The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

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Picking lettuce from gardenThere are many different types of gardening that draw people in but one of the most common, aside from herb gardening, is vegetable gardening. Vegetable gardening is one of the more popular types of gardening particularly because the fruits of labor can be consumed after their growth. In fact, many individuals who vegetable garden on a large scale, do so in order to save money as well as ensure that their vegetable products remain pesticide free. Certainly as a beginning vegetable gardener it is unlikely that you will be producing enough vegetable stock to supply your family without depending upon the grocery store; however, you will be able to cut down on the grocery bill as well as the amount of pesticides that your family consumes on an annual basis. Whether you choose to grow your vegetable garden for fun, to cut costs or to try to eliminate the consumption of pesticides and other chemicals by your family, vegetable gardening is a fun and relatively easy way to begin gardening.

The Benefits of Vegetable Gardening

As mentioned above there are a great many benefits to growing a vegetable garden but one of the biggest for the novice gardener is that growing vegetables is not only much easier than growing particular flowers but it also carried a great number of health benefits. When talking about the health benefits of vegetable gardening we are not just addressing the fact that vegetable gardening allows you to grow pesticide free vegetables, but we are also talking about the other benefits that come from the growing process. Research has shown that there are a great number of other advantages to growing your own vegetables and these include: saving money, taking on a hobby, the benefits of gardening on your mental health, the beauty of having a vegetable garden to look at daily, the exercise involved with the gardening process and the consumption of fresh chemical-free produce. Some of these benefits may sound a little strange, particularly the benefits of gardening on your mental health; however, being able to utilize gardening as a hobby has been shown to decrease stress and the pride of having a growing garden to show off is enough to boost anyone’s spirits!

How to Start Vegetable Gardening

Starting a vegetable garden is much like most other types of gardening in that before you endeavor to grow anything you must first address the soil that you will be growing your vegetables in. In order for soil to produce any type of vegetable it must be fertile and easy to work with so that you can plant your vegetables without too much trouble. When soil is too sandy or infertile planting can be extremely difficult and despite the amount of work that goes in to the planting process, the chances of getting anything back in return for your labor are slim to none.

Preparing Your Soil

In order to grow vegetables you will need to prepare a plot of land that is flat and fertile. Since vegetables require sunlight to thrive this plot of land also needs to be in sunlight. After determining where you want to plant your garden you will need to begin to prepare your soil. Very seldom is soil naturally fertile enough to grow a lush garden, this means that you are going to have to test your soil to see which nutrients it is lacking and which nutrients it already contains. In order for anything to grow in your vegetable garden your soil must contain all necessary nutrients in a well balanced formula so testing your soil will allow you to find out what types of nutrients you will need to add to your soil to make it conducive to vegetable growth. In order to test your soil you will need to take soil samples from the plot of land that you have chosen to grow your vegetable garden in. Ideally all of the soil within this plot of land is similar soil so you will take a clean container and fill it with between one to two cups of soil samples taken from various areas of your growing area. Soil samples should be taken when soil is dry; however, if you find that your soil samples are a little damp you can set them out and allow them to air dry prior to delivering your sample to the local laboratory that will be testing it. There are a few different options when it comes to getting your soil sample tested, as a novice you want to avoid testing the soil sample yourself with any do it yourself types of kits, instead you will want to consult a professional. Looking online or through a yellow pages will reveal a number of nurseries and privately owned gardening centers that may offer soil testing services, additionally various labs and your local county extension center can perform testing for you as well. Some of these locations will provide testing free of charge and others will charge a small fee.

Getting the Soil Test Results Back

After getting back the results of your soil test you will be able to determine what nutrients if any that your soil is missing. In order to grow healthy vegetables it is important to have a well balanced soil that offers all of the nutrients that your vegetables require so once you find out what your soil is missing you will need to compliment the soil with an additive. Adding a fertilizer that is specialized to your needs is the best way to provide full nutrients to your vegetable garden, depending upon your gardening method of choice you may choose to use store bought fertilizer or natural fertilizer and this decision is completely up to you. As long as your garden is going to be receiving adequate nutrition it really is a personal choice as to how that nutrition is added. Some people believe that utilizing natural fertilizers results in a much healthier vegetable garden but again, the choice is up to you. Applying fertilizer of any kind should always be done gingerly, ensuring to follow the instructions given to you upon purchase and making sure to store all fertilizers in a secure location when you are finished using them in order to protect children and animals from ingestion.

Read our Organic Fertilizer Reviews

After Fertilizing the Soil

After soil has been properly fertilized you will want to determine what vegetables you want to grow, this is important since various types of vegetables require different space allotments to grow. Some vegetables can flourish in close quarters; however, other vegetables require much more space to grow in to healthy plants. Keep in mind when you choose which vegetables you want to grow that some vegetables are easier to grow than others and as a beginner you really do not want to select the harder to grow vegetables for your first time vegetable garden. You should also keep in mind that it is enjoyable to be able to consume the fruits of your labor so generally you will want to choose vegetables that you enjoy eating. If you are at a loss when deciding which vegetables to include in your garden you can always do a little research. There are a great number of books and online resources that can help you to decide which vegetables might be the right vegetables for you to plant in your garden but it is always more helpful to consult a professional as well. A professional at a local garden center should be able to give you more accurate advice on which vegetables are the best option for your new garden. While at your local garden center you can also purchase the seeds for your new garden to be so that you can begin planting!

