Growing your own vegetables isn’t a complicated process, but it does take time and effort. If you’re a beginner looking to grow vegetables at home, this is the place to start. From basic gardening tips to greenhouse gardening, here’s everything you need to get your hands dirty.
Ways to grow vegetables in the garden
The first step when you want to grow your own vegetables is deciding how you should do it. There’s no one-size-fits-all way that’s best, but depending on your location and weather conditions, there are certainly ways that will create more success. Here are your options.
1. Raised garden beds
Practiced gardeners will tell you that one of the ways that you can be successful in gardening is by having a deep layer of fertile soil. Rich soil encourages the healthy growth of roots with added nutrients and soil, which results in productive growth above ground. Raised beds will not only but also enable you to grow more because you can plant up to four times as much as you would in rows. The plants also grow close enough together that you’ll spend less time water, weeding, and harvesting. Save time, maximize efficiency, and increase your yield as a beginner with raised beds.
Some vegetables grow particularly well in a raised bed. These include…
- Root vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips)
- Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale)
Ready to get started? Check out How to Build Raised Garden Beds to start building one of your own. You can also find them online or at your local nursery or hardware store if you’d rather purchase. Make sure to buy a sturdy one as this is a long term investment. Our personal favorite is the Greenes Fence cedar raised bed.
Photo source: Rhino Garden Supply
To start planting in a raise bed, you’ll need to purchase soil. The best mixture to use in raised garden bed is 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost, and 10 percent potting soil. Some people add a layer of black landscaping fabric (fuzzy side down) at the bottom of the bed to help control weeds. If you choose to do this, secure it with staples. Use this soil calculator to gauge how much soil you’ll need to use.
2. Directly in the ground
If you’re growing vegetables outdoors, you can use a method called direct sowing. When you do this, you’re tucking seeds right into the soil. Unlike planting seedlings indoors or inside a greenhouse, direct sowing exposes your vegetables to more unpredictable elements. Weather, wildlife, and insects can impact your yield. That said, depending on your conditions, you can still be successful with this method.
There are a few keys to success when planting directly into the ground. First, you’ll want to prepare the soil using a rake or hand fork to loosen the soil. This will help to break apart large soil clumps. You should also take care to remove any debris (sticks, rocks, roots) while adding in fertilizing or organic matter.
Next, pay attention to the proper planting depth as described by the seed packet. While some seeds should be planted at a depth equal to three times its diameter, others require light to germinate. Thus, planting it at the correct depth is important to success.
Then, mark where you planted your seedlings with signage, so you remember where they are buried. Learn what they look like, so you won’t dislodge them believing they are weeds once they begin to grow. When you water your plants, do so gently in a mist or shower. If you spray them too vigorously, this can cause damage to your seedling.
3. Garden greenhouse
A greenhouse is a woord or metal structure with plastic or glass panels. It will allow light to penetrate and air to circulate while protecting your crops from outside elements, such as rain, snow and winds. The most popular greenhouses are polycarbonate or plastic greenhouses, they give you great value for money and are relatively easy to set up! Greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes, so you’re sure to find a perfect match for you. Depending on how far you want to take the greenhouse growing and on your climate, you can decide to add heating in winter and extra ventilation in summer.
The benefits of a greenhouse are numerous, especially when you consider where you live. Since the purpose of a greenhouse is to shield crops from negative external factors, you can continue to grow vegetables in the winter or summer despite extreme high or low temperatures.
Growing vegetables at home with a greenhouse has never been so easy. We help beginners find their perfect greenhouse match. Head over to our “start here” section and check out our must-read articles to get you started with greenhouse gardening.
Growing vegetables indoors
Inevitably, most plants will need more space than any pot can provide them. That said, there are a handful of vegetables that you can start in containers and transplant if necessary. This list includes potatoes, chard, lettuce, cherry and bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, Asian greens, pole beans, and herbs.
- 4-5″: chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander
- 6-7″: bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, Asian greens, peas, mint, thyme
- 8-9″: pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary
- 10-12″: beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass
If you’re looking at this option, Urban Gardening with Vegetables is a great place to start.
One way to grow vegetables indoors is to install an indoor greenhouse (did you know such a thing existed?) to grow vegetables from any sunny spot IN your house.
Indoor greenhouses offer you loads of benefits and you will find there’s a suitable option for everyone. You can go for a miniature greenhouse or go for full fletched model, the choice is yours. We’ve written an article to help you find the best indoor greenhouse for your needs.
Another great way to home grow herbs and vegetables indoors is the Click & Grow indoor garden. It’s a bit costly if you ask us, but it’s an innovative product. It uses biodegradable plant capsules you need to insert, pretty much like a Nespresso machine. We do feel that the capsule system limits the overall plant growth. The Click & Grow Garden 9 is nicely designed, has an automatic watering system and grow lights. It has room for 9 plants or herbs. The Click & Grow Garden 9 is directly available from the Click & Grow web shop or here on Amazon.
If you don’t like the use of capsules to grow your plants, the best alternative is the Aerogarden. It’s a similar system, maybe not as flawlessly designed as the Click & Grow indoor garden, but it works perfect! Both the Aerogarden Bounty Basic and the Aerogarden Classic 6 Elite offer great value for money.
