Simple Steps To Start Your First Vegetable Garden

Steps to Start a Vegetable Garden. Starting a Vegetable Garden.

Starting a vegetable garden in your yard is an excellent idea. Not only will you have a rewarding hobby, but there are also a few health benefits associated with gardening and spending time outside.

ūü§öBefore we dive in, I want to give you a FREE guide that will help you grow your best garden yet! Grab your free copy of the From Seed to Supper guide here and grow a bountiful garden this year!

In addition, eating organic produce offers various advantageous health benefits as well.  Once you start growing, you'll find that making the switch to growing organic isn't a huge jump.

‚ÄčYou will save yourself a bit of money once you're growing your own vegetables and you start passing up the store-bought ones.¬† Once you've had a home-grown tomato, you'll never want a store bout tomato again.¬†¬†

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If you have enough space in your yard, there's a ton of reasons you should consider starting a vegetable garden. Not only will you benefit from spending time outdoors working in the soil, but you will also be enjoying the benefits of eating organic produce for a fraction of the price of store-bought organic produce.

‚ÄčHowever, not everyone out there has green thumbs and inherent gardening knowledge, so we have created this list of simple steps to help you get started.

Ensure You Have All The Essentials 

Fortunately, you don't need all that much to start a small vegetable garden.

You may need to have your soil tested to determine if it has any lacking nutrients.  Not sure what nutrients your plant needs? Check out this article about feeding your plants. 

Generally, you will need to purchase a few bags of topsoil, fertilizing liquid, and soil additives. In place of soil additives, you can consider using organic materials such as vegetable scraps from vegetables you have used already or compost; these provide an excellent source of soil nutrients for your vegetables to thrive. 

You will also need some sort of irrigation system, such as irrigation misters, to keep your garden thriving.

‚ÄčEven if you are planting certain vegetables in pots, such as cherry tomatoes, you will still need to install an irrigation system. On the other hand, you will also have the option of planting vegetables in boxes or directly into the soil. In addition, you will also need seedlings and essential gardening tools.

Plan And Research

Planning your garden first is crucial to ensuring you are designating space correctly. You will also need to plan which types of vegetables you will be growing and research what each vegetable needs to thrive. Some veggies can grow well in the shade with regular watering, while others require shade and can thrive on rainwater. The best way to understand these crucial aspects is to do a little bit of research beforehand. 

Among the easiest vegetables to grow are salad leaves such as lettuce and spinach, radishes, tomatoes, peas, broad beans, onions, and garlic. However, each of these requires a certain amount of space to thrive, so make sure that you have designated enough space for each type of vegetable you will be growing.

You'll also want to make sure that you're planting at the right time of year.  Some vegetables only grow during the hot summer months while others will thrive in cooler temperatures.

‚ÄčPlanning the type of vegetables, you will be growing is the most important as you should have a selection that you will be using and a selection that can easily thrive within the amount of space you have available.¬†

Choose The Location And The Right Type Of Bed

Most vegetables should be planted in full sunlight while they also require protection from wind.

Poor light conditions may end your garden before it even starts growing. Many vegetable plants require full sun, so at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.  

‚ÄčOnce you have found the perfect location in your yard, you must start preparing the beds. Raised beds are best if you have animals or small children, although your choice of beds will also need to provide suitable drainage.¬†¬†

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Any space in your yard that tends to collect rainwater is not a good choice.  Plants can get waterlogged and essentially drown if the soil remains too moist.  The soil should be well-drained where your vegetable plants are going.

It can be easier to manage your vegetable garden if you separate your vegetable plants from your flower beds.  However, the research is starting to back up the idea that strategically planting flowers in the vegetable garden can be a wonderful idea.

‚ÄčIf you decide to plant vegetables within boxes, you will also have more control over drainage and potential overwatering. It can be easier to plan out how to grow your vegetables in containers.

Select The Perfect Soil

If the soil in your yard is not entirely suitable for growing vegetables, you'll want to add some topsoil while preparing beds and planting seedlings.

