Beginner Gardening Tips!
Gardening season is just around the corner and so it’s the perfect time to share a few tips about my favorite beginner garden vegetables.
I am so excited for garden season! I’ve started mapping out my garden and planning all the yummy produce I will be growing. My goal every year is to grow enough produce so that I don’t have to buy any throughout the summer. I haven’t quite met this goal yet, but I have faith one year I will find success.
Another goal I work towards each summer is to grow enough produce to preserve for use throughout the winter. If done correctly gardening can be a huge money saver. If you have wanted to start gardening but are unsure where to begin, this is the article for you.
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Choosing the Perfect Garden Spot
If this is your first time planting a garden you will need to prep your garden area. I recommend starting small at first. If you have success with a small garden, then you can slowly increase the size every few years.
When choosing a garden plot pick a spot in your yard that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The more sunlight, the better!
Also, think about the logistics of your garden area. Is it within reach of your garden hose so it can be watered? Is the ground flat? Both of these are important aspects of a successful garden.
Prepping Your Garden Plot
Vegetables grow best in soft, loose soil. Once you have your garden spot picked out spend some time tilling up the soil. We use a garden rototiller for this. Here is a fairly cheap tiller on Amazon with really great reviews.
For best garden results, spread a 2 inch layer of compost or manure over your soil before tilling. This gives the plants extra heat and nutrients.
Once your soil is loose and fertile you are ready for planting!
Where to Buy Seeds
You can buy your garden seeds at any local garden supply store or online. Remember when choosing what to grow, pay attention to your local Hardiness Zone. This will help you determine what to plant and when to plant it.
The Best Beginner Garden Vegetables
And now it’s time for my favorite garden vegetables for beginners! Remember, when deciding what to plant in your garden, choose the vegetables that your family already likes and eats regularly.
Lettuce is one of the easiest garden vegetables! Lettuce is a cold weather crop and grows best in spring or fall. So, remember to plant early!
Plant seeds in 1/4 inch dirt and water regularly. Once they start sprouting thin plants 8-10 inches apart. Lettuce should be ready to harvest within 6 weeks.
I was raised on an Idaho Potato Farm, so you know potatoes will be on this list!
Not only are potatoes easy to grow, they are also easy to store! This means, if stored correctly, you can enjoy your home grown potatoes throughout the winter months. Woo!
Plant seed potatoes 4 weeks after your last frost. They grow well when planted in a 6 inch deep hole and 12 inches apart.
About 80-100 days after planting the vines will begin to die. This means your potatoes are ready to harvest.
Store your harvested potatoes in a cool, dark place. A basement storage room or cellar works well. Just make sure they get as little light as possible!
I love to grow peas! There is just something so nostalgic about sitting out on our front porch shelling our home grown peas with my kids. Plus, peas are super easy to grow!
Peas are another cold weather crop and should be planted as soon as you can work your soil. These vegetables grow well on a trellis. We use chicken wire, just because we already had some in our garage.
Plant rows of peas next to your trellis. As the plants grow, train them to grow up on the trellis. This makes harvesting peas much easier! Promise!
Beets are another easy vegetable for your first garden. They grow best in cooler temperatures, so plant them during the early spring months.
When planting, sow your beet seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Thin plants as they grow to prevent crowding. Your beets should be ready to harvest within 70 days of planting. (I love juicing my garden beets! They are delicious!)
Carrots are another one of my favorite vegetables to grow! You can get so many sweet, crunchy carrots from just a handful of baby seeds.
The secret to perfect carrots is well drained, deep, fine soil. Mix some sand with your soil to make it extra fine, which will help the carrots to grow long and straight.
Carrots also need to be thinned well. If they aren’t thinned properly they will grow together making deformed carrots….and nobody wants deformed carrots!
When watering carrots remember to water deep, and then let the ground dry out. Deep watering will help the carrots to grow longer and thinner, which is what we want!
If you plant one zucchini seed you’ll feed your neighborhood for a year. Ha! Not really, but kind of! A zucchini plant is the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving. Which is why they are so awesome to grow!
To plant, sow two zucchini seeds in a fertilized dirt mound. You can plant more seeds in mounds 3 to 6 feet apart.
Shredded zucchini freezes really well! I use my frozen zucchini in smoothies and baking.
- Related: How to Make the Perfect Zoodles
There really isn’t anything more fun than watching a baby pumpkin grow into a large carving pumpkin. Pumpkins aren’t only fun to carve, they also make fun fall decorations and can be used in baking.
Planting pumpkins is very similar to planting zucchini; in mounds spaced 3 to 6 feet apart. Pumpkins grow best with plenty of compost mixed into the soil. Also, be sure to give your pumpkins lots of water. They are thirsty plants!
There are many different varieties of beans to plant, making it a great crop for everyone! I prefer pole beans because they are easier to harvest.
If you grow bush beans no trellis is needed. However, pole beans will need something to climb on. We use chicken wire (because it’s what we already have), but you could also use poles or strings.
Beans need lots of warmth and sun to grow, so be sure they receive plenty of sun throughout the day.
I planted onions for the first time last year and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start growing them! Honestly, I didn’t give them much care or attention, but they grew and grew. We have them stored in our basement and I love grabbing my garden onions when prepping dinner.
Plant onions using what’s called an “onion set.” An onion set is basically a small bulb. You can find these anywhere that sells garden seeds.
When planting, place your onion sets 2 to 6 inches apart and cover with 1 inch of loose soil.
A Few Tips For The Beginner Gardener
Here are a few tips for starting your beginner vegetable garden.
- Water your garden in the morning or evening, and avoid watering during the heat of the day. This gives the water a chance to soak into the ground before evaporating.
- Water deep (about 2 inches worth of water) and less often (about 1-2 times a week). The soil needs a chance to dry out to prevent disease.
- Use mulch between garden rows to help keep the weeds down. Mulch will also keep moisture in the ground, which is what we want!
- Experience is the best teacher. You will have a few fails, and you will have some successes. But, over time you will find what works best for you and your garden. Do not give up!
Alright, it’s your turn! Now, it’s time for you to get to work planning your first garden!
Remember what we learned: First, check your zone, pick a few plants from my beginner garden vegetables list (make sure your family will eat them), and then get to work planting them in your garden.
Then, the best part comes! Watching those beautiful green seedlings pop out of the ground.
Be sure to reach out if you have any questions! I love to talk about gardening!
Leave me a comment telling me what veggies you are planting in your garden this year!