How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Now that you’ve bought and read all the Michael Pollan books, you are ready to get serious about going local.  You’ve even been to the farmer’s market.  You know what good vegetables and meats taste like.  And you are ready to try creating them yourself.

Nothing will give you more satisfaction and be more local than growing vegetables in your own back yard.   But you’ve killed every aloe plant your friend has given you.  So how are you going to start a vegetable garden?

You  are going to start with confidence knowing that I am here to help you along the way.  You should know that it’s ok to fail.  I’m sure that I have made some of the same mistakes you might end up making.  Just stick to the basics the first year and keep at it every week.  You’ll have vegetables in no time and it’s going to be fun.

Here’s how you start…

Choose a Location With at Least 6 Hours of Sun

Make sure you choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day.  Leafy greens and root vegetables will tolerate less, but fruiting vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours and would benefit from more.

To be honest I’m not sure the spot I have chosen gets enough sun.  I have yet to make an eggplant fruit in my home garden despite growing them for clients regularly.

Sometimes you just have to work with the space you have.  Don’t give up if there isn’t a spot with quite enough sun.  Just try to work around it.  Trim back a few trees if you can, or arrange your plants so that the fruiting ones are in the sunniest spots.

Start Small

How much space do you want to start off with?  Starting small your first year is a good idea.  Give yourself time to learn techniques and get a feel for working in the soil.  Digging a new bed is the hardest part.  If you add on a few square feet a year, you can do the work in increments.

My first veggie garden was a disaster.  I’m really glad that I didn’t go with my desire to turn my entire yard into a garden.  Everything was new to me and an experiment. I double dug my soil, added a yard of compost and planted in about 30 square feet.  I didn’t know anything about fertilizers, or planting seeds.  After the hot dry summer there wasn’t much to show from my vegetable garden, except weeds.

By my second year I read a few books and got a gardening buddy with some experience.  It made all the difference to have someone I could bounce ideas off of.  I decided to experiment with different gardening approaches, such as Mel Bartholemew’s Square Foot Gardening.  I built raised beds this time.

Despite a long hot summer I was successful.  With just 80 square feet I had an endless supply of my favorite herbs, some fabulous tomatoes, and many other good veggies.  It was a very rewarding year.  By the end people were asking me for advice and I scored my first gardening job.

Assess Your Soil

In Texas there are many different types of soil.  Soil texture can be sand, loam or clay.  The general soil structure is usually the same throughout your region.  You may call your local Master Gardeners to find more out about regional soil types.

There are micro climates and small differences that you should become aware of.  For example, many developers have fill delivered called red death that often is very rocky and devoid of any organic matter.

Test your soil for pH.  Buy easy test kits at your local garden center.  The goal is to get your soil as close to neutral (7.0) as possible.  Many gardening articles and books will suggest adding lime to your soil.  Lime will make your soil more alkaline.  If you know that your soil is already alkaline (7.5 or higher) then adding lime will not help.

Dig Your Beds

Remember: soil is the foundation of your garden. Without good soil you will have problems with growing healthy plants, watering, and pests.

Weather you are building raised beds or not loosening your soil to a depth of two feet is ideal.  If you are building your raised beds two feet high then I would go ahead and take my digging fork to poke holes and aerate the soil under your planned bed.

Be sure to remove any weeds and especially grasses before adding your soil.  Digging up the grasses will kill most, but if the roots are still intact, new ones will sprout up in your new bed.

Discard rocks over an inch or two while digging.  Some smaller rocks are acceptable and can help drainage, but too many rocks can make it difficult for roots to stretch out and grow.  They can also get in the way of growing root vegetables and distort their shape.

There is some debate over weather or not to double dig your soil.  Proponents for double digging say that it will allow you to really aerate and loosen the soil to the desired depth while allowing for the opportunity to mix compost in at all levels.

People against double digging want you to aerate the top soil with a fork, or if you have access, a chisel plow or broad fork.  Both of those can be expensive and hard to find.  Especially if you are just starting a small home garden.  Also, this method doesn’t allow thorough mixing of compost with the existing soil.  It relies on the roots of the plants to carry the compost down to the sub soil layers for you.

I like the second method for many reasons, but for the reasons of mixing in compost and getting a productive first year in your garden I would double dig first.  Then fork in compost and other amendments seasonally.

Decide How You Plan to Amend Your Soil

One helpful hint is that compost helps every situation.  If you want to skip the testing and the books, just make sure to add plenty of compost. It helps with drainage and water retention while adding life to the soil.

Ready to Plant!

