After the pandemic, the world is in a very different place. People are looking for ways to be self-sufficient and one way to do that is by growing your own food. During these times, it’s important to know how to start a vegetable garden from scratch in case you need to.
When I got the idea of gardening, and I would like to pursue it as a hobby, unfortunately, I found real trouble starting gardening as a hobby just because of a lack of proper knowledge.
Gardening is a fun activity, but in the beginning, when I was not familiar with it, I just wanted to dig into enjoying fresh produce but got stuck due to the unavailability of proper guidance or mentorship; hopefully, you will experience the same too!
After a lot of hassle, a colleague advised me to Google “How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch” and there my gardening journey begins.
According to the study done by Garden Pals, after the Covid pandemic, many people are turning towards gardening as an outlet for their stress. The average person produces $600 each year, and global sales have doubled during this period!
That’s why I started vegetable gardening, and here I am going to share different styles, techniques, and stages which I found while vegetable gardening.
Let’s get straight into it.
How To Start A Garden From Scratch For Beginners
Starting a vegetable garden is as simple as deciding what you want to grow, and then finding a sunny spot in your yard to plant them. You don’t need a lot of space to get started — even a small patio or balcony can provide enough room for a few planters.
Due to the recent pandemic, nearly half of American households started gardening as per the stats published by Statista Research Department.
So, If you’re starting from scratch, there are a few things you’ll need to know, and I have covered all of them below;
Choose The Right Styles Of The Vegetable Garden
Have you thought of starting a vegetable garden from scratch but don’t know where to begin? Well, this guide is especially for beginners who start a vegetable garden from scratch.
But before that, you must know there are many different types or styles to start a vegetable garden, depending on your space and time constraints. Some of the most used styles are discussed here.
Raised Bed Garden
One popular method is to start with a raised bed. It is a great option if you don’t have much space or if the soil in your area is of poor quality.
The most important thing to know about raised bed gardening is that it’s not just for people with strong backs.
If you’re looking into designing your garden, try this style because there are many benefits!
For one thing, no need for lower back muscles when bending over and working in tight spaces with heavy equipment like wheelbarrows or rakes, etc.
Moreover, keeping weight off of them will be easier on joints (therefore reducing risk/injuries).
You can start a container garden with a small yard or patio. It is a great option if you don’t have much space because you can grow vegetables in pots or containers of all shapes and sizes.
Having a few container gardens around your place can be great. It is perfect if you have an area that’s too big for traditional soil-based gardening but small enough to fit in some pots!
Try planting tomatoes with basil next time instead of relying on transplants from the grocery store -they’ll grow much better and taste better than what we usually find at our local farmer’s market too!
The fun fact about the container garden is that my mom would plant different kinds of vegetables in our backyard when I was a kid. So, container gardening is fantastic for those with limited space like me, and it’s a great way to get started with gardening if you’re new to the hobby.
If you have access to some land, you can start an in-ground garden. It is the traditional way to garden, and it’s great if you have enough space for a few rows of plants. If you don’t want to spend a lot on your garden but still enjoy fresh produce, in-ground growing may be exactly what’s needed.
With a little research and the right resources, you can grow any fruit or vegetable native to your area.
A beginner’s garden should focus on what foods are enjoyed by those who will cook them – but experiment!
You might start with cucumbers, for instance, if they’re new to gardening, then move on to tomatoes (the classic “soil-less” variety works best), followed perhaps by onions or corn, depending upon personal preference.
A vertical garden is perfect if you don’t have much space because the plants are grown vertically instead of horizontally.
Vertical type can easily enhance any patio or small space garden by utilizing wall space and other places in the yard where you would not have been able to before because they were too high up on tall buildings, etc.
Vertical gardens also allow for additional production without taking up more room than what’s already there – perfect if your balcony wants some new life but doesn’t have enough ground underneath it yet (or ever). They help make those new heights look alive with color.
If you have access to a plot of land, the best way to start a vegetable garden is by using organic gardening methods. Organic gardening methods promote healthy soil growth, which in turn promotes the growth of healthy plants.
The organic gardening style is the complete opposite of the conventional style. However, it is not always easy to find good organic gardening tips.
The reason is that majority of the tips available today are not well researched. What you need is to find a reliable source of information. Look for organic gardening tips that have been proven to be effective by experts and other gardeners.
