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Vegetable Gardens

A garden that exists to grow vegetables and other plants useful for human consumption.

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How and why to start a vegetable garden

  • Feb 22, 2010
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I speak from experience when I say that starting a vegetable garden is a valuable learning project and can grow into other healthy interests.  The White House now has a vegetable garden and you can too. One of the reasons for Michelle Obama wanting a veggie garden at the White House was to create buzz for the fact that vegetable gardens are great things to have at your home. Having a vegetable garden is even a way to save money. Starting one isn't that difficult when you are properly prepared.

What should I plant and where should I put my garden?

Before you do anything you need to answer two questions, "What do I want to plant?" and "Do I have the space to plant these things?" The easy answer is to plant what you and/or your family's favorite vegetables. How much space you will need will depend on what you are planting and how much of it you plan on planting. You should start out with a small garden about 25 to 30 squared feet. As a beginner, you should start with as few as one plant type or as many as three and just try to get the hang of these plants your first year. Tomatoes are a good starter plant to grow. If you have the space and the fortitude you can start with a larger space. Just be careful and don't get over your head. Don't be too disappointed if you don't get the results you are expecting your first year. Gardening is a learning process. Not everyone has a green thumb their first year.

Setting up your own vegetable garden is not that difficult. Most vegetables do best in full sun, so pick a site for your vegetable garden that is flat and gets a good amount of sun throughout the day. If you don't have a large yard, or any yard at all, you can have a vegetable garden in containers.

What will I need?

Before you start growing anything, you will need to be prepared with the right tools.  You most likely need all of the following:garden tools

  • garden trowel
  • hoe
  • garden gloves
  • rake
  • shovel
  • watering can
  • fertilizer, compost would be best

When should I plant?

Even if you live in a warm climate, you still will not be able to grow any fruit or vegetable at any time of year. Before you begin planting, do some research on your region. Make sure you are starting at the right time, after all signs of frost. Most likely, a nursery near you will not be selling plants that you can’t grow in your area, but it is still not foolproof. If you purchase from a catalog or off the internet, you need to know you are getting the right plants. For best results find which zone you live in the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. The seeds that you buy will tell you which zones are best for success.

How do I prepare the soil?

To prepare your ground for a vegetable garden you must first clear off all of the grass. A tiller works best in this case, but you may be able to get by with using a hoe. Turn over the soil with a hoe or a rake and make sure that you get out all of the rocks and roots from the soil. Once everything is cleaned off of the soil, put on some compost or mild, slow release fertilizer. Rake in the compost with the soil.

Now, can I plant the seeds (or plants)?

Yes.  Read the directions from the seed packets or plants that you bought for best results. These will tell you again which region is best for planting, when to plant, whether the plants like full sun, how far apart to plant the seeds and how deep to sow the seeds.

If rows are needed, make them using a hoe at an angle. Plant the seeds according to the correct depth and distance apart. Now cover seeds or plants with lose soil once again making sure the proper depth is achieved.

Everything is planted, now what?

You need to give your seeds or plants a good first soaking with water. After that, you need to make sure you water your plants on a regular basis. Keep an eye on the weather and if you notice your plants are getting dry and it’s not supposed to rain anytime soon, get out your hose and water them thoroughly, but don’t drown them. It is possible to over-water them. Next, you need to always remember to weed your garden. With any outdoor garden, your plants will be in danger of weeds. Any plant that ends up in your garden, whether it be grass, dandelions, or a familiar flower, needs to be removed. Not only does it look bad, but it will steal all the nutrients and water from your plants and might kill them.

I hope that this will encourage you to start a vegetable garden, if you can.  It will be good for you and your family in more ways than one.

