Vegetable Gardening: Getting Started

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You have decided to try your hand at this growing of the vegetables. Awesome! It is not terribly difficult. But it is a learning experience. I always immerse myself in any new hobby or venture. I read every book and article I can find on the subject, and now with the availability of how-to videos, even spend time on YouTube.

What in the World Am I Doing?

Driveway container garden: pole beans, tomatoes, parsley and oregano

Driveway container garden: pole beans, tomatoes, parsley and oregano

  • Order heirloom and organic seed catalogs
  • Visit or call county extension service: classes, advice
  • Community garden: visit, sign up for classes, volunteer, rent a plot
  • Start small: one raised bed and/or a couple of containers
  • Choose easy-to-grow vegetables: radishes, leaf lettuce, cucumbers, pole beans, snow or sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, dill, oregano
  • Buy heirloom seeds and help preserve these varieties
  • Call seed company and ask for recommendations
  • Use the best soil and compost you can afford — do not skimp on compost
  • Read everything you can get your hands on; lots of online material available: Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew, Garden Way’s Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond, The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash
  • Make friends with local gardeners; many will share plants and seeds
  • Grow vegetables that cost you the most to buy organic: garlic, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.
  • Decide what your gardening style is and cultivate that style
  • Start planning your garden
  • Just do it!

Do not make the mistake of trying to grow vegetables in too-small containers. This is the biggest mistake most beginners make. And do not skimp on the organic compost mixed in with the soil. You will not regret the extra expense of that compost; it is black gold.

Sow some seeds directly in the ground: cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, pumpkin

Sow some seeds directly in the ground: cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, pumpkin

Avoid pesticides: they kill beneficial as well as pest insects.

Avoid pesticides: they kill beneficial as well as pest insects.

Snow peas grown on a trellis are not only tasty, they are beautiful

Snow peas grown on a trellis are not only tasty, they are beautiful

Sow lettuce seeds thickly and harvest baby leaves by cutting 1" above ground.  You will get a continuous harvest as they grow back.

Sow lettuce seeds thickly and harvest baby leaves by cutting 1″ above ground. You will get a continuous harvest as they grow back.

Peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes like a lot of warmth and direct sunlight.  Growing them in large containers on a deck might be a good choice.

Peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes like a lot of warmth and direct sunlight. Growing them in large containers on a deck might be a good choice.

So many easy ways to start seeds.

So many easy ways to start seeds.

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