How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Follow this easy step-by-step guide to begin your own veggie garden this spring.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Start Your Seeds

Vegetables are divided into cool-season and warm-season. To get a jump on spring planting, you can start seedlings for warm-weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers and squash indoors with the help of a grow light. In warmer climates, seeds can be started indoors as early as January and February, but check the date of the last frost in your area to plan your indoor seed-start date.

How to Sow Indoors

When starting seeds indoors, use a mix of soilless peat moss and equal parts vermiculite and perlite. Use clean containers for starting seeds, whether small growing pots from the garden store or even paper towel rolls. Starting carrot seeds like these indoors is an easy way to get a head start on spring planting. 

Prepare Your Site

Before you plant, there are many things you can do to give your plants the best chance to thrive, including selecting and preparing the right site for your vegetable garden.

Try a Raised Bed

For beginning gardeners, a raised bed is a great place to start. You can make sure you are using top-notch soil and easily weed and maintain a small raised bed of 4x4 in almost any size yard according to the principles of square foot gardening. Starting small keeps things manageable for beginner gardeners.

Edibles Can Be Beautiful

Just because you're growing vegetables doesn't mean you have to forsake beauty in your vegetable garden design. Find out ways to make your garden beautiful and take a tour of a spectacular vegetable garden in Atlanta.

Plant the Healthiest Veggies

Home gardening is a great way to save money on your grocery bill, but is also a way to eat more healthy fruits and vegetables. Find out the healthiest crops to grow in your garden.

Raised Bed Options

There are numerous raised bed options, from store-bought pre-made beds to ones you create yourself from hay bales. 

Consider Compost

To create rich, fertile garden soil, consider starting a compost pile. You can turn vegetable and fruit scraps from the table, leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds and other materials into soil in a homemade bed or by purchasing a compost container.

Build up Your Soil

If you are planting in the ground, you can amend your soil to make it richer and more conducive to growing.

Time Your Crops

Find out the proper soil temperature for the crops you are planting. Even peas, which are early spring crops resistant to light frost, need a soil temperature of at least 39 degrees.

Protect Your Crops

Consider putting tender seedlings in a cold frame, or protecting with plastic or cloth if there is still danger of late frost in your area.

Mulch!

Mulching your garden will help keep weeds at bay, retain moisture and contribute to a thriving vegetable garden. There are many mulch options available.

Keep Pests Away

If rabbits, deer, squirrels or other animals are a problem in your area consider fencing to protect your tender vegetables.

The Right Way to Pick

Did you know there is a right and a wrong way to pick your crops, as well as a right and wrong time to harvest? 

Now, Cook Your Garden!

One of the best things about a backyard (or front yard) garden is close proximity to great food which is only a few steps away. 

Pest Problems

Almost every gardener, beginner or experienced, has had problems with garden pests.

Maintain Your Garden

You can grow vegetables throughout the seasons, not just spring and summer if you maintain your garden plot all year long. 

Rotate Crops

To maintain fertile and pest-free soil, you will need to rotate your crops and plant cover crops to keep your soil healthy and productive.

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