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vegetables harvested with roots  scaled
vegetables harvested with roots scaled

How to Make a Vegetable Garden

Congratulations on your plan to start a vegetable garden! You are about to do what so many people are afraid to do. In this article, you will learn how to make a vegetable garden and the factors to consider when planning your garden. 

person watering the plants
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Basics of Vegetable Gardening 

As a beginner, there are certain things that you should know to make a vegetable garden. Read on to explore and learn what you need to get started.

Start Small 

Many beginners are very passionate, so they start with a large garden. While that will give you more yield, you have a lot of work to do. A well-tended small garden is more manageable, more attractive, and produces more product than a large, weed-filled garden. 

Why are You Starting a Vegetable Garden? 

Some gardeners started their vegetable garden because they want to harvest a specific vegetable. In contrast, others began their garden because they wanted to have fresh greens without continually going to the store. 

You can grow and harvest some types of vegetables once, and there are others that you can harvest throughout the growing season. 

Examples of vegetables that you harvest once are: 

  • Corn 
  • Carrot 
  • Radish 
  • Potatoes 
  • Determinate tomatoes 

A few vegetables that you can harvest throughout the growing season are: 

  • Herbs 
  • Squash 
  • Peppers 
  • Leafy greens 
  • Indeterminate tomatoes 

Grow Only What You Need 

According to recommendations from growers and online sources, gardeners have a wide range of vegetables to grow. Sometimes, an article may refer to an unfamiliar crop because it grows fast or is beneficial to other plants in your garden. 

You should not start your garden with vegetables that you and your family don’t know and might not like to eat. When planning a vegetable garden, grow vegetables that you will want to consume. 

Know When to Start Your Garden

While some vegetables are perennial and will come back year after year, most vegetables are annual and require a specific temperature to grow. If you are in a colder climate, do not start any vegetables in winter. Sprout the seeds indoors and transplant into your garden after the last frost date

Some vegetables that you can start in early spring are: 

  • Peas 
  • Carrots 
  • Lettuce 
  • Arugula 
  • Broccoli 
  • Radishes 

Vegetables that you should plant after the soil warms up are: 

  • Corn 
  • Peppers 
  • Eggplant 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Cucumbers 

As a beginner, you should put the above points into consideration when you are starting a vegetable garden.

If you are ready, here’s what you need to make a new vegetable garden.

What You Need to Make a Vegetable Garden 

It is not a long list, so don’t worry. 

1. Location, Location, Location

Location is a critical factor when starting a vegetable garden. A good location has: 

  • Well-drained fertile soil 
  • Access to 6-8 hours of sunlight 
  • Fewer winds 

Too much wind is not suitable for your garden because wind can pull vegetables out of the soil, erode mulch off your surface, and scatter your garden arrangement. A location without well-drained and fertile soil can cause your plants to grow slowly, and they will be more susceptible to diseases. 

If your soil is not well-drained nor fertile, you should amend the soil. Soil amendments are products that you mix with soil to boost its quality. These products help to improve the: 

  • Soil fertility 
  • Soil Porosity 
  • Structure of the soil 
  • Root condition of the soil 
  • Water-retention ability of the soil 

Soil amendment can be organic or inorganic. Some organic products are: 

  • Straw 
  • Manure 
  • Compost 
  • Peat moss 
  • Warm casting 

Examples of inorganic soil amendments are: 

  • Sand 
  • Perlite 
  • Pea gravel 
  • Tire chunk 
  • Vermiculite 

The more sun that your garden has access to, the better it is for your crops. While some crops can tolerate less than 4 or 4-6 hours of sunlight, most vegetables (mostly vegetables that you grow for fruit or tuber) need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. 

2. Seeds or Transplant 

As a beginner, you should go for transplants instead of seeds for your first vegetable garden. Buy them from a nursery, and they have better chances of surviving. To grow from seeds, you have to germinate more than what you want (i.e., to increase your chance of getting your needed amount) and then thin out excess plants for space. 

3. Water and Fertilizer 

Just as you need food and water to grow, your vegetable garden needs water and nutrients. Look at this like you are feeding your future food. If you can, avoid chlorinated water for your vegetables. If the rainwater in your locality is safe, you should install a rain barrel to store rainwater for watering your plants. 

