How to Begin a Vegetable Garden

Harvest fresh produce from your own vegetable garden. image by damil/


You want to help beat the high cost of food. You love working with your hands. You're concerned about the quality of local produce. These are just a few of the reasons why you may want to start a vegetable garden. Plan carefully and prepare the vegetable site wisely, and you can enjoy fresh vegetables for years to come.

Step 1

Decide what you and your family like to eat. Tomatoes may be the most popular vegetable to grow, but if you only buy three a year, it makes no sense to plant them. Make a list of all your favorite vegetables. Write down how much of each variety you use each summer, and plan your garden accordingly.

Step 2

Use seed catalogs and online gardening sites to investigate how each vegetable grows. Some grow on vines, some on bushes and some as roots in the ground. Basic research will tell you how much room each vegetable plant will take. Use graph paper to mark out a rough sketch of where you want to put each plant, and how large your garden will be.

Step 3

Use the shovel to completely dig up the planned garden site. Remove any grass or weeds from the soil. Mix in compost or fertilizer with the remaining dirt, adding additional topsoil if needed.

Step 4

Push stakes into the ground all around the outside of the garden, and stretch string from one end to the other to mark each individual portion of the garden. This will make it easier to identify your tomato plants from your cucumber vines when they start to come up.

Step 5

Use planting guides to plant your seeds or seedlings. Space your plants carefully, and don't overcrowd them. This may seem like a lot of space between each little seedling, but they will need the room by the time they are producing vegetables. Rake your soil smooth over the seeds and water thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep your garden moist, especially when it is first being established. Don't let new plants dry out.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Paper and pencil
  • Seeds and/or seedlings
  • Compost or fertilizer


  • National Gardening Association
  • Organic Gardening new garden page
Keywords: begin vegetable garden, plan vegetable garden, garden site

About this Author

Anne Baley is a writer and photographer living in Southeast Michigan. She has written numerous articles about places she has discovered while traveling throughout the United States. Baley's work has appeared in a variety of online outlets, including Endless Sunday.

Photo by: damil/