Some easy to grow plants for your first year are

Easy from seed Transplant in starts
beans
beets
carrots
chinese cabbage
collards
corn
cucumbers
kale
lettuce
melons
mustard
peas
potatoes (from seed potato)
radishes
rhubarb (from roots)
spinach (germinates slowly)
squash
swiss chard
turnips
broccoli
brussels sprouts
cabbage
cauliflower
eggplant
kohlrabi
onions
peppers
tomatoes

What are you doing today in your vegetable garden?

The Aggie Horticulture website has put together a list of dates to keep in mind when planting.  If you live in central Texas check out the Travis County planting calendar.

 

pixel How to Start a Vegetable Garden

21 Responses to “How to Start a Vegetable Garden”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. I've a plan for make a vegetable garden and you've share is here about this kind of some information which helps me a lot to make my garden. I hope in future I'll get more information like this.

  2. Make sure you choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day. Green veggies and main vegetables will accept less, but fruiting vegetables need at the least 6 time and would benefit from more.

  3. mariana says:

    I am so excited to get started! Is there anything I can start preparing at this time of the year?

  4. Greenhouses can also be built using landscape gardening and they can be incorporated inside

    of the garden collectively with a chilly-body. Blooming vines can also be used to

    create interest. The garden landscapes are important for beautifying

    environment.

  5. Jannette says:

    I usually do not drop many responses,but I looked at through a few responses here How to Start a

    Vegetable Garden | Texas Gardening Info. I actually do have 2 questions

    for you if it’s okay. Could it be just me or do some of these responses come across like they are coming from brain dead people?
    :-P And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I would

    like to follow anything new you have to post. Could

    you post a list of the complete urls of your

    social networking pages like your Facebook page, twitter

    feed, or linkedin profile?

  6. It is distinguished by its’ small umbrella-like white flowers which bloom from

    May to August and produces its’ fruits between July

    and August. Mix it together in your hand, and wash your face as usual, being sure to rinse very well and follow

    up with a light moisturizer. All in all, pregnancy is

    an amazing, not so amazing, and mysterious experience.

  7. website says:

    Go for foods that are healthy and at the same time help

    you lose fat fast. Some lite foods even have

    more sugar to make them taste better after they lower the fat.

    You have to know what you are doing and how you are doing.

  8. Plant butterfly garden landscapes to beautify your yard and enhance your garden,

    and you’ll soon be enjoying the wonders of butterflies throughout

    your garden. For some, there are people that go to nature to re-energize their body and their souls.

    One example is a tree box where a tree has been removed

    but you just want it to look neat and tidy.

  9. Julian Snyder says:

    The idea of starting a vegetable garden is good but digging a yard and doing all that hard work is bit painful, How about getting a greenhouse the way I did it. I got this harmony series greenhouse from envirotech greenhouse and its just the right size to begin greenhouse gardening and perfect for smaller yards or patios. It also includes features like: galvanized steel base, magnetic door catch, left or right swinging door, roof vent and rain gutters and rust resistant green powder coated aluminum frame ensure years of use and very low maintenance.

  10. Shanice says:

    Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.

    I am sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  11. This is because of the fact that these can be easily moved from one place

    to another and are highly comfortable. Global office furniture, now and in

    the future, is helping to save the planet and saving the company that needs

    the furniture for their offices more money. By doing such small things, like opting for green furniture,

    we can make a great contribution tour society, and make the world a better

    place to live in.

  12. Greeenhouses says:

    There are ready made greenhouses at gardenandponddepot. Imagine the cost and effort when in the long run you still reach the same amount of expenses.

  13. If you want to get a good deal from this piece of writing then you

    have to apply these methods to your won weblog.

  14. Article Source: And Advice That Every Traveler Should Know.

    Money When traqveling on a budget itt is important to spend money wisely.

    By employing this step-by-step process, you wkll bee able to successfully plan each

    stage of your groupp tripp resulting in a smooth tour without any surprises.

  15. Dean says:

    I like the helpful info you supply for your articles.

    I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at again right here regularly.

    I’m relatively certain I’ll be informed many new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the following!

  16. They are alpmost certain to contain Aspartame or Splenda.

    Foods such as Poultry, Turkey, Various meats, nts annd whole milk are

    normally staples within an athlete’s diet program.

    Additionally, when you are trying to lose weight, your goal is to improve your overall health and feel better.

  17. Hi everybody, here every one is sharing such familiarity, so it’s good to read this webpage, and I used

    to pay a visit this weblog every day.

  18. Superb blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go

    for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..

    Any tips? Bless you!

  19. This article is truly a good one it assists new web

    visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  20. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and

    even I achievement you access consistently fast.

Leave A Comment...

*