How to start your first vegetable garden and grow your own vegetables

Do you long to eat a salad picked with your own hands from plants growing outside your kitchen door? Would you like to make pesto from basil you nurtured from seed? Does the idea of self-sufficiency turn you on? After reading this article, you will have the ability to build the basic structures for a vegetable garden of your own, choose the type of veggies best suited to your property, understand basic plant care and understand how to deal with potential problems you might face trying to nurture veggies and protect them from insect and animal invaders. In other other words, you will be able to produce great produce.


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  • follow the sun
  • enrich the soil
  • make the plants accessible for tending
  • have a reliable water source near by
  • remember that good fences make good gardens

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  • overplant
  • be overly ambitious
  • over-fertilize
  • ignore the plants
  • wait to pick

[publishpress_authors_data]'s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do follow the sun

If you want luscious tomatoes and juicy peppers you will need to give the plants at least eight hours of strong sunlight every day. As exposure to sun decreases, plants will struggle with production of fruit and vegetables. Before beginning a garden, find the sunniest spot on your property to build it. Without adequate sunlight, your efforts to grow certain types of veggies will be severely hampered.

You will need to be realistic with what type of plants you can grow. In general, tomatoes, pepper, eggplants need the most sun, while root vegetables, and leafy lettuce and spinach can do with less than ideal situations. If you are planning a garden during the winter months, pay attention to the position of any large trees growing to the south of the spot you choose. The space will get much less light when those trees leaf out in April and May.

Do enrich the soil

Plants get most of their nutrients from the soil they grow in. Lighter soils usually produce higher crop yields. Soil that allows water to drain is more beneficial to roots than heavy clay soils. Familiarize yourself with words like compost, tilth, nematodes, organic matter. They will become a big part of your growing experience. Learn about each one and your garden will thrive. You know when things are going right when you dig in the garden soil and you uncover the biggest juiciest worms you’ve ever seen.

Do make the plants accessible for tending

A garden must have paths in order to reach the veggies you are growing. Depending on the size of your plot, paths can be arranged in rows, pinwheels or a combination of both. Think about a formal rose garden or a grid system. Whatever looks and works best for you is good. There are no right or wrong ways to do this. Keep the paths narrow so lost planting space is kept to a minimum. Experiment with raised bed planting, in which the plants are grown in box-type beds, making paths easier. Some people believe that this type of garden system creates the best crop results.

Do have a reliable water source near by

All living things need water. A veggie garden needs to have a ready supply of water to keep plants alive and properly fed. Some gardens will have a water pump to draw from within the garden, though most people will simply need to have enough hose to connect a water spigot on the house out to the garden. Watering options include drip hose, overhead sprinklers and hand watering. Choose a method that works best for the individual varieties of plants in your garden. Don’t make the mistake of thinking rainwater alone will feed your plants. The results of that will be disaster.

Do remember that good fences make good gardens

Perhaps the most frustrating part of veggie gardening can be having to stay one step ahead of the local fauna to insure you’re the one eating the fruits of your labors. There might not be anything more disheartening than waking up on the morning you planned to harvest your thirty foot row of brussel sprouts, only to find that the family of groundhogs living under the shed had them for a late night snack while you were sleeping. Fences need to keep out sneaky rabbits and other walking animals. If you have deer, the fence needs to be at least six feet tall to keep them out as well. Materials can be as complicated as solid chain link or simply heavy duty plastic netting. Just be sure whatever you choose can withstand the determination of the lurking marauders you are trying to keep out. Remember that while the garden is a hobby for you, it could represent a life-saving meal to a hungry family of animals.

[publishpress_authors_data]'s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not overplant

Remember that those cute little seedlings you buy at the garden center will grow into big plants that require a lot of space to grow healthy vegetables. Be sure to follow planting instructions found on the labels that come with each pack of seedlings. Each type of plant has different requirements, so read each one.

Do not be overly ambitious

Nobody was born knowing how to garden. It is a process of trial and error. Plants are somewhat unpredictable so give yourself time to get comfortable with growing vegetables. Don’t make your first garden too big. Gardening requires time and effort on your part to make it successful. Consider your lifestyle and how much free time you’ll have to tend the garden and start with a manageable size that fits you.

Do not over-fertilize

Two is not always better than one, especially when following a manufacturer’s recommended dosage of fertilizer and pesticides. They have done all the science for you to keep your veggie plants healthy. Resist the urge to speed up the growth by going above and beyond their directions.

Do not ignore the plants

Remember that a gardens is a living community. There are good neighbors and bad. Harmful bugs tend to attack the veggie plants in covert ways. As a good gardener, you need to check under leaves and around branches for evidence of foul play. Caught early, infestations can be treated easily. If a bug gets into one plant the rest of the plants will be affected quickly and you could lose your entire crop.

Do not wait to pick

Remember that your main goal of growing vegetables is usually to eat them. Like farmers, you’ll need to learn how to read the weather and time your harvests accordingly. For example, vegetables are made up of mostly water. If you have tomatoes that are ready to pick and you know there will be rain overnight, pick them before the storm or you could wake to fruits split open by the added water they absorbed from rain. Don’t gamble your pickings on hopes they will keep getting bigger. Once ripe, veggies are more attractive to animals, more susceptible to rot and frequently not as tasty. For example, it isn’t always a great idea to try to grow the world’s largest zucchini.


Growing your own vegetables can be a very satisfying and rewarding hobby. Building a garden requires some basic knowledge, none of which take a lot of time to master, and the rewards are many. Vegetable varieties sold in local garden centers are usually the right type for your garden, just make sure you have the right amount of light and space for anything you choose. You can experiment with different types of vegetables that you might not find in your local supermarket or farmstand.Your own veggies will taste better, and each bite will seem a triumph over the forces of nature that challenged your wits and patience. Each vegetable you eat might recall an event or story of its own. It is an accomplishment for busy people to grow a garden. In addition to eating healthier, tending a garden can be a great source of relaxation.

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