Are you thinking about starting a vegetable garden this year? Starting a vegetable garden can be intimidating if you are a beginner, but it just takes a little planning and a sunny spot.
Grow With Me Gardening Series
This is part of the Grow With Me Gardening Series here at Cottage On Bunker Hill. I want to teach you ways of starting, maintaining, and enjoying gardening. I will share all the tips & tricks that I have learned over the years growing both vegetable and flower gardens here in the Northeast.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love plants and flowers. Everyone in my family gardened so it came naturally to me. There’s something so therapeutic about digging in the dirt and watching things grow.
We moved to this house in the Fall so I had the winter months to plan out my new garden -it helped me get through freezing February..ugh if you live in New England you know just how long February can feel!!
I’m going to show you the steps I went through to start a new vegetable garden at my house and tips for how you can start a garden of your own this year.
Step by Step Guide To Starting a Vegetable Garden
Step 1. Find a sunny location for your vegetable garden
One of the most important things you need to determine is just how much sun your garden will be able to get.
You want to find a location in your yard that gets at least 6 hours of full sun. Most vegetables like even more than that but 6 is the minimum to look for when picking out a good spot to start a vegetable garden.
The spot I picked has sun all day long. From morning until late afternoon so it’s the perfect location.
Another important thing to take into consideration is how close is the garden to a water source. You will need to have a hose be able to reach your garden because you can’t depend on rain doing all the work for you.
I’m starting this garden out 16 feet by 16 feet this year. You can see how this garden space has evolved over the past few years and is now 20 ft by 40 now. I wrote about vegetable gardening here and I documented my big garden expansion and addition of a cutting garden here.
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Step 2. Prepare the area for a vegetable garden
Once the ground thawed out, the area was rototilled. Rototilling turns the soil over and loosens it.
After the garden area was tilled I amended the soil by adding a combination of compost and a good quality garden blend from a local nursery.
I wanted my garden to have a cottage look to it and found a garden fence kit online that would be perfect. (Unfortunately, I believe it’s discontinued so I can’t link the source for you).
Step 3. Plot out your garden
After I finished putting up my fence I had to figure out how I was going to plot out my garden space.
You can grab a piece of graph paper and draw out your garden to get an idea of where you want to place your vegetable plants.
I like to physically move around my trellises and plant supports to see how everything will fit.
I’m a big advocate of vertical gardening and if I can grow plants up on supports I will.
Vertical gardening is when you use vertical supports and trellises to train your vegetable plants to grow up as opposed to trailing along the ground. You can grow more vegetables in a smaller area using the vertical gardening method.
I find it’s easier to harvest and easier to notice bugs or disease hitting the plants later in the season-plus I just love how it looks.
I bought two metal raised beds for herbs and small veggies(radishes, carrots, lettuce).
Step 4. Plant your vegetable garden
I made a couple of teepees from 5ft bamboo poles tied at the top with jute to grow some decorative climbing flowers.
The wooden tent trellis is where I planted early peas (sugar snaps and snow). The big metal trellis is for cucumbers. The back portion of the garden was for the tomatoes and pepper plants and a willow teepee for green beans.
I planted a row of sunflower seeds outside the back of the fence along the entire edge. I took advantage of every square inch of this space and tucked in a couple of broccoli plants on the fence edge of one garden bed and a row of leeks along the other one.
I also added a row of metal grids along the right wall of the garden for mini pumpkins and squash.
Here are a few of my favorite vegetables that are easy to grow for beginners:
- Sungold Tomato (buy a plant)
- Sweet 100s Tomato(buy a plant)
- Early Girl Tomato (buy a plant)
- Straight 8 Cucumber (start seeds directly in the garden)
- Marketmore 76 Cucumber (start seeds directly in the garden)
- Burpee Mammoth Melting Sugar Peas (early Spring/Fall)
- Snap Peas (early Spring/Fall)
- Blue Lake Pole Beans
- Fordhook Zucchini (sow seeds directly in the garden)
Step 5. Watch it grow
As you can see, growing vegetable vertically also looks pretty. Here’s the start of the green beans starting to wind their way up the willow teepee.
I love how the green beans have filled the teepee completely in the picture on the right.
By late Summer, my new vegetable garden was flourishing. Pretty amazing considering this was a plot of grass just a few months ago!!
One fun idea that I really love to do is to add flowers around your vegetable garden. It adds pops of color to all the green. Cosmos, sunflowers, marigolds, and sweet peas are a few good choices.
Favorite Gardening Books
- Square Foot Gardening
- The Complete Gardener
- The Vegetable Gardner’s Bible
- The New Seed-Starters Handbook
my garden favorites
My favorite part of starting a vegetable garden is all the fresh veggies!! There is nothing like eating something you just picked!!
More Gardening Ideas…
‘”To Plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” –Audrey Hepburn