Some of the other types are Intensive vegetable gardening, Community vegetable gardening, Pre-mature vegetable gardening method, Ruth Stout method, Back To Eden vegetable gardening, and No Dig No-Till method.
If you’re a beginner gardener, start with a small space because a small garden is more manageable than a big one, and growing vegetables in containers is a great way to start!
With them, you don’t even need an entire yard; all that’s required for this venture are some sunny decks or balconies.
No matter which method you choose, starting a vegetable garden from scratch is a great way to provide yourself and your family with fresh, healthy vegetables. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding hobby!
Grow What You Love To Eat
Which vegetable you like the most is the best option to start your home garden with. There are a few things to keep in mind while growing vegetables.
Be Picky About Varieties
There are wide different varieties of each type of vegetable. Do some research on which variety will work best in your garden and climate.
Start With Easy Crops
If you’re a beginner gardener, starting with easy crops that are less selective to grow is best. If you pick the easy route at first, you’ll be more likely to stick with gardening and not get discouraged.
Some easy crops are lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, and peas.
As in container gardening, raised beds can also be used to give better drainage.
Successive crops can be grown in the same spot where another crop was just harvested. It is a great way to make the most of your gardening space and to keep your garden producing food all season long.
In early spring, you could plant a crop of peas. Once the peas are harvested, you could then plant a crop of green beans in their place.
Then, in late summer, you could plant a crop of lettuce in the spot where the green beans were harvested.
This is just one example of how you could use successive crops in your garden. Many other combinations would work well, too. Just be sure to do your research on which crops do well together and which don’t.
Planting Too Much Garden
Many new gardeners make the mistake of planting too much of one crop. It’s important to remember that you don’t need a lot of space to grow a lot of food. In fact, you can often get by with less space than you think.
If you plant too much of one crop, you may end up with more food than you can possibly eat. This is especially true if you’re growing vegetables you don’t like to eat. It’s much better to plant a smaller quantity of several different crops that you’ll enjoy eating.
So, a better vegetable plan or chart is necessary before starting a home garden. Keep a list of vegetables handy that will help you know how much to plant.
Choose The Right Location
When opening a new shop, the location is one of the most important things to consider. The same goes for your vegetable garden. Where you choose to plant your garden will have a big impact on how successful your plants are.
Some things to think about when choosing a location for your garden are:
How Much Sun Does The Location Get?
Generally, most vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. This rule has a few exceptions, but most vegetables will do best in a sunny spot. Sun-loving vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, and beans.
However, plenty of vegetables will grow in partial shades and some will even tolerate full shade. Some of the best vegetables to grow in partial shade are lettuce, greens, and root crops.
In winter, the sunlight your garden gets will be much less than in summer. This is something to remember when choosing a location for your garden. Some winter vegetables that can tolerate less sunlight are cabbage, kale, and spinach.
What Is The Drainage Like In The Location?
The drainage of the soil is also important. Too much water can be just as bad for your plants as too little. If the soil in your chosen location doesn’t drain well, you may need to build raised beds or take other steps to improve the drainage.
Is The Location Protected From Strong Winds?
Strong winds can damage your plants, so it’s important to choose a location that is sheltered from the wind. In container gardens, this is often accomplished by placing the containers near a wall or fence.
In-ground gardens can be protected from the wind by planting taller plants on the windward side of the garden and shorter plants on the leeward side.
If you can find a location with all these things, you’re well on your way to having a successful garden.
Preparing The Soil
The quality of the soil in your garden will have a big impact on how well your plants grow. If possible, do a soil test to determine what nutrients are in the soil and its pH level. This information will help you to know what amendments you need to make to the soil to ensure that your plants have the best chance to thrive.
Usually, the soil in new construction sites is not ideal for gardening. If you’re starting a garden in a new home, you may need to bring in some topsoil or other amendments to improve the quality of the soil.
What are the soil Types?
When you think about starting a vegetable garden from scratch, you first need to consider what kind of soil you have. There are three main types of soil; sandy, clay, and loam.
Sandy soil is light and dry and doesn’t hold nutrients well. This type of soil is best for vegetables that don’t need a lot of nutrients, such as lettuce and radishes.
Clay soil is heavy and dense and holds nutrients well. This type of soil is best for vegetables that need a lot of nutrients, such as tomatoes and peppers.
Loam soil is a mix of sand and clay and holds nutrients well. This type of soil is best for vegetables that need moderate nutrients, such as carrots and potatoes.