Planting Your Vegetable Garden

There are two main planting seasons when it comes to vegetable gardening – warm and cool. Warm planting takes place in summer and cool planting takes place in spring or fall – for obvious reasons there is no winter planting for vegetable gardens. Depending upon the vegetables that you have chosen to grow in your vegetable garden you will find that you need to plant your seeds in either or both of these two planting seasons. Most people choose to utilize seeds when planting their vegetable gardens because growing your garden from seeds is a much more rewarding process; however, other people choose to grow their vegetable garden from saplings that can also be purchased at local garden centers. Again, whether you choose to grow your garden from seeds or from saplings is up to you; however, if you are on a limited budget you will likely want to begin your garden from seeds since it is a much less expensive process. Generally seeds will be sewn right in to the ground; however, you will want to read up on each of the vegetables that you have chosen to ensure that each will thrive with this planting method. Keep in mind here that if you do choose to plant your garden from saplings rather than from seeds, you will want to purchase the saplings only once your gardening plot has been prepared to accept the seedlings since they will dry out quickly and will not thrive for long out of the ground.

Growing Your Vegetable Garden

Most first time vegetable gardeners become impatient and want to know when they will begin seeing results from their plantings; however, the answer to this question varies depending upon a variety of factors. Some vegetables will grow considerably faster than others and even then the growth rate depends upon other influences. The nutrients that are available in the soil are a big factor in determining how fast and how well your garden will grow. As plants begin to mature they may leach all of the nutrients from the soil, so it is important to monitor the health of the soil in your garden to ensure that appropriate nutrition is being given to each of your crops. The weather also plays a significant role in determining how fast and how well each plant will grow. Despite general weather patterns, most regions experience abnormalities in weather that can greatly affect your garden, for example late frosts can damage or destroy plants completely and excessive heat can dry them out. There are steps that you can take to protect your garden; however, including covering plants for impending frosts and installing an irrigation system that can keep your plants well watered to prevent drying from excessive heat.

What to do if Nothing is Growing

Sometimes newcomers to vegetable gardening – or veterans of vegetable gardening as well – can experience the hopeless feeling of a barren garden or crop. There are a great many reasons why certain plants may not be growing or thriving in your garden and it is important for you to try to establish why this is so that you can grow other crops either now or in the future.

Check Your Seeds

One of the most common reasons that nothing grows from a planting by novice vegetable gardeners is improper storage of seeds. In order for seeds to produce healthy vegetable gardens they must be stored properly so that they can remain healthy and are not damaged. Seeds can become damaged by heat or moisture or even direct sunlight. Planting damaged seeds or seeds that have been stored improperly will seldom result in the growth of anything and it is important to be able to rule this out as a cause of poor growth results. After planting you should generally have some seeds left, if you are questioning whether your seeds were damaged prior to planting, take the remaining seeds in to a gardening center or a nursery and ask a professional if they can see anything wrong with the seeds. If you have much smaller seeds it may be extremely difficult to determine whether anything is wrong with the seeds at all and you may want to rule out other limiting factors in growth before examining the seeds health.

Check Your Soil Nutrient Levels

Soil health is another big contributing factor to healthy vegetable gardens. Even though you may have tested your soil previously there are a number of things that can take place that affect the nutrient availability in your soil that can alter the growth opportunity for your garden. If you find that nothing is growing at all, try taking a second soil sample to be tested to determine whether there is still a lack of proper nutrients in the soil. Just like any living, growing thing, plants cannot grow without nutrients. It is possible that the overall environment of your soil has changed due to some contributing factor or it could also be that the test results from your initial soil sample were incorrect. Testing soil for a second time may reveal that your soil is still in need of an important nutrient and this can be remedied by fertilizing the ground with an appropriate fertilizer to balance out nutrients once again.

Check Your Soil Moisture Levels

Just as nutrient levels are important to growing a healthy vegetable garden, so too are moisture levels. All plants require an adequate supply of moisture in order to thrive and if your soil is too dry there is no way that your plants are ever going to be able to grow in to a healthy garden. Moisture levels can be dry upon planting if you do not check them prior to planting your seeds, or they can become dry as a result of other factors such as an unusual increase in heat or neglecting to offer an adequate water supply to the soil.

Check Sunlight Levels

Sunlight levels are another important factor in growing a healthy garden of any sort. Certainly, different crops require different levels of sunlight exposure; however, with no sunshine at all, your garden is not going to thrive. If you find that the area you have chosen to plant your vegetable garden in does not receive enough sunlight you are going to have to either alter elements of the plot to ensure better sun exposure or choose another plot and begin the planting process again.

Check Weather Patterns

If you have yet to come up with a reason as to why your vegetable garden has not grown, take a look at weather patterns to find out if there has been an unexpected frost or whether it has simply been too hot for your chosen crops. If weather patterns are to blame for ruining your vegetable garden you will want to try planting again but this time remain more vigilant about monitoring weather patterns that can affect the overall health of your garden.

Vegetable Gardening is a Great Choice for Everyone!

Whether you are a retiree looking for a pastime, a child looking for a new way to learn or a housewife looking to better the overall health of the foods that her family eats, vegetable gardening is a pastime that everyone can enjoy. Not only does vegetable gardening offer a true learning experience, but it also offers a number of other benefits as well! The simple joys of watching something grow from a tiny seed to a full blooming plant that offers nutritious food that can be eaten is an experience that everyone should have at some point during their lives. Not only should vegetable gardening be enjoyed for the educational experience; however, but it should also be enjoyed for the opportunity to spend time out in the sunshine, the chance to eat pesticide free foods, the beauty of growing the garden itself, the money saved through providing for your own family, the sense of well being and accomplishment that comes from growing food from scratch and the stress relieving properties of being able to walk through a freshly grown garden that is filled with the aromas of healthy and ripening food. It is said that if all the citizens of the United States were to eat one locally grown meal a week that oil consumption of the country would reduce by some 1.1 million barrels of oil every week…if that’s not another great reason to begin gardening, what is?

There Are Various Vegetables that Can Be Grown in All Types of Gardens

Updated on February 28, 2012

There are many different vegetables that can be grown in the average garden but it is important to know which vegetables grow best in specific conditions. Some of the vegetables that are most commonly grown include: leafy vegetables, root vegetables and fruiting vegetables.

