer season gardening. Don’t over think this step either. I went crazy with worry trying to find the perfect spot, and it turned out there were lots of choices. Just choose one and go with it!
3. Set up a simple watering system.
As much as we’d all like to have a gorgeous automatic watering system with a timer, sometimes that’s just not what happens in reality. In real life, most gardeners are using manual drip systems, soaker hoses, & just a plain hose with a spray. I’ve found that a HUGE bonus with having to water my garden manually is that it forces me to weed it for the 10-15 minutes that my drip system is running.
Right now I have a hose that runs from the outside spigot to my garden, then I have a large drip line down the middle, with small drip lines running off each side. Simple. When you’re starting a vegetable garden, you don’t have to have everything set up perfectly.
4. Buy your seeds (or plants)
I really try my best to find organic heirloom seeds. “Organic” means it is GMO-free and doesn’t have pesticides or added fertilizers. “Heirloom” seeds means that it is an older variety and you should be able to save the seeds and plant that same variety in the future. I figure if I’m going to all the trouble of growing my own food, then I might as well go organic and eat the best possible!
The only drawback with trying to plant only organic is that if you are headed to the store to purchase plants, you’ll have a harder time finding organic, heirloom variety. Most vegetables can be planted directly outdoors, but a few vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and others need some gentle indoor growing into plants before they can handle the outdoors.
Sometimes you haven’t got around to planting seedlings early enough, and you have to buy plants. In that case, just go for it and do the best you can. Check out my guide to planting seedlings indoors!
5. Plan & Plant your Garden!
While there are some good tips to planting specific plants together for optimal growing & pest control, often called “companion planting”, you don’t have to worry about that this first time around. My suggestion would be to find which plant grow best in YOUR area. It should also show you WHEN to plant, which is a hugely important. Here in Arizona, we have a local guide provided from the University of Arizona’s Planting Guide, When you find which plants grow best in your area, STICK TO THAT GUIDE! Don’t deviate from the guide, even a few weeks. A few weeks can mean a late start which never catches up or an early freezing of your vegetables. I once had the most beautiful cantaloupes ruined by a late planting. Just when they were getting nice and plump, it got too cold, and they all died. Poor, poor cantaloupes. There are a lot of vegetables to choose from, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a look at my 5 Easy-to-Grow Vegetables for the Beginner Gardener!
6. Have a good Natural Pest Control Solution.
Pests in the garden are, well, pests. Be sure to make my natural pest control spray to combat those plant-eating bugs!
Are you motivated now to finally start a vegetable garden this year? Well, what are you waiting for?