Silty, Chalky, And Peaty Soils
Silty, chalky, and peaty soils are not as common as sandy, clay, or loam soils, but you may come across them. They can be more difficult to garden in because they don’t hold nutrients well and can be very droughty.
How To Test Your Garden Soil Instantly At Home? (DiY)
If you’re unsure what type of soil you have, you can do a simple test at home. Take a handful of moistened soil and squeeze it in your fist.
- If the soil crumbles easily, it’s sandy.
- If the soil stays in a clump, it’s clay.
- If the ground is somewhere in between, it’s loam.
Now you know what type of soil you have, you can choose the best vegetables to grow in it.
The next thing to consider is the pH level of your soil.
What is Soil pH?
Soil pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Most vegetables prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A few vegetables, such as potatoes and beets, like a more alkaline soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Some vegetables with pH levels are as below
|Asparagus – 6.5 – 7.0||Corn – 5.5 – 6.5||Peppers – 6.5 – 7.0|
|Beans – 6.0 – 7.5||Cucumbers – 6.0 – 7.0||Potatoes – 6.5 – 7.5|
|Broccoli – 6.0 – 7.0||Eggplant – 5.5 – 6.8||Spinach – 6.5 – 8.0|
|Cabbage – 5.5 – 6.8||Lettuce – 6.0 – 7.0||Squash – 6.0 – 7.0|
|Carrots – 5.9 – 6.9||Onions – 6.0 – 7.0||Tomatoes – 6.0 – 6.8|
|Cauliflower – 6.0 – 7.0||Peas – 6.0 – 7.5||Watermelons – 6.0 – 6.5|
How to Amend Your Soil?
Once you know the pH level of your soil and what type of soil you have, you can start to amend it.
There are many ways to improve the quality of your soil. Some common amendments include compost, manure, peat moss, and perlite.
You can add organic matter to your soil by adding leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps. These will help improve your soil’s texture, drainage, and nutrient content.
Adding Amendments To Your Soil
- Once you have decided what amendments you need to add to your soil, it’s time to incorporate them into the ground.
- The best way to do this is to add them to the soil before you plant, which gives the amendments time to mix in with the ground and become evenly distributed.
- You can add amendments to your soil by tilling them in or using a shovel or hoe to mix them in.
- Adding a lot of amendments to your soil, you may need to till the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches.
Adding amendments to your soil is essential in starting a vegetable garden from scratch. By taking the time to test and amend your soil, you’ll give your vegetables the best chance to thrive.
So, when preparing the soil for your garden, it’s important to:
- Remove the grass and weeds because removing the grass and weeds is the first step in prepping the soil. Not only do they compete with your vegetables for water and nutrients, but they also can harbor diseases and pests that can harm your plants.
- Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 8 to 12 inches, which allows the roots of your plants to penetrate the soil easily.
- Work in organic matter such as compost, manure, or peat moss. This will help to improve the drainage and aeration of the soil.
- Apply fertilizer according to the results of your soil test. This will ensure that your plants have the nutrients they need to grow.
Supplies Need To Start A Vegetable Garden
Why do we need supplies? Gardening supplies are used to make gardening easier and more efficient. They can also help to protect your plants from pests and diseases.
These supplies will help you to get your garden off to a good start and can reduce your workload throughout the growing season.
Here are some of the supplies that are being used while gardening with their usage.
Shovel: A shovel is one of the most important tools for any gardener. It can be used for various tasks, such as digging holes for planting, turning the soil, and moving mulch or other materials around the garden.
Hoe: A hoe is another essential tool for any gardener. It loosens the soil, removes weeds, and makes furrows for planting seeds.
Rake: A rake is a great tool for leveling the soil and removing debris from the garden.
Garden Hose: A garden hose is essential for watering your plants.
Watering Can: If you don’t have a hose or prefer to water your plants with a watering can, make sure to get one that has a long spout so you can easily reach all of your plants.
Gardening Gloves: The Gardening gloves protect your hands from dirt and from getting scratched by thorns or other sharp objects.
Wheelbarrow: A wheelbarrow is a great way to move mulch, soil, and other materials around the garden.
Lawn mower: If you have a larger garden, you may want to invest in a lawn mower to help control the grass and weeds.
Now you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to start planting!
In the gardening journey, initially, you’ll need to decide whether you want to start your plants from seeds or seedlings. Starting from seeds is usually cheaper, but it takes more time. Starting from seedlings is more expensive, but it’s faster.
