How-To: Starting a Home Vegetable Garden

Ready to grow your own food, but not sure where to start? Here is the ultimate beginner's guide to growing veggies! Follow the guide and watch those veggies grow.

cucumbers in vegetable garden

The idea of starting a home vegetable garden may be very appealing. Who wouldn’t be proud to grow their own food? Unfortunately, not everybody knows how to get started. Or more importantly, how to keep it maintained to ensure continued growth and production. Read below to find out what materials you need and what steps to take to start — and tend — your very own vegetable garden.

Before: How to Start Your Own Vegetable Garden

First things first: Start with a plan. Once you’ve decided the specifics about where your garden will be and what you will grow in it, it’s time to gather your materials and put your plan in motion.

We recommend starting with either a raised-bed garden or a container garden, as it can get a little hairy (and back-breaking, for that matter) if you try to work with your existing soil. Another plus? When you go the raised-bed or container route, you don’t have to worry as much about pesky weeds, and you’ll likely get a better yield.

The most important aspect to consider with either garden type is the soil. You certainly want to make sure you provide the best growing environment for your plants, so it’s wise to get advice from a professional at the nursery when you purchase your plants. He or she should recommend a mixture of soil, conditioner and compost, all of which you can purchase in conveniently packed bags.

During: How to Tend a Garden

Once you’ve established a sunny spot for your garden and planted everything in nutrient-rich soil, there’s only one thing left to do: Water, water, water! It’s one of the most vital components of strong, healthy, productive plants, so you need to make sure you stay on top of it. Review your specific plants’ watering needs, and follow them to a “T.” If you live in an area that gets especially hot, you may need to water more often. The best time of day to water the plants? Early in the morning.

In addition, don’t be afraid to pick your ripe vegetables. In fact, once harvesting season begins, pick the ripened crops regularly to encourage the plants to produce more. 

After: Tips for Maintaining Vegetable Gardens

It only takes a little TLC to reap major results. However, sometimes nature appears to go a little overboard, and it requires you to perform occasional maintenance on your vegetable garden. Follow these tips to be prepared for anything nature throws at you:

  • Although you’ll spend much less time removing weeds with a raised-bed or container garden, you still may find a few from time to time. To keep from being overwhelmed, try to do a weekly run-through to remove the weeds that have popped up.
  • It’s almost inevitable: The nearby wildlife may discover your garden is just as appealing to them as it is to you. Prepare for pests by installing fencing, netting or wire cages around the garden. Mulch is also a good deterrent for certain animals.
  • Like the wildlife, insects may find your garden to be a veritable delight. Consider planting flowers and herbs that naturally repel pests alongside your vegetables. For example, rosemary and sage repel cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.
  • To reduce the chances of fungal disease, water the soil rather than the leaves of the plants. If you use a sprinkler, use it early in the day, so the leaves have time to dry by nightfall.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.