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How to Start a Vegetable Garden at Home

Updated on February 11, 2012

Starting a Vegetable Garden

Beginning Stages of Your Vegetable Garden

Gardening of any type is a pursuit where you learn as much by trial-and-error as you will from any literature. But if this is your first vegetable garden, you'll want to know as much as possible before you begin to ensure even mediocre success.

Gardening books, websites, magazines and television shows are all good resources, but take it from someone who found out the hard way--there is no substitute for talking to other gardeners in your area to get ideas for what works and doesn't work.

Don't spend the winter reading and planning your vegetable garden. At least, don't let that be the only thing you do to prepare for spring planting. If you don't know anyone local who gardens, pick the brains of people at your local nurseries and feed stores. Practical advice is an invaluable asset to a vegetable gardener.

Think About Water

There are basic elements necessary for every vegetable garden: soil, sunlight and water. Water is the life blood of your garden.

Don't situate your garden too far away from available water sources. In the spring, it may seem a small matter to carry a few buckets to water your fledgling plants, but as the seasons progress--as does the heat--those plants are going to grow bigger and need greater volumes of water. Plan ahead for how you are going to handle this situation.

Think About Soil

Has the ground where you plan to place the garden been used as a gardening space previously, or are you breaking new ground? Either way the soil will need to be tilled, but if it is a first time garden space, you'll also want to remove as much of the grass that had been there. If not, you'll be fighting grass all growing season in the garden.

Have your soil tested at your local county extension office to learn what soil amendments and fertilizers will be needed. Nutritious compost applied prior to tilling the soil will provide both food for the plants and improve the soil itself. Tilling it in will help to ensure the compost is well-mixed with the soil.

How to Grow an Organic Vegetable Garden

Think About Sunlight

At least eight hours a day of full sunlight is recommended for growing vegetables. Knowing this should help you plan to choose the best area for your garden.

Think also about plant heights when planning your garden. Some plants such as cauliflower benefit from partial shade from a neighboring plant as the heat of summer progresses.

Will you be planting north-to-south or east-to-west? This is another consideration for determining the placement of various vegetables to ensure they will be getting enough direct sun each day.

Ideas for Designing Your Vegetable Garden

Think About Your Vegetables

Whew! You've gotten the basics out of the way. Now comes the fun part of your garden. What vegetables do you want to plant? How many of each plant will be needed for your purposes? Are you going to purchase only organic seeds?

To be practical, assume that some of the seeds you plant may not grow or thrive. Plant more than you need; you can always thin out the plants as they grow if they are crowded.

Follow the instructions on the seed packets for planting depth and space. Water as needed, which in the beginning will be everyday unless Mother Nature sends a shower.

Now you can sit back and enjoy watching the vegetables grow. Don't forget to pull weeds when they are small.

You might find it valuable to keep a gardening diary; this way you can learn from your triumphs and failures. Next year's vegetable garden will be that much easier.

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    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      HoneyBB, there are all sorts of ways you can begin to garden at home, from container gardens, to growing herbs indoors, to raised bed and so much more. Glad the information here helped and hope you are inspired to grow your own.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Bee 

      5 years ago from Illinois

      This is informative and sounds like something even I could do. Thanks for sharing.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Alocsin, I hope too that one day you'll be able to enjoy starting your own vegetable garden. Maybe if you classify it as "therapy" you can find a way to fit it in?

      Thank you for SHARING.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Hopefully I will someday have enough time to take this advice and start my own veggie garden. I think homegrown veggies are fun to eat. Voting this Up and Useful. SHARED.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Nare Anthony, I appreciate you dropping by. Even if you don't have the space for a traditional type of garden, you could plant in a few containers if you have the urge to grow something.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 

      6 years ago

      Oh, this is so interesting and awesome. Although I am so far from gardening, it is still very interesting to me:) Good job. Voted up and awesome!

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Diana Mendes, I wish you great success in your growing efforts. I've not grown herbs yet, but need to add those. Fresh herbs smell and taste so much better than the dried or powdered variety.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thanks for the read and your comment Jainismus. Growing things feels good and eating the food you've grown produces a special feeling of pride.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Brett, I wish you the best of success with your home garden. You might want to begin with container gardening -- and there are some good hubs here to help you with that, too.

      Thanks for SHARING. I'll let you know about Reddit.

    • Diana Mendes profile image

      Diana Mendes 

      6 years ago

      Very informative hub. I am going to grow some herbs & vegetables shortly. Thanks for sharing.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      6 years ago from Pune, India

      Its an informative and useful Hub. Growing vegetables at home is enjoyable and useful thing. Voted up and shared.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Thailand

      Very useful for a beginner! I don't have green fingers, but it is something I would like to try once work is a bit quieter (don't we all say that lol).

      Shared, tweeted and submitted to Reddit (I'm new to Reddit, so don't know how much it helps - but, if it causes a surge, please let me know).

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thelma Alberts, I appreciate your read and your comment. Hope you have a great day.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany

      This is a very useful and informative hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Fay, maybe you could get away with a few decorative containers with tomatoes and peppers. Pepper plants are attractive. Tomato plants are more difficult to disguise, but I know that summer means homegrown tomatoes to me. Best of luck to you!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this informative hub. I want to start a vegetable garden, but I'm afraid I just don't get adequate sun in the backyard. I have a suspicion my neighbors would frown on tomatoes and green pepper in the front yard. What a bunch of snobs! :)

      voted up/useful

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