Tips to grow your own vegetables
Every gardener has to start somewhere! It may seem like a big task at first to grow a garden, but you can do it. Here are some tips that everyone starting out should know. And when in doubt, be patient!
If you have the space, it can be so tempting to take on a huge plot all at once. Yet, sometimes it really pays to start small and work your way up. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with something too large initially. Even if you want to build a greenhouse, you don’t have to start with a 12×12 one. A 6×8 greenhouse may help you get your footing in the world of vegetable growing before you upgrade to a larger space.
Treat it like buying a house
Okay, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but finding the right plot is pretty much like finding the right house. You need to shop around a bit! It’s all about the real estate. The part of your yard where you choose to start your garden should be somewhere you normally see. You’re much more likely to spend time in it and take care of it if it’s commonly in sight.
Use high-quality seeds
If there’s anywhere you want to go “budget” when gardening, seeds isn’t one of them! Think about it, this will ultimately be your final product. Therefore, high-quality seeds can really make or break what that vegetable will grow to be. Seed packets can be pretty inexpensive, but if they don’t germinate then that’s a lot of time wasted. Spend those extra cents investing upfront so you have something to show for your efforts at the end of the season.
Plant and harvest at the right times
Did you know that each vegetable has their own planting dates? This means that you’ll succeed best when you plan to plant according to their schedule – not yours. While it may be a tad frustrating, you’ll learn a lot about the individual plant as you move through this process. If you need a hand, the magic gardening calendar will tell you exactly when to plant.
Must have supplies to get started
If you stand in the gardening section at any store, you’ll see how much is out there. It’s easy to go overboard when purchasing supplies for a new hobby. How much of it do you really need to grow vegetables at home? What will make or break your success? What can’t you do without? These twelve items are essential to get started. As you continue to maintain your garden, you can always add to your supplies!
- Gloves: Water resistant, durable, fitted gloves that help protect your hands and wrists are a must. From splinters to thorns to dirt, your hands are one of your most valuable assets, and you want to keep them safe.
- Pruning shears: There are a few different types of pruning shears, but hand pruners help to reign in any plants that are getting out of control and taking over your garden.
- Garden fork: An efficient tool for turning soil and a more effective way to dig into dense soil than a spade.
- Hand trowel: A helpful tool for transplanting bedding plants and herbs as well as removing weeds.
- Spade: A must-have tool that helps with edging, digging holds, and moving small mounds of dirt from one area to the other.
- Rake: A tool that helps you to remove leaves and other debris from your garden.
- Hoe: Cut down weeds and prepare your garden bed with this essential tool.
- Watering can: This one you may already know! You’ll find either plastic or metal watering cans as an option. A metal can will last longer but should be rust resistance if you go this route. The handle should also be strategically placed so that you can tip and pour it easily.
- Gardening hose with adjustable nozzle: Your hose should be able to reach every single area of your garden, so make sure you have enough length! The adjustable nozzle will help you control the water pressure and spray, so you don’t damage or dislodge any of your plants (especially when you’re in the seedling phase).
- Wheelbarrow: A must-have once your operations get a little bigger! If your backyard has extra soil that needs to be moved around or you want to move soil into your greenhouse, a wheelhouse can help you haul hundreds of pounds. There are two different options here: traditional dual-handle, single-wheel or single-handle, two-wheel. The latter is better for those with limited strength or when pulling over uneven terrain.
Easiest vegetables to grow at home
Are you looking for some cost-effictive the vegetables you absolutely can’t mess up? It’s true – some plants are easier to grow than others, and it’s worth finding success in some beginner vegetables before moving on to the harder ones. Here’s a quick and easy list that you can start with and then expand on when you’re ready to grow you garden.
Why is it easy? It can grow almost anywhere year-round! It does well with less sun and is rarely bothered by pests.
Why is it easy? If you’re ready to plant it and forget it, you’ll love potatoes in your garden almost as much as you love French fries. The tubers do need to stay covered, and you’ll have to keep the varmints away. Other than that, low maintenance as can be!
Why is it easy? These will be the first vegetable ready in your spring garden! Easy to grow for any beginner.
Why is it easy? Tomatoes need three things to be a success staple in your garden: water, sun, and staking. You’ll also get quite the harvest from one plant!
Why is it easy? They’ll grow as long as they have water they like. It’s as easy as that.
Find the ultimate care guides on any vegetable you could want to grow right here.
Which vegetables grow in winter?
When you think of wintertime, you probably don’t think of harvesting any crops. However, you can still grow vegetables at home during the winter and have plenty of fresh produce to eat! Here’s a quick list of veggies that are hardy and survive well in the cold.
- Onions and shallots
- Spring onions
- Perpetual spinach
- Broad beans
If you have a greenhouse, you can also grow these vegetables at home. These plants need a little bit more protection, but as long as they have that they can still thrive and survive.
- Pak choi
- Lambs lettuce
- Land cress
Growing vegetables at home has never been so easy! You now have the tools to start up your own vegetable plot. Whether you go for an indoor garden, a raised garden bed outside or buy yourself a small greenhouse, you won’t regret it. So start today and have veggies in your fridge before you know it.