Spring is in full swing – at least this week, anyway! I know it snowed last week, but I’m positive that will be the last of winter for a while!! 

With warmer weather upon us, it is the perfect time to try vegetable gardening! Take it from me – you don’t need a green thumb to get started! Vegetable gardens are a great way to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and is a fun activity that the whole family can get involved with!

If you’ve never grown a vegetable garden before, here are some tips to help you get started!

  1. Choose the right spot! Find a location with a lot of sunshine and little afternoon shade. You might have to spend a little bit of time watching the light in your yard at different times of the day to see when shadows hit, but you will be glad you did! Direct sunlight will help those veggies grow! And keep in mind that this spot doesn’t have to be very big! Even if you have a small yard, you can still grow things – I’ve even grown tomatoes in a pot before!
  2. Determine which types of beds you want! For this step, you have many different options….You can try raised beds, which is the simplest way to start a vegetable garden! For raised beds, you can build a square foot bed or use a galvanized animal trough. This type of gardening is great because it has a built-in weed barrier and you don’t’ have to till the soil! Pots are a great solution if space is an issue. As I mentioned above, I have successfully grown tomatoes in a pot before! You can also try lettuce, peppers, herbs, and garlic. The great benefit with pots is that you can easily move them to find the best sun! Finally, you have the option of planting your veggies directly into the soil. You can use a tiller to prepare the soil ahead of time, and prepare rows of mounds for planting! 
  3. Decide if you want starter plants or seeds! Some seeds like lettuce are great for growing. However, others – like broccoli – are better with starter plants. If you are new to gardening, you might want to start with starter plants rather than trying to propagate from seeds. Choose plants that have strong stems and a good color. I’d keep a budget of around $30 – and for this, you should be able to get between 20-25 plants! 
  4. WATER! You will need to water your garden every day!! Hand watering is a great way to do this, so that you can check for bugs while you do so. Plan for between 15-20 minutes/day. It can actually be a great way to relax at the end of a long day!
  5. Watch out for bugs! As I mentioned, when you water, you should be on the lookout for bugs, which can wreak havoc on your hard work! There are many organic and natural methods you can use to get rid of pests – anything from cayenne pepper to garlic pepper tea (bend together garlic, jalapeno peppers, and water) will work! I try to stay away from pesticides, so I can keep my garden as “clean” as possible!

There you have it! Everything you need to get started gardening! Good luck!