Choosing the Right Vegetable For Your Garden

There are a few things to consider when deciding which types of vegetables you want to grow in your garden. Many people begin by deciding which vegetables they want to grow based upon which vegetables they like best. This is a perfectly normal approach to narrowing down the vegetable options there are to choose from, but it is also important to understand the growing needs of individual vegetables. Choosing vegetables based upon likes only is impractical simply because planting something you like the taste of that is not going to grow and flourish in your land is a waste of time and energy.

Leafy Vegetables

There are many varieties of leafy vegetables to choose from, these include endive, lettuce, cauliflower, celery, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, radicchio and collard greens.


Endives grow to between three and nine inches tall and between six and twelve inches wide. These leafy greens prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.


Lettuce can grow between two to twelve inches tall and between two to twelve inches wide. These favored leafy greens prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.


Cauliflower can grow between eight to thirty inches tall and between eight to thirty inches wide. These tasty vegetables prefer to grow in the complete or partial sunlight.


Celery can grow between eighteen to twenty four inches tall and between twelve to eighteen inches wide. These crunchy greens prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.


Spinach can grow between three to fifteen inches tall and between three to fifteen inches wide. These healthy greens prefer to grow in the complete or partial sunlight.


Kale can grow between twelve and twenty four inches tall and between twelve and thirty six inches wide. These lesser grown greens prefer to grow in the complete or partial sunlight.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts grow between two and three feet tall and between one and two feet wide. These unique looking plants prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.


Raddichio grows between four and twelve inches tall and between six and eighteen inches wide. These purple leafy vegetables prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.

Collard Greens

Collard greens grow between twenty four to thirty six inches tall and between eighteen and thirty six inches wide. These popular southern greens prefer to grow in complete or partial sunlight.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are another popular vegetable for growing in the back garden. Some of the more favored root vegetables include: potatoes, carrots, radishes, rutabagas, parsnips, sweet potatoes and beetroot.


Potatoes grow between one to two feet tall and between one to two feet wide. These commonly grown root vegetables prefer to grow only in direct sunlight.


Carrots grow between six and fifteen inches tall and between six and fifteen inches wide. Carrots prefer to grow in direct or partial sunlight.


Radishes grow between two and six inches tall and between two and six inches wide. These brightly colored root vegetables require partial or complete sunlight to grow.


Rutabagas grow between twelve and eighteen inches tall and between eight and twelve inches wide. These hybrid vegetables – a cross between a cabbage and a turnip prefer to grow only in complete sunlight.


Parsnips grow between six and eighteen inches tall and between six to twelve inches wide. These less commonly known root vegetables require direct sun or partial sunlight to grow.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes grow between twelve and thirty inches tall and between twelve and forty eight inches wide. These newly popular root vegetables require complete sunlight to grow.


Beetroot or beets are they are more commonly known, grow to between four and twelve inches tall and between two and eight inches wide. These iron packed root vegetables require complete or partial sunlight to grow.

Fruiting Vegetables

Fruiting vegetables are vegetables that grow as the fruits of the plants on which they grow. There are quite a few popular fruiting vegetables that are commonly grown including: tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, peas, sweet corn, watermelon, peppers and cucumber.


Tomatoes are by far one of the most popularly grown vegetables. These fruiting vegetables grow between one to ten feet tall and between one to four feet wide. These bright red fruits require complete sunlight to grow.


Eggplant grows to around one to three feet tall and between one to two feet wide. These bright purple flowered vegetables require complete sunlight in order to grow.


Pumpkins grow between one and two feet tall and between ten to twenty feet wide. These giant vegetables require full sunlight in order to grow successfully.


Peas are another particularly popular fruiting vegetable. Peas grow between one and seven feet tall and between six and twelve inches wide. These favorite vegetables require complete or partial sunlight to grow successfully.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn or corn is not just a commercially farmed vegetable, these veggies can be grown at home. Corn grows to between four and eight feet tall and between one and three feet wide. Corn requires direct sunlight in order to grow.


Watermelon can grow to between one and three feet tall and between five and twenty feet wide! These tasty fruiting vegetables do require complete sunlight in order to grow.


3 peppersBell peppers are a great vegetable to grow in the garden. These colorful vegetables grow between six and thirty six inches tall and between eighteen and twenty four inches wide. These vegetables also require complete sunlight in order to grow.


Cucumbers are an easy to grow vegetable making them a favorite among new vegetable gardeners. These fruiting vegetables grow between one and six feet tall and between one and two feet wide. Cucumbers require direct sunlight in order to grow.

Choosing More Colorful Vegetables for your Garden

Updated on March 5, 2012

While many people choose to plant vegetables that suit their cooking needs, others have no real preference for particular vegetables and instead choose to grow more colorful vegetables. Growing colorful vegetables is a great way to brighten up a garden for those who suffer allergies to heavily pollinated flowers. In addition to providing a nice splash of color, these edible fruits of the earth will also provide freshly grown food for the household. Some of the most popular colorful vegetables include: broccoli raab, chard, hot peppers, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, lima beans, kohlrabi, melon, radish and Malabar spinach.

Broccoli Raab

While broccoli raab is another green vegetable to add to the garden, it has a much brighter color to it than traditional broccoli and has a more unique flavor. This light green vegetable grows to between ten to twenty inches tall and between ten to twenty inches wide. Broccoli raab prefers to grow in complete or partial sunlight.


