Can I tell you a secret about gardening?! It’s not just for people with a green thumb. You can start a garden that produces delicious fruits and veggies without spending all your money or time in the garden. You don’t even need a lot of space!
Prior to purchasing my home, I had a small container garden on my patio that produced bell peppers, tomatoes, and an assortment of herbs. There’s nothing like growing your own food and it’s not as hard as you may think!
Today, I’m sharing how to start an easy vegetable garden step by step for beginners.
Watch the video: How to start a small easy vegetable garden for beginners
Steps to start a small vegetable garden for [lazy] beginners
1. Prepare your plant bed
Preparing your plant bed will probably be the most tedious thing you have to do (thank goodness!) when it comes to your small garden. You want to ensure you have prepared the plant bed by removing any debris, sticks, leaves, weeds, and trash.
If you’re starting your garden from complete scratch, you want to make sure to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight and is in close proximity to your water source.
2. Prepare the soil
Give your plants a jump start by having nutrient-filled soil by using compost, natural fertilizers, and/or soil from the store. You will want to break up the soil (aka till it) so the dirt is easier to manage.
Make sure the soil is moist. You do not want it completely wet or super dry. You want the soil to have a little moisture to it and be easy to move around.
One thing I recommend when starting your easy vegetable garden is having the right tools. Here’s a garden tool set that includes pretty much all of the tools you’ll need as a beginner gardener.
3. Plan out what fruits and veggies you will grow
One of the biggest mistakes new gardeners make is not researching what they want to grow.
So you want to grow lettuce? Awesome! However, lettuce doesn’t do well in extreme heat so if you were to grow lettuce in the summer in Florida, it wouldn’t do well. A lot of beginner gardeners would chalk this up to not having a green thumb when in reality, they simply just aren’t informed.
When you plan out what vegetables you want to grow, be sure to research the best times to grow it, and the necessary conditions needed for the plant to thrive.
Easy vegetables to grow as a beginner
Some crops are easier to grow than others such as beans, cucumbers, and peppers. I grow bell peppers every year because they love the heat (I live in Florida) and are pretty low maintenance when it comes to growth for me. Starting off, I recommend looking into crops that *cue my hunger games voice* the odds will be in your favor.
Here’s a list of easy vegetables for beginners from dogwoodpondfarms.com:
Another thing I HIGHLY recommend you look into is companion plants.
Companion planting is growing different crops in close proximity to help with pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing the use of space, and/or increase crop productivity. It’s basically growing fruits and vegetables together that will have a working relationship.
Companion planting is a great way to boost your harvest for your easy vegetable garden especially if you have a smaller garden and want to plant a ton of things.
For example, did you know planting tomatoes and basil next to each other enhance the flavor of the tomato as well as deter pest such as the tomato hornwork?
Did you know planting potatoes and tomatoes together will prevent the tomato from growing well because it makes it more susceptible to mold such as Phytophthora? Additionally, tomatoes and potatoes will fight over nutrients causing both not to grow well.
Knowing which fruits and veggies grow better together will truly help you reap a large harvest.
Here’s a list of few friends and foes when it comes to companion planting:
Add flowers to your easy vegetable garden to attract bees
Bees are one of your garden’s best friends because they help pollinate your plants which gives you vegetables and fruits. One way to have a bee loving garden is to plant bee-loving flowers in your garden!
For example, I like to plant flowers next to my eggplants and zucchini plants because I find it helps pollinate my plants and thus gives me a larger harvest.
4. Get planting
Once you have the soil prepared and know exactly what you want to plant (because you know the best times to plant)… it’s time to plant!
You can plant via seed or starter plant/transparent. Depending on my mood and budget, there have been seasons where I planted only by seed. However, these days I’m running a full business so I prefer starter plants (or plugs).
There are pros and cons to each… here are a few:
Pros and cons: Seeds vs Seedlings
Some pros to growing via transplant
- Faster growth
- You can harvest sooner
- Plant at a later time
- Not as much of a learning curve
- Your garden starts out stronger
- Some cons to growing via transplant
- Plants are more expensive than seeds
- Not all plants do well beinf transplanted from one garden to the next
- Can introduce bugs and diseases into your garden that you did not have
Some pros to growing via seeds
- Cheapest way to garden as seeds are inexpensive
- Can choose different varieties of a plant
Some cons to growing via seed
- There can be a learning curve to growing via seed
- Takes longer to grow
- May need additional nurturing
- You have to plant during the “right” time for the specific plant
5. Add water
How often you water your garden depends on your season, region, and location.
Because I live in Florida and I’m gardening through the spring/summer, I water every morning. When the weather is cooler, I may water every other day if need be.
I like to water in the morning or late in the day when the sun is not scorching. Why? This allows the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the crop without too much water evaporating from the heat. This also provides available water to the plants throughout the day so that the plants will be able to deal better with the heat of the sun (heat stress is real).
Remembering to water your garden can be hard so I have worked it into my routine. Every morning when I go downstairs for breakfast, I make sure to open up all of my windows and water my garden.
BONUS: Add a bee water fountain
Bees are so important not just to the world but also to your garden. I do everything possible to ensure my garden is bee-friendly by NOT using harmful pesticides and investing in bee-loving flowers like bee balm.
Please try to never, ever kill bees. They are super beneficial to your garden and generally only sting you as a last option.
Another way I make my garden bee-friendly is with a homemade bee water fountain.
Planting bee-friendly plants and creating an attractive habitat for them should be enough to welcome them into your yard. In your garden, place a shallow dish or bowl with some rocks in it that sits above clean water. This is just enough to give bees a drink of water.
The point is to create a source of fresh water that has places for the bees to perch as they drink and collect water. I’ve even witnessed butterflies taking a sip water at the fountain (which is great because butterflies also help pollinate your garden!)
6. Feed your plants
The same way you can’t survive just off of water… neither can your plants! Ensure you are feeding your plants with plant food that provides nutrients. While plants use the nutrients in the soil to feed themselves and stay healthy. Over time, the plant’s soil eventually needs plant food to help replenish the depleted nutrients.
Just make sure not to use too much as you don’t want to burn your plants or overfeed them.
7. Ensure optimal success
You will need to ensure that your plants have everything they need (and everything they don’t need) for optimal success!
- Pull weeds by the root – roots steal nutrients from your plants. Pull them when you see them
- Get rid of snails – Snails are not your garden’s friends. Get rid of them when you see them. Here are a few ways to get rid of snails.
- Research issues- having a garden is all about learning through experience and research. If you see a problem, google it or call your local garden nursery! I’ve made many mistakes in my garden and I’ve killed plenty of plants (oops!). Gardening teaches you patience and also that failure is often necessary for success.
8. Harvest what you’ve sowed
Once your vegetable garden starts producing, reap the benefits of it. You’ve worked hard for it…. treat yo’ self!
Here are my beginner tips for starting an easy vegetable garden. Questions? Let me know below!
Watch the video: How to start an small easy vegetable garden for beginners
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