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I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when someone takes that first step towards growing a garden of their own.
It can be exciting. It can be daunting. It can be both rewarding and full of crop failures. I’ve chatted before about ‘Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid‘ so today I wanted to share with you some tips if you’re a first-time vegetable gardener.
Tip #1: Start Small
Although you might be super excited to grow lots of food, sometimes you forget how much time you have to devote to your garden or you can’t keep up with your harvests. The first time veggie gardener should go slowly, focus on a few beds instead of many. This will give you a more rewarding experience that you’re more likely to go back to.
Tip #2: Understand Your Climate & Growing Zone
If you don’t know what your local hardiness zone is, you won’t know what crops you can grow in your area (click here for the U.S hardiness zones or here for Canada. Elsewhere ask google 🙂 ). The better understanding you have with your weather challenges, frost dates or general climate limitations the more successful your garden will be. After all you don’t want to plant cool season loving lettuce in your drought summer or tomatoes in your months of potential frosts!
Tip #3: Choose Easier Crops to Grow
Certain veggies are much easier to grow than others, although sometimes it depends on the soil or pests too. In general here are some of the easier crops to grow:
- Zucchini/summer squash
- Green/string beans
- Arugula & Mesclun greens
See the full list of easy crops to grow here.
You should also avoid the hardest crops to grow.
Tip #4 Observe & Take Notes
This would be my #1 advice to beginner gardeners. Even if you’ve never read a gardening book in your life, take seasonal notes of your weather, pests, problems, successes, what you did right and what you struggled with. Keeping a garden journal will help you problem solve and troubleshoot growing or pest challenges. This will help you ask questions and seek out that knowledge and answers which will make you a better gardener in the long run and full of gardening wisdom as the years go on!
Growing your first garden will be the best thing you ever do! Even if you get very little harvests that year you’re taking a great step towards growing some food for yourself or your family!
Here’s a more detailed beginner gardening post & one on starting your new garden.
Want to learn more about garden planning? Check out my book.
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.