Chard is something of a different vegetable in terms of both taste and appearance. With newer types of chard being created with more rainbow appearances to them, these tasty greens come in a variety of bright colorful varieties to give a splash of color to any garden! Chard grows to between ten to thirty inches tall and between ten to thirty inches wide. Chard prefers to grow in complete or partial sunlight.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers are a fun and colorful vegetable to add to any garden even if you aren’t a fan of spicy foods. These brightly colored spicy peppers can be added to dishes with moderation or they can be sold directly at farmers markets! One of the biggest appeals of these vegetables is that they can have a variety of different colors on a single plant. Hot peppers can grow from six to forty eight inches tall and from eighteen to thirty six inches wide. These spicy plants require complete sunlight to grow.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke is not a well known vegetable and as such it is rarely considered for vegetable gardens; however, these tuber-like vegetables do add a nice splash of color. The yellow daisy like flowers that bloom above ground add a colorful stripe to any vegetable garden, while the edible tubers grow under the ground. Jerusalem artichokes can grow between three to eight feet tall and between two to four feet wide. These unusual flowering vegetables require full sunlight in order to grow.


Leeks are not so much different in color as they are different in appearance since the bright white portion of leeks grows under the ground. The unique leafy portions at the top of leeks are what can be seen above the top of the soil and they certainly add a unique texture to the average vegetable garden! Leeks can grow between eight to twenty four inches tall and between one to two inches wide. The leek does require complete sunlight in order to grow.

Lima Beans

Lima beans are another green vegetable that add more in terms of texture to your vegetable garden. Lima beans grow in pods much like other beans; these bright green pods add more in terms of adding height and unique looking vegetables than they do in terms of color. Lima beans can grow between twenty four and thirty six inches tall if they are bush lima beans or between eight and twelve feet tall if they are pole lima beans. The average width of a lima bean is between 18 to 30 inches wide. These tasty vegetables require full sunlight in order to bloom.


Kohlrabi somewhat resembles cabbage in terms of the center of the vegetable but it has offshoots that grow leaves making it look like a satellite. The lighter green almost whitish color of the center of this vegetable really helps it to stand out in the darker greenery of most vegetable gardens. Kohlrabi requires milder weather to grow and will come out unfavorably if grown in environments that are too cold or too warm. This unusual vegetable grows to between nine and twelve inches tall and to between nine and twelve inches wide. Kohlrabi grows in both full sunlight and in partial sunlight.


Melon or cantaloupe makes a great addition to any vegetable garden not only in terms of color but in terms of providing delicious summer snacks as well. There are a number of different melon varieties that can be grown in your vegetable garden and each different type of melon has its own requirements in terms of heat that determine when it is best to grow them. Most melons will grow to around one foot tall and between three to twenty feet wide. Melons do require complete sunlight in order to grow.


Bundle of radishesRadishes appear green from the topside of the soil but these uniquely colored vegetables have a hot magenta color to them once they are picked. Most of the addition that radishes bring to a vegetable garden is in terms of filling out bare spots with lush greenery rather than adding a splash of color. Radishes are well known for being very fast growers and for being extremely easy to grow. The average radish will grow to between two and six inches tall and between two and six inches wide. These easy to grow vegetables require complete or partial sunlight in order to grow.

Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach is a much more colorful form of spinach with dark red stalks underneath the lush green leaves. As a vining plant, Malabar spinach can fill out spaces in the garden while its heart shaped leaves add a unique texture and a lighter green than most other green leafy vegetables in the garden. One of the most appealing factors to Malabar spinach is that it is able to withstand the blazing heat of summer while other greens tend to wilt once the mercury rises. This variety of spinach can grow between five and eight feet tall and to a width of two to six feet wide. Malabar spinach requires complete sunlight in order to grow.

Plant a Vegetable Garden in Limited Space

Small plant and hand over white backgroundMany people feel that they do not have enough room to plant a vegetable garden. This is simply not true. Small space vegetable gardens can produce a harvest large enough to provide fresh tasting and healthy vegetables to your family. In fact, the small gardens are often easier to maintain and the healthier plants produce more.

Vegetables can be grown in containers on porches and patios if there is no room to put a garden in the back yard. Plant a salad garden in a hanging basket or decorate your entertainment areas with pots of green peppers.

It’s important to remember that if you are planting a large number of containers with vegetables, you have to have a good support structure. Some containers, like those made of stone or cement can be quite heavy. When you consider that they will absorb moisture and be filled with a planting medium that will be well watered, the weight increases significantly. Make sure that the weight of a water drenched container garden is not too heavy for the location, and then plant your favorite vegetables so that you can enjoy fresh produce from right outside your back entry way.

Container gardens are good options for renters who are unable to get permission from the land lord to dig a proper garden. As long as they don’t interfere with pathways and are well planned so that they don’t create a safety hazard, most owners will allow tenants to set out pots of plants.

Take advantage of the extra gardening space that walls, fences, over hangs and out buildings provide. Well placed sturdy shelves can hold containers used for growing vegetables. The use of trellises and slings can expand the choices of vegetables that you can grow, giving added support to the heftier produce.

An alternative to the container garden is a raised bed garden. These small space gardens can be created in out of the way places in the area. It’s surprising what can be grown in a tiny area. They are easy to maintain because they can be planted and maintained from either side as long as there is an ample pathway around the garden space.


A lot of vegetable growing space can be added by using portable raised garden beds. These are similar to container gardens, but are larger than the containers and pots on the market for plants. A portable bed that is gaining in popularity is the EarthBox.

An EarthBox and products that are similar to it have reservoirs at the bottom and a watering tube. Container gardens tend to dry out more quickly than vegetable gardens that are planted directly into the soil, so the self watering features of the boxes will cut down on gardening tasks that have to be done on a regular schedule to keep the plants healthy. Of course, as the plants grow larger they will use more water, so it’s important to check it to make sure additional water is added when necessary.

You can add wheels to the EarthBox to make it even easier to move. This is a great help if you need to move the portable garden to protect it from the weather. Imagine a vegetable garden with the reduced risk of high wind, hail or extended high temperatures or drought conditions.

Another portable garden is called Woolly Pockets. They are available in versions for inside gardens as well as outside and for the environmentally conscious gardener, they are constructed of recycled materials.