Then after, the best time to start planting your garden depends on what plants you’re growing. Some vegetables can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, while others must wait until the weather has warmed up.
Some of the earliest vegetables to plant in the spring are peas, spinach, and radishes. These vegetables can tolerate a little bit of cold weather and will actually do best if they’re planted when the weather is still cool.
Other vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, need warm weather to thrive. These should be planted after the last frost date in your area.
Be sure to check the planting instructions on the seed packet or plant tag to see the best time to plant the specific vegetable you’re interested in growing.
When planting your garden, be sure to:
- Space the plants according to the seed packet or plant tag instructions. This will ensure that the plants have enough room to grow.
- Plant the seeds or plants at the correct depth. This will also be specified on the seed packet or plant tag.
- Water the plants thoroughly after planting. This will help them to get established in their new home.
Now that you’ve planted your garden, it’s time to start taking care of it!
Caring for Your Garden
Once your plants are in the ground, they will need regular care to stay healthy and produce a good crop. The caring plant is as easy as;
All plants need water to survive, but how much and how often will vary depending on the plant. Be sure to water them according to their needs. Greens, like lettuce, will need more water than root vegetables, such as carrots.
Generally, it’s best to water plants in the morning, so they have time to dry off before nightfall. This will help to prevent diseases such as powdery mildew from developing.
For a better understanding of how often to water your plants, let’s take the example of lettuce.
How To Water A Lettuce? In Simple 8 Steps
Watering your lettuce is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Lettuce is an excellent weather crop that thrives in temperatures between 60-70°F, which means that if you’re growing your lettuce during the summer months, you’ll need to take extra care to ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
- Generally, lettuce needs about 1 inch of water per week. If you’re unsure how much water your plants are getting, you can use a rain gauge to measure.
- Water your lettuce in the morning. The cooler temperatures will help reduce evaporation, and the sun won’t be as intense, so that the water won’t evaporate as quickly.
- Check the soil before you water it. Stick your finger about an inch into the ground to see if the soil is dry. If it is, it’s time to water.
- Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to water your lettuce, which will help reduce evaporation and ensure that the water goes directly to the roots of the plants.
- Water the base of the plant, not the leaves. Wet leaves can promote fungal growth and make the lettuce susceptible to disease.
- Check the weather forecast before you water. If it’s going to be hot and sunny, you may need to water more often to prevent the lettuce from wilting.
- Don’t let the lettuce dry out, which will cause it to bolt or go to seed. Lettuce that has bolted is still edible but will have a bitter flavor.
- If you’re growing lettuce in containers, make sure to water them more frequently than plants in the ground. The soil in containers dries out more quickly.
Mulching is a great way to help your plants retain moisture and suppress weeds. A mulch layer will also help insulate your plant’s roots from the hot sun.
Organic mulches, such as wood chips or bark, are the best choice for the vegetable garden as they will improve the soil quality as they break down over time. Inorganic mulches, such as black plastic, can also be used but won’t provide the same benefits to the soil.
How To Mulch A Potted Plant?
We can use organic mulches like straw, hay, dried grass, or wood chips for a potted plant. Inorganic materials like crushed stone, gravel, or lava rock can also be used for mulching.
The main thing is that the mulch should be at least 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) deep and spread evenly around the plant, covering the root zone.
Here are some simple steps for mulching your potted plants:
- Choose the right mulch. Many different types are available, so it’s essential to choose one that will suit your plants.
- Apply the mulch around the base of the plant, being careful not to bury the stem.
- Water the plant well, this helps the mulch to settle around the plant and start working its magic.
All plants need nutrients to grow, and fertilizer is the best way to provide them. There are many different types of fertilizer available, so be sure to choose one that’s appropriate for the plants you’re growing.
Compost is a great all-purpose fertilizer that can be used on most plants. It’s easy to make yourself, or you can buy it at a garden center or store.
How To Apply Fertilizer To Potted Plants?
Fertilizing your potted plants is a simple process to help ensure they are healthy and thrive. Following a few simple steps, you can provide the nutrients they need to grow strong and produce beautiful blooms or fruit.
- Choose the right fertilizer. There are many different types of fertilizer available, so selecting one specifically designed for potted plants is crucial. A nutrient solution or water-soluble fertilizer is a good option.
- Mix the fertilizer according to the package directions and ensure that you apply the correct nutrients to your plants.
- Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the base of the plant. Avoid getting any on the leaves, as this can burn them.
- Water the plant thoroughly after applying the fertilizer. It will help to dissolve the nutrients and allow them to be absorbed by the roots.
- Repeat the process as needed. Fertilizing your potted plants every two to four weeks will help them stay healthy and promote new growth.
Keeping pests out of your garden is an important part of growing healthy plants. There are many different ways to do this, including using traps, barriers, and chemicals.
The best way to control pests is to prevent them from getting into your garden in the first place. Pest controlling can be done by:
- Keep your garden clean, and free of debris. Cleaning up fallen leaves, dead plants, and other debris will remove potential homes for pests.
- Planting trap crops. It is a plant that pests are attracted to but won’t damage. When pests are found on the trap crop, they can be removed before they have a chance to damage the other plants in your garden.
- Picking caterpillars and beetles by hand is a great way to remove pests without using any chemicals.
- Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, can be controlled with chemicals. However, it’s important only to use chemicals as a last resort and to follow the instructions carefully to avoid harming your plants.
- Building barriers, such as fences, around your garden. This will keep animals from getting in and eating your plants. Protecting your vegetable garden from animals and pests will help you to have a successful harvest.
Harvesting Your Vegetable Garden
Once your plants are mature, it’s time to harvest them! This is the best part of gardening, in my opinion.
To harvest most vegetables, you need to cut or pull them from the plant. However, some vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, will need to be dug up.
While harvesting your produce, be sure to:
- Handle the plants gently to avoid damaging them.
- Check for pests and remove any that you find.
- Wash the vegetables thoroughly before eating or storing them.
The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve harvested your vegetables. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Wrap Up On How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch
After you’ve harvested your vegetables, it’s time to enjoy them! You can eat them fresh, cook them, can or freeze them, or share them with friends and family.
I hope this guide has helped teach you how to start a vegetable garden from scratch. Gardening is a great hobby that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy.
With a little planning and care, anyone can have a successful garden. Have you ever grown a vegetable garden? What tips would you add? Let me know in the comments below.
FAQs: How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch
Q: How To Make A Garden Bed Over Grass?
A: If you’re looking to add a garden bed to your lawn, there are a few things you’ll need to do first. First, you’ll need to mark out the area where you want your garden bed to be.
Once you have the area marked out, you’ll need to remove the grass and vegetation from that area. This can be done by hand or with a land clearing tool like a sod cutter.
After removing the grass, you’ll need to level out where your garden bed will go. It can be done with a shovel, or by renting a mechanical tiller. Once the area is level, you can begin installing your garden bed border.
Once your border is in place, you’ll need to fill your garden bed with soil.
Once your garden bed is filled with soil, you’re ready to plant!
Q: How Do I Prepare The Ground For A Vegetable Garden?
A: The first step in preparing the ground for a vegetable garden is to remove any existing vegetation. This can be done by hand or with a land clearing tool like a sod cutter.
After removing the vegetation, you’ll need to till the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches.
Once the soil is prepared, you can add organic matter like compost or manure to help improve the quality of the soil. After you’ve added organic matter to the soil, you’re ready to plant!
Q: What Vegetables Can I Grow In My Garden?
A: The type of vegetables you can grow in your garden will depend on a few factors, such as your climate zone and the time of year.
Some vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, are only suitable for growing in warm climates. Others, like potatoes, carrots, and garlic, can be grown in most climates.
Q: What Month Should You Start A Garden?
A: The best time to start a garden depends on your climate and what you’re trying to grow. In general, the earlier in the year you can start planting, the better.
In cold climates, plants typically shouldn’t be planted until the ground has thawed and there’s no risk of frost. For warm climates, planting can begin as early as late winter or early spring.
Vegetables that grow above ground (e.g., lettuce, tomatoes) should be planted during the cooler months, while vegetables that grow below ground (e.g., carrots, potatoes) can be planted during the warmer months.
Q: What Is The Secret To Gardening?
A: The secret to gardening lies in caring for your plants. As we know each plant has different needs, so it is important to research what they are before you begin.
Once you know what they need, it simply means providing them with the necessary amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients.
Of course, there will always be unforeseen challenges that come up, but being prepared and staying calm will help you overcome them.
Gardening is an enjoyable pastime that can provide beautiful results if you put in the effort. Keep these things in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master gardener!