Starting a Vegetable Garden? Read This First

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Spring is in the air and daffodils are blooming. Spring is an excellent time to get out in the yard and plant some annuals and perennials. It is also a great time to begin a vegetable garden. Here are a few tips when starting a vegetable garden.


If you do not already have a designated garden space, locate one. Areas best for gardening are spots that receive 6 or more hours of sun. In addition, well-drained locations are best. If plants receive too much water, their roots will rot, and they will not thrive. Keep in mind, that areas of the yard that get 6 or more hours of sun during the winter may not receive the same amount of sun once all leaves on trees fill in during the spring.

Type of Garden

Decide on the type of garden you want to grow. Types of gardens include raised bed gardening, container gardening, in the ground gardening and more. Anything other than growing in the ground will require frequent watering during hot and dry months.

I personally have more success growing plants in the ground or a raised bed that that is on top of the ground. During hot, dry months established plants in the ground tend to survive more than potted plants. Plants in the ground tend to find water in the ground and are not dependant on human labor.

Determine What You Want to Grow

There are many plants that grow easily from seed, making it less expensive than buying starter plants. Many gardeners grow their own starter plants from seed, but starter plants from a nursery can be an easy way to get started. Starter plants are especially good to buy if you have a limited space to grow.

Plants that easily grow from seed are green beans, squashes, okra, cucumbers and more.  Last growing season, I planted several cucumber plants from seed and bought two starter plants. Because the starter plants were weeks ahead of the seeds, we enjoyed cucumbers for well over a month since the plants were in different growing stages.


A successful garden requires dirt with the right acidity and nutrients. Garden dirt that has been used for more than one season will likely be depleted of several nutrients.  In our state, there is an aquicultural lab that will mail kits to test the dirt. The lab recommends nutrients through email to add to the soil depending on the plants that are planned to be grown. The test is $15 and covers all mailing costs. The best thing about the test, it takes all the guesswork out of what the soil may need. Also, be aware that purchased dirt often contains fertilizer and nutrients. If adding your own nutrients, it is best to buy dirt without fertilizer. Too much fertilizer or nutrients can be a recipe for plant death.

It is important to add nutrients to the ground weeks before planting occurs. Composting and adding organic matter to garden locations such as leaves, mulch and pine straw are other ways to add nutrients to a garden throughout the year. In addition, many plants such as cucumbers, tomatoes and squashes often require added nutrients to the ground after they begin making fruit. I personally add a tablespoon mixture of 10-10-10 and Epsom salt around my plants about every two wees.

When starting a vegetable garden, the costs can be expensive. To read ways to keep gardening affordable read this post here.

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