The portable gardens can be placed on platforms or tables. You can even add legs to them. This makes it easy for even the vegetable gardener who would otherwise have to give up the experience of growing their own produce because of physical limitations a chance to show off the green thumb.

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Share Your Gardening Experience

Have you tried planting your own vegetable garden? Were any of our tips useful? Please share your experience with our community members below. Any feedback you have on our article is welcome as well!

About The Author:

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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an environmentally conscious drifter
November 15, 2012 11:42 am

I was able to find the details that I was searching for. I must thank you

for the initiatives you have made in writing this article. I am expecting

the similar best efforts from you in the future as well.

Kathy Faust
September 3, 2012 12:00 pm

It sometimes feels as though gardening is more trouble than it’s worth. If it could only be as simple as tilling the land, planting, and watering and feeding the vegetables it would be wonderful. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. We’ve had many problems with our gardening efforts the past couple years because the summers have just been so hot. This year we didn’t try to grow anything and the weather was cooler than normal – go figure.

As someone who loves to eat fruits and vegetables, I would love to have a successful garden. Fresh vegetables make it so much easier to eat healthy, but they can be so expensive at the store. Another reason I’d like to become successful with my garden is that it pays to live off the grid. The more we can do for ourselves, the better.

I may try my hand at gardening again next year. We have wonderful soil here that’s a rich black, but it will all boil down to the temperatures. I’m hoping for a success, but I won’t stop shopping at the farmer’s market just in case things don’t work out. Who knows. Maybe the farmers will be willing to share a few tips.

September 2, 2012 7:53 pm

I have to admit that at first glance, your article looks very involved and complicated. However, I have always been curious about growing my own food. I like the idea of going outside and actually getting my dinner. I wonder if it would actually allow me to save money in the long run or if it would be more expensive because of all of the trappings and things that you have to get to start a garden.

One thing that I was noticing is that they have a lot of gardening supplies at my local dollar store. I wonder if I could get almost everything there. If I could, I bet I could probably start my garden for less than $50 and I can spend $50 in one grocery trip easy. I also notice seeds at the dollar store too!

Unfortunately, I also wonder how much time it would take for my food to grow. I might spend a year or a good few months waiting for some foods to be ready to eat, but I think if I only spend $50 to $100 getting it together, saving money next year is still worth it.

August 31, 2012 5:53 pm

What a neat article! I have been wanting a vegetable garden for a little while now, and this article made it seem far more accessible to me than I realized. Is it possible for even me to grow a green thumb? I would like to try. This article is a great guide covering everything from sunlight to soil that will be important in starting a garden, and I plan to reference it pretty frequently while I give it a whirl. Not to mention the cool part at the end about how it saves the earth’s resources, which makes it even more fun.

One thing that will help a lot is the veggies list at the bottom. I thought I knew enough about vegetable varieties, but some of them I do not think I had ever even heard of. (Or maybe I just overlooked them at the grocery store because I did not know what to do with them.) Part of my vegetable garden is going to be for growing some of these interesting vegetables so that I can expand my and my family’s horizons. Parsnips? Endive? Rutabaga? Count me in!

Kathy Faust
August 30, 2012 6:22 pm

There are so many reasons to turn to growing vegetables in your own backyard. First of all, growing your own source of food allows you to rely less on grocery stores. As the economy gets worse, those that know how to grow their own food will be rewarded with having food on their table each evening. Second, gardening is a great form of exercise. Whether you’re planting or harvesting, you’re burning calories. Another benefit of growing vegetables at home is the ability to know how the vegetables were grown. You don’t have to worry about pesticides. Lastly, growing vegetables at home is very relaxing and can actually help lower your blood pressure.

While I haven’t grown a large garden in years, I do enjoy patio gardening. It allows me to grow a few of my favorite vegetables without having to invest my entire backyard to a garden. I’m also able to take care of my garden without investing my entire day to the project. All I have to do is buy the container grown vegetables, place them in the right spot for sun, and water them. It’s foolproof. Best of all, it’s a great money saver. I recommend everyone with a bit of time and money to grow their own vegetables.

August 26, 2012 4:05 am

Creating your own vegetable garden may not be as simple as it’s hyped up to be, but it is a wonderful way for you and your family to enjoy fresh home-grown vegetables. This article can help make it having your own vegetable garden a reality for you though, if you’re truly serious.

Vegetable gardening is not easy to do, but it is definitely rewarding. Starting a garden might cost quite a bit of money if you do it all at once, but if you do it gradually, you can get started by paying $20 to $50 a month. You can even get seeds at the dollar store these days and in the end, it costs a whole lot more to go to a supermarket and purchase vegetables.

Gardening is also an excellent way to teach children that vegetables come from the ground; some children don’t know these days. In these rough economic times, it quite a bit cheaper to grow your own food and you will also save resources in gasoline.

Another good thing about a vegetable garden is that you have less need to worry. There have been quite a bit of contamination scares within the past few years and if you grow your own vegetables, you can ensure that you and your family are protected. Starting a vegetable garden is a wonderful thing, not only in our economy, but also in your heart.

Kathy Faust
August 9, 2012 9:06 am

One thing I had never considered was that a vegetable garden could also be beautiful by incorporating different colored vegetables into the design. However, this is a wonderful idea. Not only would it add beauty to your garden, but it’s also healthy. The more colorful our meals, the healthier they are. When I’ve grown gardens in the past that were mostly green, but this has inspired me to create a more colorful space in the future.

I love that this article also included tips on growing vegetables in a limited space. Not everyone has the space, or wants to care for, a large garden. This makes patio gardens, window boxes, and small gardens that boarder the house such a wonderful option. It allows you to grow your favorite vegetables, even if you are limited on time and space.

