How to start your first vegetable garden

How to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited Violet

I grew up with parents who sometimes had an acre sized garden.  When we bought our first home three years ago, we knew that finding a yard where we could grow vegetables was a big priority for us!  We’ve been picking vegetables out of our garden for the last three years and we’ve had varying levels of success.  What we have found though?  It is fun to be able to grow your own food!  These are the tips we have found on how to start your first vegetable garden.

BEGIN BY FIGURING OUT YOUR ZONE

Different zones will produce certain plants better, but by knowing what zone you live in you will know what time to plant.  By talking to friends and neighbors (and now through trial and error), we have found that we grow tomatoes, squash, peppers, and corn very well!  We haven’t tried asparagus beans or brussell sprouts before this year, but we’re excited to try!  This information is also easily found on the back of seed packages.

DECIDE IF YOU ARE PLANTING INDOORS OR OUTDOORS

Even though our zone on the seed packaging says we can go ahead and plant outdoors, Devin and myself like to start our vegetable plants indoors.  Vegetables can be planted outside after the last frost of the season; however, Georgia weather is often unpredictable.  If you do decide to plant your vegetables straight into the ground and there is a frost, you should cover your plants at night with a sheet.

How to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited Violet

POUR DIRT INTO YOUR CONTAINER

This is the messy part that we should have done outside our sun room, but I digress.  We patted the dirt into the containers making sure to pay it evenly into all of the compartments.  Although we bought a pre-made planter, you could easily use paper cups to do the same thing!

WET THE DIRT BEFORE PLACING SEEDS IN IT

Wetting the dirt before placing seeds in it is important because it makes it easier to place the seeds.  Our first year, without thinking about it, we watered the dirt after the seeds; many of the seeds came up out of the dirt from the watering and it left us wondering how many things were actually still planted!

How to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited Violet

FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE SEED PACKAGE

Some plants will have directions to plant 2 seeds, but then keep the strongest one for your garden.  Other plants will have spacing requirements because they end up being very greedy in a garden bed!  Some plants like to be planted deeper than others as well.  Use your finger to create a hole in the dirt, place the seed amount the package states into the hole you created with your finger, and pat dirt on the top of seed.

COVER YOUR CONTAINER AND PUT IT BY A SUNNY WINDOW

 This is by far the most fun part because you get to see the plants start growing!  If you opted to use a paper cup, you can use saran wrap on top of the cups.  Watch the plants as they begin growing.  Since we opt to indoor seed our plants, we rotate the dirt box every few days so that the plants grow towards the light evenly.  During this time, we check for stronger plants based on the instructions of the seed packages; some seed packages require you to pick only the strongest plants for outdoor vegetable planting.

How to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited VioletHow to start your first vegetable garden: easy step by step instructions with pictures to help you begin eating your very own home grown vegetables! | via The Spirited Violet

I will follow up this post soon with how to plant your first vegetable garden outside soon!  I always enjoy this time of the year because I can see all of the beautiful flowers growing and because I personally think home grown vegetables always taste best!

Are you growing a garden this year?  What are your rookie gardening tips?

  • Fun! Homegrown veggies are so tasty! Whenever I’ve lived in Michigan (as a child, and then later, when I was in college), I lived in the countryside and we and all our neighbors had gardens. We grew zucchini really, really well, and corn, and yellow squash, and green beans. I really like low-maintenance, high-yield gardens, so those were good for us. We also benefited from the bounty of other people’s gardens during harvest season and that was extra-nice! 🙂
    Here in Malaysia, we’ve tried grown zucchini, but it doesn’t grow well (explains why zucchini is really expensive at the market!)–the only thing my family has ever successfully grown here is a papaya tree, and we eventually cut it down because most of us don’t even like papaya. haha!

    • Papayas sound really yummy, but I can’t imagine having a whole tree full of it either haha! I like what you said there about growing low-maintenance and high yield gardens- I like how you think 🙂

      • I love this post! My husband really wants to start a garden but we might be moving this summer so we’re not sure if it’s worth starting it. We will see! We’re still getting snow on and off so I guess we have time to decide. 🙂

        • I have no idea what I’d do with the dirt in Utah. The ground here is so easy to grow things in…maybe sometimes too easy. We don’t even have to water once we plant our veggies because it rains so much here!