There are different types of fertilizers. You should know the nutrient requirement of your plants before purchasing fertilizer. You have to choose between fertilizers that are: 

  • Granular or liquid 
  • Organic or inorganic 
  • Readily available or slow-release 

Your garden, your choice. 

4. Gardening Accessories 

photo of woman holding wheelbarrow
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

As a beginner, there are some gardening accessories that you need and others that are not required, but they can ease the gardening experience. Some accessories that you need and their uses are: 

  • Watering can and hose: water your plants with ease 
  • Garden boots and gloves: protect yourself while you work in the garden 
  • Straw hat: protect yourself from the heat of the sun when you are working 
  • Grow bags: grow bags are recommended if you are growing tuber vegetables 
  • Wheelbarrow: to transport tools, soil, and your harvest from one place to another 
  • Compost bins: used to decompose kitchen wastes, manure, and organics into fertilizer 
  • Nursery trays: for germinating seeds into seedlings before transplanting into the garden 
  • Garden fork: to spread mulch, soil, fertilizer, etc. The use of forks cannot be overemphasized. 
  • Cages and stakes: to support tall or climbing plants. 
  • Rake, hoe, shovel, and trowelto clear leaves, turn over the soil, and dig holes for planting. 

The accessories listed above are cheap, and you can get them from stores near you. 

The Steps Involved in Making a Vegetable Garden 

If you have decided where your garden will be and gathered the needed items, it is time to make your garden. 

1. Remove the Sod and Clear the Site 

The first step in preparing a site for a vegetable garden is to clear the area. You can clear it by: 

  • Removing trash  
  • Pulling out weeds 
  • Rolling out the sod 

You can remove the trash, sod, or weed by hand, or using a shovel, rake, or hoe. 

2. Amend the Soil 

If the soil needs amendment, this is when you should do it. You can amend the soil by mixing the the needed products with the soil.  

How much do you need? It depends on the size of your garden. If your garden is 10 feet by 10 feet and you want to amend 12 inches of the soil, you need 100 ft3 (cubic feet) of the product. 

Note: 12 inches is 1 foot. 10 feet times 10 feet is 100 ft(square feet). 100 ft2 times 1 foot is 100 ft3. 

3. Mulch (optional) 

Many gardeners choose to mulch their gardens to prevent weed from growing and to warm up the soil. Mulching has a lot of advantages to gardening. If you want to mulch your garden like other gardeners, this is the time you should mulch. 

You can mulch your garden with: 

  • Hay 
  • Sawdust 
  • Tree leaves 
  • Grain straw 
  • Wood chips 
  • Grass clippings 

Remember that mulching your garden is optional. 

4. Plant Your Vegetables 

You probably want to plant your vegetables in rows. Each row should be 10 feet long (depending on the length of your garden). The vegetable rows should stretch from north to south to maximize sunlight. Plant tall plants at the northern end of your rows so that they do not block other plants from sunlight. 

You should space your rows 15 inches apart so that you can walk in-between them. 

5. Care for Your Vegetable Garden 

How do you care for your vegetables? Some ways you can help your vegetables are: 

  • Feed and water them regularly 
  • Remove weeds as soon as you see them 
  • Install cages, stakes, or trellises for climbing plants 
  • Hand-pick insects and pests that can harm your crops 
  • Add earthworms and beneficial insects to your garden 

6. Enjoy Your Yield 

picking tomatoes and holding them in shirt scaled
Woman works in a garden. Lady with a tomato and cucumbers

Harvest is arguably the most rewarding part of gardening. Depending on the vegetables you are growing, you can harvest them in two to six months. If you cannot consume everything in your harvests, share some with your family and friends. 

7. Plant Again (If You Can) 

If there is still time to regrow your vegetables, you should plant again to have multiple harvests in the same season. Some fast-growing vegetables that you can grow more than once per season are: 

  • Peas 
  • Beets 
  • Beans 
  • Carrots 
  • Turnips 
  • Lettuce 
  • Spinach 
  • Cabbage 
  • Radishes 
  • Rutabagas 

If you cannot grow the same vegetable again, choose vegetables that tolerate the coming season. 

Enjoy your gardening experience! 

Conclusion 

Making a vegetable garden is fun and productive. You will have fresh vegetables and herbs close to you. Depending on what you are growing, you can have multiple harvests in a year. 

To start a vegetable garden, you need a sunny location, well-drained soil, seedlings, fertilizer, and water. 

When will you start your vegetable garden? What will you grow first? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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