Lastly, I loved the list of vegetables to grow. I think many people, myself included, only focus on the most basic vegetables. Tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, etc are almost always included in a garden, but there is so much more you could grow. When it comes time to start another garden, I plan to have a diverse garden that allows for even more diverse meals.

Kathy Faust
August 7, 2012 10:05 pm

I started my first real vegetable garden this year. I have had a few gardens, but they were not on my own land and sometimes they were shared. This year I had one of my own on my own land. I had no idea it was going to be so much fun. It would have been better if the weather had cooperated, but even so, I did get some food out of my vegetable garden.

One of the funnest parts was growing okra. I have never grown okra before. But that was not the cool part. The cool part was that none of my friends had ever grown okra.

Almost every friend I talked to about gardening had their own way of doing it, which was fine. The problem was that they all told me I HAD to do it their way if I was going to get anything out of my garden. It got to the point where I had to tell a couple of them to back off and go play in their own garden. But when I said I was growing okra, I was greeted with blessed silence. And it as the easiest vegetable to grow. Even with the drought I had a good crop of okra. In fact, I am about to go pickle them shortly and enjoy them this winter.

Kathy Faust
August 3, 2012 4:10 pm

There are a number of reasons to grow your own vegetables. First of all, you’ll save a ton of money. Second, you know exactly how the vegetables were raised and what was or was not used on them. Another great reason to grow vegetables is to help you stop relying so much on the grocery store. Last, but not least, gardening gives you the chance to enjoy produce that might not be available in your local grocery stores.

I think it’s best to start with a few vegetables and add more to your garden each year. This allows you to slowly learn how to take care of more and more vegetables without feeling overwhelmed. For example, you might want to start with squash and melons, which are both extremely easy to grow.

At some point, I really want to start a garden because it would certainly allow me to eat healthier. I would want to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, green beans, zucchini, and a few varieties of hot peppers. First, I need to move to an area where I have enough space to spread out not only for the garden itself, but also for a gardening shed and potting bench.

August 2, 2012 11:44 pm

I have always wanted to try vegetable gardening, I just was unsure how to start. This article helped me to understand that I can start small and work my way up to a larger plot of land. I now have the perfect space in mind.

I also wasn’t sure whether I should start with just any soil or with specific soil, so thank you for letting me know that it was important to start with a flat area of land instead of just any old space. It was also interesting to learn that vegetable gardening is easier than flower gardening. I would’ve thought it was just the opposite. However, in a way, it makes sense.

Flowers are probably delicate, and different plants probably have different temperature, sunlight, water, and soil needs. Because of this, maintaining a garden with plants and flowers probably gets complicated pretty quickly.

I’m not quite sure exactly what vegetables I’m going to start with. I think I might even start out with some vegetable growing kits, just because everything is already planned out for me. I’m hoping it will help me feel confident enough to branch out.

July 25, 2012 12:30 am

I started keeping a vegetable garden about three years ago when I finally moved to a place where I had enough space. I have done some flower gardening in the past but ultimately it did not provide me with enough motivation to truly get into it and spend a great deal of time tending to my plants.

Vegetables, on the other hand, can become food on my table and I really like the idea of putting in effort that you actually get to enjoy with a healthy meal and the knowing that you grew it yourself with the best intentions in mind.

Once I started doing it for a little while and I was able to eat some of the tomatoes I grew, I enjoyed them so much that it gave me a great deal of momentum and motivation to spend more time in and on my vegetable garden. Before I knew it, when I came home from work instead of sitting on the couch to relax, I would throw on my dirty jeans and go dig in the dirt to make sure everything was just right for my garden to grow.

Kathy Faust
July 23, 2012 10:04 am

The hardest part of vegetable gardening for me is picking which vegetables to grow. I get all excited and I want to grow a colorful and abundant garden, but you just can’t plant seeds because they appeal to you. You have to make sure they can grow in your area. And since there is quite a bit of sand in my area, that can be kind of difficult.

Corn is a popular crop where I am from and my son and I both enjoy sweet corn, but it is not as easy to grow as you might think. In fact, I don’t even understand the whole process and I have lived in this area for most of my life.

I tried to stagger my corn so that one row might come up before another. That way I am not overwhelmed with corn, but have enough to always have some. I also went out and shook the stalks because I had heard that sometimes you need to do that for small crops. None of that even mattered in the end because the storms we had and the drought in between killed just about everything in my garden. I was trying to do a test run to see how the garden would do without any chemicals in it. I guess I’ll have to try again next year and hope that Mother Nature cooperates.

July 19, 2012 9:45 pm

Many people have a dream of starting out their own little vegetable garden. However studies have shown that most people with this desire never really seem to get around to it. It is my hope for everyone out there that this great article about ways to get started in this wonderful pastime will inspire you to get going today.

The author covers all of the basic steps to getting started. The first ones include preparing the soil by having it tested. This is important since many areas today are lacking in certain nutrients or minerals. Knowing what is in your soil can help determine if anything needs to be added in order to give your vegetable garden the best chance of success.

You also need to consider the types of vegetables to plant. Some people may want to choose items which grow fast. This way, they can begin to see the results of their efforts quickly and avoid any discouragement. Others would prefer to grow different types. It is really a matter of personality. Either way, this is an excellent article with many practical tips for getting started.

Kathy Faust
July 9, 2012 3:31 pm

I am one of those people who really gets a bad case of cabin fever. I tend to try to force spring into my world. For instance, one year I was digging fence post holes and putting up my privacy fence when the ground was still frozen. My neighbors probably thought I was nuts, but it made me happy and it seemed to feel more like it was spring outside.

In the past few years, I have used my vegetable garden to make spring come on faster in my home. I live in the northern part of Indiana, so some years I feel like I have been trapped in the house all winter with nothing to look forward to but the next gas bill. I have found that starting my garden inside helps me to quell some of the symptoms of my cabin fever. I simply start my seeds in old egg cartons or other items. I put them by the windows and rotate them so that they all get enough light. It gives me something to do and once the sprouts come out, it makes the inside of the house feel like spring is here.