          • I would love to have a garden and you make it seem so doable! I’ve always put it off because I live in a tiny apartment, but this is just the inspiration I needed!

          • Jenna Owens (from A Savory Feast) is one of my childhood friends! Such a small world :).

          • It is a small world- that is really fun! 🙂

          • You should totally do a small herb garden :)! You can do that and have it in indoors!

  • I love this, Autumn! I’ve been cultivating succulents this past year and I think I’ve gotten the hang of it? Maybe I can progress to veggies now! 😉

    • You should totally go for it! I want to have a succulent garden because I think that would be so cute on a window seal 🙂

  • I think vegetable gardening is a real joy. Sadly, our yard is too shady to have a good garden, but I do have some luck with tomatoes, peppers and herbs in pots. I am too much of a procrastinator to start seeds early enough inside, so I buy plants from the nursery.

    • My husband is the advocate for early planting. I’m a bit more like you. Last year, we didn’t plant them early though and our garden was kind of … weak haha. It was a great motivation for us!!

  • Kim

    I haven’t planted a vegetable garden, but I really want to try doing one this year

    • It isn’t too late to begin!! I would love to see pictures of your garden :)!

  • Kim

    Great advice on getting a garden started!

    • Nathana Clay

      Great tips! I am about to order some seeds and get some seed starting supplies for inside. However, I am a bit on the fence about whether to start small with containers this year. We are renting (not a ton of garden space) and we may be moving in the summer. But investing in good pots is pricey. Hmmm . . . . advice?

      • Would you be interested in doing a herb garden? You can keep it indoors and you can even plant them out of tubberware containers (I’m thinking stuff like the sour cream containers). If you’re thinking fancy, you can spray paint the tubberware containers so that it still looks pretty too! That way you can easily move everything, but you don’t have to spend money before you move 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂

  • Zan Turner

    Thanks for the tips. Maybe I should get going and starting the inside. Last year, I started a bit late outside and they did not Flourish. Thanks so much!

    • We started ours late last year too and we didn’t get much out of our garden either. We are definitely hoping for a better plant year this year too!! 😂

      • Zan Turner

        Ya, me, too:)

  • Perfect timing! I was just telling Adam I want to start planting a container garden this weekend. Thinking of mixing veggies and flowers… have you tried that yet? Any tips or tricks to share?

    • With a container garden, I might not mix flowers and veggies if you want a lot of vegetables. Certain vegetables have friends though that help keep bugs or pests away though and my Mom definitely mixed flowers with veggies in the garden!

      Here is an article that talks about how some plants like other plants, but I am sure there are more extensive ones too!: http://www.almanac.com/content/plant-companions-friend-or-foe

  • Jordyn Upchurch

    My husband’s family usually has a huge garden that they use the tractor to plow, plant, etc. I have loved learning all about the veggies & learning about canning and putting them up. It’s a lot of work, but I sure do love it!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

    • I feel very similarly!! Growing up, I didn’t enjoy it, but the older I am getting the more I certainly do! I really would like how to can- my mom is the queen of canning! 🙂

  • Thanks for these tips! I can’t wait until we buy a home and I can start my garden!!!! <3

    • It is a fun part of it!! Have you thought about doing a potted herb garden until you get there?? I just started mine up and I was surprised at how cheap it was!!

      • Yeah! I’ve definitely thought about it but I want to wait until next year whether it’s a container garden or an in ground garden. 🙂

  • Carmen

    Thank you for your helpful tips!! I am starting my garden this year and am so excited. God bless you and your family!!

    • I am so excited to hear you are starting your garden. I hope it turns out wonderfully and I’m glad this was helpful! 🙂 Happy planting!

  • Carmen

    Thank you for your helpful tips!! I am starting my garden this year and am so excited. God bless you and your family!!

    • I am so excited to hear you are starting your garden. I hope it turns out wonderfully and I’m glad this was helpful! 🙂 Happy planting!