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How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Growing up, my mom and I have always planted a huge garden in the summer. We’ve grown all sorts of vegetables and even some fruit! It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing and the unlimited fresh vegetables are definitely a plus. It can also help cut costs if you’re spending too much on groceries. Gardening is also amazing for the environment. It helps reduce our carbon foot print and can reduce pollution. Planting a garden can seem like big task, but in reality it’s pretty easy. A lot of vegetables are low effort and produce an abundace of food. If you find yourself with too much produce, it makes a great gift for neighbors and friends.

Buying the Essentials

You really don’t need a whole lot to start a garden. You’ll need a spot of land (or pots for a potted garden), a trellis for climbing plants, and some sort of starter plant. Starter plants can come in the form of seeds or nursery plants depending on when you’re starting the garden. For our purposes, I’ll explain the process involving nursery plants because it’s typically easier. 

Delegating Space

Gardens can require a good amount of space. Your plants need space away from each other to grow. When you buy nursery plants, they’ll come with a tag explaining how much space away from other plants they need. Some plants, like tomatos, need a cage around them to grow, so you need to take that into account. Also, there are some climbing vegetables like green beans and cucumbers that will need a trellis or wall to grow onto. A lot of these can be planted in planters and pot, but make sure you give your plants their space they need.

Planning Your Garden

Planning your garden ahead of time will make sure you’re using your space the best to your ability. If you plan your layout ahead of time, you will be able to maximize your space and get the most out of your vegetables. You should have everything planned out before you start buying plants.

Choosing Vegetables

This can be one of the hardest parts of building your garden. There are summer season and cool season vegetables. If you know that you’re going to be away a majority of the summer you might not want to pick vegetables like tomatos that grow in the middle of the summer. If this is your first garden, you might want to pick some easier vegetables like lettuce and cabbage. 

Taking Care of Your Garden

You’ll want to water your garden frequently, making sure that you’re watering the soil and not the foiliage. Check how often each of your individual plants need water and water according to that. You will also need to make sure you keep weeds out of your garden plot so they don’t take necessary nurtients from the plants.

Harvesting Your Garden

You’ll probably know when your vegetables are ready to be picked based on looks. Once your produce starts coming in, you’ll need to harvest almost daily. Some plants grow rapidly and a lot of food will come in at the same time. You should also be checking your vegetables for any irregularites in color, shape, and size. This could be a problem with your plants and can indicate issues with watering. 

Vegetable gardens are very rewarding when done right. Ample amount of planning and research needs to go in before anything can be planted. It may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, but it will grealy benefit you in the future. Now is the perfect time to start your dream garden. Happy gardening!


HCXO, Jenna

Jenna Case

Millersville '20

Hello! I'm Jenna, I am an Applied Engineering major from Harrisburg, PA. I love to spend time with my family, and write! In my free time, I can usually be found watching Netflix or bullet journaling. For more about me, you can follow me on my Instagram @jennaccase
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