July 7, 2012 12:55 am

Many people all over the world have a secret desire to start a garden. I would venture to say that most of our readers here feel the same way. Yet, many of us put up all kinds of excuses such as we have no time, or we just do not have the ability to grow things. This article really puts all of this into perspective. Vegetable gardening is one of the easiest ways to get started in this exciting hobby.

The author also points out some of the interesting benefits of starting a vegetable garden. By growing your own, you can be sure that you are feeding your family pesticide free vegetables. It is also a real source of pride to say that you grew something yourself and are becoming more self sufficient. There is also the side benefit of spending less money on food.

I also really liked some of the other points that the author makes. Studies have shown that just by having a hobby it can be helpful to the mental health of a person and also helps reduce stress.

Kathy Faust
July 5, 2012 5:56 pm

I had really high hopes for my vegetable garden this year. I have an area of black soil that I planted in, but most of the land around here is sandy. I can even see where some of my black soil is washing away. I also noticed that a lot of times when I water my garden, the water just sits on top of the soil.

I am trying to use only all natural methods to develop my garden, so I am working on a plan for next year. As for this year, so far my corn and beans are doing good, but there is a lot of empty area everywhere else in the garden. I know part of this is due to the lack of rain, but part of my plan for next year takes this into account. I have a compost pile I will be adding to the soil in the fall. I also plan to till in some mulch and ashes to try and build up the land’s ability to absorb water.

Even after all the work and some of the disappointments, my vegetable garden was still worth every minute and dime I spent on it. The season is not over yet but I am already planning for next year. Hopefully this winter gives us enough humidity to help the ground do better next year. I will be giving it another try either way.

June 29, 2012 11:08 pm

According to the author, many people harbor a secret desire to grow a garden. I think this is certainly true, especially since I have often thought about this myself. I suppose that most of us just have never made the time to really get around to it. This is a great article with many practical tips and advice for planting and growing your own vegetables.

The first thing to consider when planting is which vegetables and which season. You can choose to plant in either the summer or the spring/fall. For obvious reasons, many times the vegetables you have decided to plant will dictate which time they are planted. It is also important to do some research about each different type of vegetable you are considering, since they will each have their own requirements. Next, you should decide whether to use seeds or saplings. Seeds are cheaper and probably easier. It is also more rewarding to see something grow from almost nothing!

You should also be patient. Many times different vegetables will grow at vastly different rates.

Kathy Faust
June 23, 2012 1:11 am

I really enjoy my vegetable garden. I think that there are a lot of aspects about a vegetable garden that people tend to overlook. They are not just great for taking care of your family. You also get exercise while you are working in them, but you are not stressing yourself out while you do it. You can go at your own pace and enjoy your time in the garden. I even enjoy it when I weed the garden because I do not really have to think about what I am doing. I just do it and I can get lost in my thoughts while I clean up my garden.

Some of the vegetables are really easy to grow too. They do not require very much effort or maintenance and they produce great results. For instance, green beans are really easy to grow. I prefer the bush variety for several reasons. For one, I like the blue lake beans. They do not have strings and they are very tasty. They are also almost maintenance free and can grow almost anywhere. Mine are taking off like mad and we have not had the rain that we usually do. I also did not water the garden as much as I should. I can’t wait to pick them the first time. Don’t forget to pick yours more than once!

Kathy Faust
June 12, 2012 7:49 pm

I want one of those gardens that you can enjoy just by going out and looking at it. But that doesn’t just happen all that easily. I am finding that out the hard way. I do not mean that I mind doing things like going out and weeding the garden or watering it. I mean that sometimes you need to know what you want and how to grow it before you even think about planting a seed.

I got all excited about planting a garden. Then I went to the store to get seeds. There was this rack that had all manner of seeds. They didn’t just have a lot of options as far as vegetables go either. They had options for your options. You can’t just go grab a bag of corn seed. First you have to pick out what kind of corn you want. Sweet corn? Right. What kind of sweet corn because here in Indiana there are many varieties to choose from. And then you have to figure out if it is even going to grow where you want it to. That is why I am glad I found this page. I can just scroll through and see if it is feasible to plant what I want instead of standing in the store with a dumfounded look.

Kathy Faust
June 10, 2012 1:14 am

I planted a rather large garden this year. I’m not sure if it is actually going to yield much since we haven’t had much rain at all this year, but no one can say I didn’t try. And I do water it, but I have some problems with my well so I can’t water it near as much as I would like to. I give it my best, but allow nature to take its course. That aspect has been a bit disappointing, but there isn’t much I can do about it this year.

The thing is, I can’t even get upset about my garden. I was just thinking today that even if the only things to produce food are my bean plants, then I will still have come out ahead and I still have fall to look forward to. In fact, I can even work on my garden in the winter in an offbeat sort of way.

In the fall I will put down hay or straw to help with the drainage in my garden because part of the problem is the lack of rain, but the other part is that when it does rain, it drains quickly. I need to kind of thicken it up a bit. And during the winter I can plan my crop for the next year and start some of my seeds inside. This article will be helpful because it will remind me of some of the things I need to do to make my garden as productive as it can be.

Kathy Faust
June 4, 2012 2:30 pm

I started a vegetable garden this year and I was pretty excited about it. A friend of mine wanted to help and thought we were going to put fertilizer all over it. I refused because I want to go all organic. I’ve started a compost bin, but may not be able to use it until next year. I did let him add some lime to the soil, but now I even regret doing that.

I am looking for a way to test my soil at home. I don’t want to pay a lab every year and I want to use all natural methods to make my land more fertile. The problem is that the people around here all use chemicals in their gardens and think I am nuts to avoid using any kind of chemical fertilizer. So, my only source for information on such things is found on sites like these.

