We’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to how to start a vegetable garden from scratch.
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First of all, I just want to say you are awesome! Deciding to grow food for yourself even if it’s a little is an amazing thing.
These are my tomatoes from a previous growing season. Nothing like homegrown tomatoes!
So, you want to know how to start a vegetable garden from scratch… but need some quick guidance?
Well, you’re at the right place! Here we will give you helpful tips and resources on how to start growing food no matter where you are.
Starting a vegetable garden should not be difficult, with that being said this guide on how to start a vegetable garden will be simple and easy to follow.
Now it’s time to show you step-by-step on how to start a vegetable garden from scratch
1. Find out your hardiness zone & the last frost date
The Hardiness zone tells you what growing climate you are in, the lower the zone number the cooler the climate.
When you start to understand your growing environment, you can determine which types of plants grow well or not so well in your area.
Don’t stress about it too much, but at least knowing your growing zone will give you a starting point.
When you know your zone, you will then find out your last frost date. Finding out this information will determine when to start growing certain vegetables.
For example: If your last frost date is April 1st and a certain vegetable seed packet states it’s best to start seeds indoors is 3 weeks before your first date, you will wait till around March 11th to start those seeds (that is 3 weeks before April 1st).
I’ll be changing hardiness zones soon so I’m going to take this tip and use it myself! Vegetable gardening is a learning process, so soak up as much information as you can.
Resources & Tips
- To find your Growing Zone click HERE
- Find your last frost date HERE
- I recommend finding a book specifically for the area you gardening in.
- Follow people on social who are in the growing area to get gardening inspiration.
- Watch our top 20 gardenings Youtube channels that are worth following in 2021.
2. Pick a gardening spot & Design your garden space
Whichever area gets the most sun is a good location to start your vegetable garden. Don’t have a yard, then a balcony or widow seal that gets a lot of light is a good location too. If you don’t have either, no worries!
You can mix it up and grow vegetables in different ways too!
Below are informational links to all the different ways to garden.
Various Gardening systems
Resources & Tips
- Try free trials of garden planners: Small Blue Printer Garden Design planner, Growing Veg Design Planner, Gardners Mag Design Planner
- Get plant support like trellis netting or build structures to help your veggies grow on or vertically.
- Draw your garden design on graph paper and outline where you want garden beds, raised beds, or containers.
- If you have a little land to garden, try to garden close to your home to have closer access to a water supply and overall easy access to your homegrown vegetables.
3. Get essential gardening materials & tools
Certainly, you can’t garden without some basic vegetable gardening tools!
Seed starting & maintenance tools:
- organic potting mix- For seed starting
- Planting soil
- heat mat
- seedling Widger
- plant markers
- Vertical container
- Seed starting kit (This kit is excellent &contains 5 basic needs for seed starting!)
- garden growing bags
- vertical Garden Kit
- Seed starting trays
General care essentials:
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch: Supplies Resources & Tips
- Aside from buying on Amazon, you can also get great quality gardening tools from these popular suppliers that I love:
4. Buy soil, compost, mulch & fertilizers
For best-growing results, buy organic soil starter mixes and compost that will ultimately give your vegetables much need nutrients. Since you can get mulch anywhere, you may not need to buy mulch for your vegetable garden.
The more organic matter you have in your vegetable garden the better!
Let’s talk fertilizer! Try out many organic fertilizers that are out there for vegetable gardening. Depending on if your specific vegetable needs a certain nutrient like potassium, nitrogen, etc, keep in mind if you have nutrient-dense compost you might not need that much fertilizer.
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch: Soil Resources & Tips
- You can get soil and compost from local garden & farm stores or stores like Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Tractor supply stores.
- To know how much compost you need, try out this neat mulch calculator!
- Create compost by recycling food scraps, leaves, grass clipping, cardboard, peat moss, or manure from chickens, cows, or horses.
- Mulch can be found for free by using leaves on the ground, grass clippings, and wood chips.
- Fertilizer: Nitrogen– for green leaves Phosphorous– For roots and blooms Potassium– for overall plant health
- One hack is soaking banana peels in water or dry them out to ground up and sprinkle over dirt.
5. Buy seeds or starter plants
This is all up to you if you want to seed start, buy starter plants from a store, or both! I have great seed buying tips below that will give you pointers on how to pick what vegetables seed to buy.
You can buy seeds at big box store or buy seeds online:
Now, if you bought the material and tools we suggest in tip #3, then you should be good to go to start planting from seed.
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch: Seed Resources & Tips
- Check out my 12 Must-know tips: How to choose the right seeds for your garden.
- Buy more starter plants in the beginning so you can start growing and not get intimated by growing from seed at first.
- Beware, containing yourself from buying starter plants is hard to do when you have gardening on your mind now!
- After you buy a couple of seeds, find amazing Seed storage and organization ideas!
6. Transplant your starter plants or store-bought plants
After starting seeds in a seed starter tray, you will need to transplant them in a large container, raised bed, or in the ground when they get larger or have a good amount of roots surrounding the bottom of the plant
Or if you just bought plants from a store, you will need to transplant them into a bigger space as well.
Any gardener will tell you seed starting is a very exciting time. When you place your first couple of seeds in soil and water them you will be fascinated to see the first sights of green pop up.
There are many growing guides out there, but a good one to start with is how to grow lettuce from a seed guide. Lettuce is easy to grow especially in containers.
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch:Transplant Resources & Tips
- Places to transplant: raised beds made of all kinds of material (wood, metal, etc.), bigger containers, or just grow directly in the ground.
- For more information, read this great post from Organic Growers School called Seed vs. Transplant.
- A planting calendar is handy to have when you want to know when to plant vegetables.
7. Water & Care for your garden
Watering all your plants is crucial for their survival just like sunshine is. One way to tell if your plants are not getting enough water is by how they look (might change to yellow color) and how your soil feels (dry or moist).
Have your handy water can or irrigation system in place to help you water all your vegetables. While you are in the garden, feel the soil and if the first inch is dry water may be needed.
Depending on your climate, caring for your plants may look different than other gardeners. Make sure you water your plants enough, apply mulch to keep the soil moist and keep the weeds down in hot or cold weather.
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch: Care Resources & Tips
- A rainy is a good reason not to water your plants, always check the weather!
- Apply mulch to keep the soil moist
- Use mulch to keep the weeds down in hot or cold weather
- In freezing weather, move plants in containers indoors.
- Cover plants with sheets or cloth when freezing temperatures may occur.
Watering, mulching, fertilizing, and keeping your eye out for pests are all part of caring for your vegetable garden!
8. Harvest & Have fun gardening!
Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
During your garden journey, many vegetables will start producing food for you to enjoy. Depending on what type of vegetable, root vegetables, or not, harvesting each vegetable can vary.
Have your garden scissors handy or an extra pair of hands to help harvest all your homegrown vegetables. You will differently taste the difference between grocery store vegetables and your homegrown vegetables.
Can you guess which tastes better?
How to start a vegetable garden from scratch: Harvest Resources & Tips
- Click HERE for a great harvesting guide for all different kinds of vegetables
- Buying a harvesting basket, harvesting bucket or bags will come in handy when you’re ready to harvest.
- Some vegetable plant can be harvested multiple time like Lettuce, Squash, Snap peas, Bean, Spinach
- Other vegetables can be harvested before they get big or fully mature.
- Try to be careful when harvesting and avoid bruising or damaging your vegetables.
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