How To Start A Vegetable Garden

Written by Gabrielle Smith

Are you looking to save some money on groceries? Do you want to work on your green thumb? Starting your own vegetable garden is the best way to save money and get closer to nature!

In a time of large scale food production, growing your own vegetables is a healthy and eco-friendly way to support the environment and learn about the importance of seasonal eating. Seasonal eating refers to only eating food that is harvested at a specific time of year.

By eating seasonally, you are protecting the environment from potential harmful gasses and energy waste that comes with buying food that is not in season and therefore needs to travel far distances to reach your plate.

Below are some gardening tips with an easy guide on the simple steps to start your own vegetable garden. 

01.

Choose Your Garden Spot Carefully

Vegetable garden tips start with choosing your garden spot carefully! The majority of garden vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, etc. require bright, full sun.

Therefore, it is ideal to choose a spot in your garden that receives about 6 hours of bright sun a day. If you do not have ample space in your backyard, you can also create a vegetable garden in pots. 

Flat Land:
In addition to choosing an area that receives bright sun, ensure that the land is flat. Flat land will ensure that your plants are receiving an even amount of sunlight as well as make it easier for you to begin your planting.

Wind Protection:
Ensure you choose an area in your garden where your vegetable garden is not exposed to high winds. If you live in an area that is prone to high winds, plant a protective hedge around your garden or secure pots to the ground with weights or stones

02.

Start Small

As a beginner, it is important to not be too ambitious and go overboard in starting your new vegetable garden! Start small by setting up an area of about 6x6 and include 3 to 5 vegetables that you would like to begin growing.

This will set you up with a good amount of vegetables that will not be too overbearing to take care of. 

03.

Pick The Right Vegetable Varieties

When choosing the vegetable seeds, make sure to read the package description carefully. Begin with narrowing your vegetable selection to the food that you like.

Once you know the vegetables you like, choose the varieties that are better for smaller gardens and disease resistant.

There are specific seed varieties that you can use for vegetable garden planters. By picking the correct seed variety you will ensure that your garden is set up for success! 

04.

Plant Cool AND Warm Crops

To assure your garden is harvesting plants in every season, be sure to plant both cool and warm crops.

Cool Season Crops: 
Cool crops refer to plants that thrive in colder temperatures (anything below 70°F).There are three different types of cool season crops.

The first type is, alliums such as garlic, onions and leeks. The second type of cool season crops are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. The third type of cool season crop is the salad greens that includes arugula and lettuce.

Warm Season Crops: 
The opposite of cold season crops, warm season crops refer to plants that thrive in warmer temperatures above 70°F.

Warm season crops require both warm soil and temperature throughout the day, with cooler temperatures at night.

Warm season crops include peppers, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. In order for your vegetables to begin harvesting in the summer, ensure you begin to plant your seedlings in early spring. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: Plant your vegetable seeds in late summer in order to harvest them for the fall and winter seasons! This will ensure you have fresh produce all year long. 

05.

Plant Seeds In Well-Draining Soil

The best soil to use when starting your vegetable garden is one that is easy to dig,  with high nutrients and drainage.

One type of soil that meets all three of these characteristics is sandy soil. Sandy soil has large particles that make it easy for water and nutrients to pass through.

In addition to sandy soil, you can add organic matter, such as vegetable garden compost to your soil. The organic matter will fill in the spaces created by the sandy soil and ensure moisture and nutrients are retained.

06.

Watch Out For Weeds

After you have chosen your garden spot, seeds, and soil carefully be sure that your vegetable patch is weed free!

Weeds are invasive and will overtake the sunlight, nutrients, and water from your budding vegetable seeds. In order to protect your garden from weeds, use a plastic covering combined with a mulch of straw and compost to create a vegetable garden weed barrier.

If any weeds begin to pop up, make sure to immediately remove and use a vegetable garden weed killer to prevent spreading. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: A quick way to spot kill weeds, is by pouring a salt mixture over them. Use one cup of salt per two cups of hot water.

07.

Have Convenient Water Access

Now that you have chosen and planted a careful mix of small, disease resistant seedlings, you need to consider how often to water a vegetable garden.

Be sure that you have convenient water access to keep your vegetables properly saturated throughout their growing period. Whether this is an outside hose or close to a door where you can easily carry a watering can, having water access is essential for your vegetable garden. 

08.

Protect Against Fungal Disease

Once your seeds are planted and begin to germinate, it is important to protect them from any potential fungal diseases.

One way to prevent fungal diseases is to water your plants directly on the soil and not on the leaves. If you are using a sprinkler, be sure to water in the morning so that the leaves will dry by the time temperatures begin to cool.

If leaves are left wet, this will cause an overly damp environment that can lead to fungal diseases. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: You can prevent fungus in your soil by rotating your plant placement each season. - Plant your vegetable in a new spot each year. 

Download the Flora App for detailed guides on how to care for your veggies!