So, here’s my plan: I want to see what happens this year and adjust what I need to next year. I may not get a huge yield of my garden this year, but I think that the way the plants respond to what I do will tell me a lot about what I need to do next year. I am assuming that even if I can’t test my soil, the plants will give me a lot of information on their own. Now it’s just a matter of keeping the garden watered and hoping that we can get some regular rain patterns going. As of right now, I just about have to water my garden twice a day to keep up with the heat and lack of rain.

May 31, 2012 11:39 pm

I imagine that many people have thought about starting their own vegetable gardens. Personally, it has always been on my list of things to do; I just never seem to have the time to actually do it. Now, after reading this article I may finally have enough inspiration to do so.

Certainly, the author was able to very clearly and concisely enumerate some of the key benefits of growing a vegetable garden. Obviously, you will have the chance to grow exactly what you want (although this may be limited by your location and climate) and this can be completely pesticide and chemical free, if desired. The vegis will likely be healthier for you as well. The entire process will also be cheaper. Just imagine not having to buy your vegetables at a supermarket anymore?

This is also an excellent hobby. Studies have shown that having some type of hobby like this is helpful to your overall physical and mental health. It is also relaxing and an excellent way to fight stress. Personally, that has been the best thing for me (stress reduction).

May 14, 2012 11:42 pm

This article is a very detailed explanation about how to start and continue growing vegetables, even if you were not born with a green thumb! This is great because I have never ever grown anything before. Not that I have ever really tried. I guess I always thought that it was not in my jeans. But the more I think about it, the sillier this sounds to me. After all, most of our ancestors were probably farmers at one time or another. Imagine if they heard me belly aching now about how I did not think I could grow anything! They would probably tell me to just clean out my ears and I would already be in the potato business. It would also make me listen better, I imagine!

The first step in getting started, according to the author is to determine a good spot and then begin preparing your soil. The first thing to remember is that your vegetable garden will require a lot of sunlight, so be sure that your area is in a good spot for this. The next thing is to test the soil. This is so that you can see which nutrients your soil contains naturally and which are lacking. This will also help you determine which types of vegetables might be best to grow in your area.

You need to take some soil samples. It is best to do this when the soil is dry. Take about 2 cups of soil from several different areas in your plot. Since you are a novice, the author advises against getting any kind of do it yourself soil testing kit. Instead, take it to a professional or a laboratory which does this kind of thing. Personally, there is no way I would feel confident enough to even consider testing the soil myself. If you cannot find a lab which does this service, then there may be a number of nurseries or garden centers which offer this service. It should not be very expensive or time consuming, either. You may even be able to find a place which does this for free as a community service. Maybe they just like vegetables and want to promote people growing their own?

Once you get your soil sample back there should be a report which tells you which nutrients you have and which ones are missing. At this point, the author loses me a bit. Remember that I am a newbie with no green thumbs at all. However, does all soil need a specific mix of nutrients, or will this vary according to the local area? To me, it seems like this should vary. I guess that ultimately you will be trusting in the report which was received. This is another reason why you should find someone who really knows what they are doing to test your soil.

From here, you need to decide which type of fertilizer to use. This is a personal decision.

May 13, 2012 11:45 pm

I think that many people have wanted to start a garden at one time or another. This is a recurring, but passing and seemingly ephemeral wish that I have every few months. I guess I starting to myself that I have never really grown anything before and what makes me think that I would be able to now. Of course, the facts are that I never really even tried to grow anything! So, maybe this article will give me the impetus that I need to start turning my desires into reality.

After reading this article I think that vegetable gardening may be a great place to start. I do not think that I would like herb gardening too much, but something that I could actually see and recognize and then eventually eat would be really cool. It would make me feel like I actually accomplished something and could finally cross a lifelong desire off my list.

The author does also point out that since you can actually eat what you grow, it may even cut down on your grocery expense. However, at least in the beginning, this would not really be enough savings to make much of difference. But I do not think that many people would actually start this with the intention of being self sufficient for your vegetable use. Still it is an interesting idea and I imagine that if you became more comfortable with this type of gardening, you may eventually get to the point where you would be able to provide for all your needs. There may even be a surplus which could be given away or sold to others.

After reading the rest of the article I have also come to the conclusion that it will take some work to grow good vegetables. So I do not think that this is a pastime for lazy people or those who expect they can just buy a few seeds, throw them in the ground and then just let nature take its course. In fact that is probably a recipe for disaster.

The first steps to take involve getting everything ready. You need to prepare a place to keep your vegetable garden. Really all you need is an area of soil which will not be disturbed. That means you do not want kids running through the area, or throwing balls into the garden. You may even want to somehow create a barrier around this area and make sure that everyone knows it is off limits. What I will do is to take some 2 x 4 lumber boards and built like a little makeshift fence around my garden area and then put some rebar into this wood and use chicken wire or another type of semi permanent fencing. Of course, I would also make a door so that I could get in and out. I just want to make sure that no four legged pests will have easy access. This is how I would start to build my vegetable garden.

May 8, 2012 9:59 am

I grew up in an apartment complex where two apartments were joined together and we had some outdoor space. While that space was small, my mother was able to grow amazing things in that tiny space. We had an abundance of tomatoes. We would usually get 30 tomatoes from one plant. We also grew bell peppers and jalapenos, but one of my favorites was herbs. Chives were extremely easy to grow in small boxes. After moving away from my small hometown, I’ve found that growing vegetables in much more difficult. I think a lot of it boils down to the heat and my inability to find enough time to care for the plants. Our summers get scorchingly hot and it basically cooks the tomato and strawberry plants I try to care for on my back porch. I have the room to put in a large garden, but know I don’t have the time to care for it properly. I think once I’m moved into a more permanent location, I will experiment with raised bed gardening. I not only enjoy the look of raised beds, but they require much less work than the traditional garden.