Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

February 14, 2012

When people say there’s nothing like the taste of a tomato grown in your own garden they’re not kidding.

The gardener, indeed, will be loathe to go back to a plastic-tasting store bought tomato after the joy of growing a big, fat heirloom tomato in their own garden. But how does this happen? It’s fairly simple, and can even be easy.

Where to Plant

First, the gardener has to locate where the garden plot will be. Vegetables need good sun all day long, so it should be in a sunny place. If the gardener is planning the garden in the fall or winter, which is a good time to plan it, they should take into account any trees in the area. The trees might be empty when the garden is planned, but leaf out during the spring and summer and cast unwelcome shade over the vegetables.

What to Plant

The gardener should also make a list of the sorts of vegetables and herbs they like to eat and whether they can grow them in their garden. Then, they should narrow the list to which varieties of vegetables they’d prefer. While some people love beefsteak tomatoes, they have no patience with cherry tomatoes and are indifferent to plum tomatoes. Some gardeners covet fat purple eggplants, but find white eggplants strange looking or find their flavor off-putting. The gardener should be careful when they buy or order seeds or seedlings.

How Much Space?

They should also learn what sort of space a vegetable needs to be productive and healthy and plan for it in the garden. In the end, they should know how much space they’ll need for what they wish to grow. Ideally, beds shouldn’t be wider than four feet. They should also plan for paths that will allow the gardener to visit all of the beds. Paths should be a least three feet wide and from four to five feet wide if the gardener’s going to use a wheelbarrow. Gravel is a good covering for a path, though it might be a bit tricky to push a filled wheelbarrow over it.

Prepping the Easy Way

Fall and winter are good times to plan a vegetable garden, because it gives the gardener time to remove the grass and other vegetation. Rather than do the painstaking work of digging it up and out, the gardener can lay newspapers about three sheets thick over the area, and cover it with overlapping sheets of black plastic. Then, two by fours should be laid over the plastic and secured with bricks. The time it will take for the vegetation beneath to die off should be around three to six months.

The Right Soil

After that, the gardener should amend the soil. If they wish, they can send samples of their garden soil to a lab for analysis. They should find out what types of vegetables and herbs like what type of soil. Most of them prefer soil that’s rich and just a little bit acidic, although tomatoes are acid loving plants. The gardener can sweeten soil that’s too acidic with some limestone and also add fertilizer before they plant. They should plant seeds and seedlings according to the instructions that come with them, water them well, prune, fertilize and let nature handle the rest. At the end, they’ll probably have so much produce they won’t know what to do with it all!


Harrison is a bonsai tree enthusiast and loves to write about how to take care of your own bonsai trees at home with the proper tools and techniques. On his blog, Bonsai Tree Gardener, he provides advice on various topics related to bonsai trees.


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