How and why to start a vegetable garden How and why to start a vegetable garden

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March 09, 2010
I've been wanting to learn how to start a garden, thanks for posting this article. I'm rather limited on space so I may just start out with herbs... do you know anything about basil and oregano and what not? Or have you already posted something? If so I'll go find it. Thanks for the info!
March 09, 2010
Glad to hear you want to start a garden. I don't know too much about growing herbs. It was something my mom did, but I didn't get into. Garlic is the only herb gardening I've ever done. Hopefully someone with herb garden experience can be of more help.
March 02, 2010
Once again some great stuff here. Not only do you get some great produce out of the deal but tending to a garden can be very therapuetic as well. It's a reason to go outside and get some fresh air and a little exercise!
March 02, 2010
Thanks. Like composting, my dad got me into gardening over 20 years ago. You're right, gardening is therapy for me. I love growing my favorite foods and have them so fresh and I also save money. I would advise anyone who has never done it before to do so.
March 02, 2010
Excellent stuff Clay. A great intro to veg gardening. Do you use compost bins?
March 02, 2010
Thanks.  Yes I do have a compost bin. I even wrote about Composting at Home.  My dad got me into composting about twenty years ago. 
March 02, 2010
Aha, misssed that one. Thanks.
March 01, 2010
wow! Unfortunately my thumb isn't green but it is yellow LOL! Seriously, very nice write up! Too bad I live in a barren concrete condo now ha ha!
March 01, 2010
Well hopefully you have at least one plant in your condo. Anyone can have one and not kill it. Just add water.
March 01, 2010
yes I do. A friend gave me that only requires to be watered once a week and needs no sunlight. .
February 22, 2010
Nice, Clay!  This sounds great because it's eco- and economically-friendly, and perhaps even delicious.  I wish I had a larger garden to plant more of my own veggies, but right now, I have a mini side garden when I plant my own cherry tomatoes and a few herbs.  I'll keep your tips in mind.  Thanks for sharing! :)
February 23, 2010
Thanks. Cherry tomatoes and herbs are great for a small garden. Some may be surprised what they can grow in a small space. Many have grown veggies and fruit from their apartment balconies in pots. I have a couple of cherry tomatoes plants every year. They're easy to grow and they are very prolific.
March 02, 2010
Veggies and fruit in pots? I didn't think that that was possible, but I'll look into that! By the way, I changed the name of the topic to "vegetable garden" because I thought it was more appropriate for obvious reasons ;) Frees up "gardening" for you! And congrats on making it into this week's list of new and notables! :)
March 02, 2010
You can grow most things in pots or special bags - potatoes can be grown in bags which is a great space saver and really easy to get at when its time to dig them out. I've grown quite a bit in hessian shopping bags from Asda (walmart) that my dogs have bitten the handles off :)
March 02, 2010
Thanks Zombie. Yep, if the pot is big enough and the soil is deep enough your choices are practically endless in what fruit, veggies and plants that you can grow in them. I've grown potatoes before, but not in bags. Sounds like a neat and fun option for those with no space outdoors.
More Vegetable Gardens reviews
Quick Tip by . March 01, 2010
When I was little I would spend every summer eating from my grandma's veggie garden! Would love to have my own now, I need some land!
About the reviewer
Clay Miller ()
Graphic designer/illustrator and owner of Miller Creative Designs, LLC who on likes to shareinsight on Greenand health insight, ideas and other tidbits.Creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen .com& … more
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A vegetable garden (also known as a vegetable patch or vegetable plot) is a garden that exists to grow vegetables and other plants useful for human consumption, in contrast to a flower garden that exists for aesthetic purposes. It is a small-scale form of vegetable growing. A vegetable garden typically includes a compost heap, and several plots or divided areas of land, intended to grow one or two types of plant in each plot. It is usually located to the rear of a property in the back garden or back yard. Many families have home kitchen and vegetable gardens that they use to produce food. In World War II, many people had a garden called a 'victory garden' which provided food to families and thus freed up resources for the war effort.

With worsening economic conditions and increased interest in organic and sustainable living, many people are turning to vegetable gardening as a supplement to their family's diet. Food grown in the back yard consumes little if any fuel for shipping or maintenance, and the grower can be sure of what exactly was used to grow it. Organic horticulture, or organic gardening, has become increasingly popular for the modern home gardener.

There are many types of vegetable gardens. The potager, a garden in which vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown together, has become more popular than the more traditional rows or blocks.
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