‚ÄčNot sure what type of soil you have? This article is a good place to start.

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On the other hand, if your yard soil lacks nutrients, you will need to add these nutrients into the soil before getting started. You may need to add extra nutrients such as boron, copper, iron chloride, manganese, calcium, and a few others.

Calcium is an important nutrient that many vegetable plants need.  Here's how you can add calcium to your garden soil.

‚ÄčVegetable plants will continue to pull nutrients from the soil, so you'll have to find ways to keep adding nutrients back to the soil.¬† This can be done with compost or soil amendments.¬† You can also rely on fertilizers to add nutrients to the soil around your plants.

Start Planting

Once your soil is ready and the beds have been prepped, you can start planting seeds in rows within your beds.  Direct sowing seeds works for some seeds, but many seeds will need to be started indoors.  Learn how to start seeds indoors here.

You will need to make use of your gardening tools to dig holes in your soil deep enough to plant the seedlings. Each hole should be spaced well from the next to ensure each seed has enough room to grow.

Because spacing will differ depending on the specific vegetable you are growing, you must refer to the seedling packets instructions. You'll also want to make sure that you're not putting the seeds too deep into the soil. 

Seeds that are sprouting aren't mature enough to make their own energy yet.  Sprouting seeds rely on the energy packed within the seed to sprout and reach the surface.  If you plant seeds too deep, the developing plant will run out of energy to grow above the surface.  

‚ÄčProper depth and spacing is crucial when planting anything.

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Once you have spaced your holes and placed the seedlings inside, cover the holes with enough soil and gently pat down the surface. Next, you must water the area thoroughly to get the seedlings wet. Water plants often or make use of your irrigation system. Consistent moisture is needed for proper seedling development.

‚ÄčAs the young seedling starts to grow, you can add fertilizer.¬† The seeds won't need fertilizer until they have developed their first set of leaves.

Maintaining Your Garden

After you have planted your seedlings in their designated spaces, you will need to practice patientce while caring for the seedlings.

Some seedlings will start to sprout in a few days, while others may take longer. The first sight of a thriving seedling can be gratifying, and you must persist with watering and care until the plants are ready for harvest.

With that said, harvesting at the right time is essential for specific plants as you won't want vegetables to fall and rot, as this can encourage rats, mice, and other pests to infiltrate your vegetable garden and destroy it pretty quickly.

‚ÄčRotting vegetables can also become breeding ground for diseases that can make your healthy plants sick.

For this reason, it is also a great idea to consider investing in eco-friendly pest repellents such as natural sprays that won't harm the vegetable produce while keeping pests away.

Using commercial poisons is not the best idea as this could harm your health and hinder plant growth at the same time.  Instead, opt for more natural approaches to controlling pests and diseases.

While natural pesticides are essential to keep your vegetable garden thriving, you will also need to add soil amendments and ensure your watering system works properly. Without enough nutrients and water, your plants won't be able to thrive at all. 

Gardening can be tough.  If you are battling to get your garden growing, you should start by looking at your soil.  Have it tested to make sure that it has plenty of nurients.  Amend it as needed.

Consider the amount of sunlight available where you're trying to grow.  Most vegetable plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow.

Also, ensure your seedlings are spaced correctly.  Plants that are too close together will compete for nutrients, water and sunlight.  When plants compete for these things, their growth is stunted.

‚ÄčSeveral factors determine if plants will grow or not, and evaluating these factors will help you grow your best garden yet.
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‚ÄčIf you haven't yet, grab your FREE copy of the From Seed to Supper guide and learn how to start growing delicious, fresh vegetables and herbs!

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What steps do you take to start your vegetable garden? Let me know below!

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Hey, I'm Shelby!

Founder of Garden. Farm. Thrive.

I'm a multigenerational homesteader, former high school and college agriculture teacher, and your guide for embracing a simpler, more traditional lifestyle. Come along as I teach you how to grow your best garden, raise chickens and other livestock, learn traditional skills and create the homesteading haven of your dreams.

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