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How to Start a Summer Vegetable Garden for Beginners

How to Start a Summer Vegetable Garden for Beginners


Growing a vegetable garden is a great way to bring fresh, nutritious veggies to your table. Knowing where your food comes from is just one benefit of home vegetable gardening. You’ll also save money by buying less from the grocery store and if you have kids, vegetable gardening is a fun way to get the whole family out in the fresh air and sunshine. If you are a beginner at vegetable gardening, don’t be scared, just follow these simple steps for a thriving garden this summer!


Pick the Right Location

When you’re starting your first vegetable garden, take a little time and watch the sun patterns around your home. Most vegetables need a full six hours of sunlight a day, so choose an open area without a lot of trees around. Another thing to consider is the location of your garden.  If you plant your garden at the back of the yard, make sure you're willing to trek out every day or so to check for droopy plants that need water, destructive pests, and produce that’s ready to pick. If you can locate your vegetable garden closer to the house, this will make it easier to harvest fresh produce or pick a handful of herbs while cooking in the kitchen or outside on the grill.


If you are in an apartment or a home that doesn’t have much land, you don’t have to feel left out! If you have a balcony or small patio, you can grow plants like tomatoes and peppers in small planters.  Just make sure they are getting enough sun! 


Make Sure Your Space is Enclosed

When you are building your garden, you will want to consider the wildlife in your area. You wouldn’t want to have a garden full of tomatoes and lettuce only to find that the deer have gotten to them before you!  To avoid this, you will want to make sure that you have a small fence around your garden that deer and other wildlife cannot get through.  For more information, check out this link on how to fully deer-proof your garden!  


Choose Your Veggies

While you might want to start picking all your favorites, you will want to choose your vegetables wisely for a successful garden! When selecting which vegetables you want to plant, pay close attention to the description on the seed packet, tag, or label. Each variety of vegetables comes with specific benefits.  Some do better in a small garden and some will only grow in very warm climates.  You might even want to pick a few different variations of the same vegetables to see what will grow best in your garden and what you like the flavor of most.  Don’t be afraid to ask the greenhouse staff for help picking your seeds or plants! They will know what grows best in your area.

Water, Water, Water

Watering is key to garden success, especially in those warm summer months. During the first few weeks after seeds germinate or seedlings are transplanted, frequent watering keeps plants strong. Once your plants are established, it is a better idea to give your garden a long drink every few days rather than a little sprinkle every day because then the water will move deeper into the soil.  You will also want to take the weather and your travel schedule into account.  If you are frequently away, consider investing in a sprinkler system and if it rains, feel free to skip the watering!


Harvest Your Vegetables 

Harvesting your vegetables is what gardening is all about. Many vegetables can be harvested multiple times during the growing season. Leaf lettuce, for example, will continue to grow and produce after you snip some of the leaves.  Zucchini and cucumber can be harvested when the fruit is a few inches long or larger.  If it looks good enough to eat, it’s safe to say the veggies are ready to eat.   Just make sure to rinse them off and enjoy!


This season is the best time to take your gardening to the next level or start a garden if you haven’t before!  Having fresh veggies and herbs is one of the best things you can do to save money, keep busy and bring fresh ingredients to your table!