How to Start a Vegetable Garden 101

Start small or go big. Whatever garden you prefer, success begins with a little planning.

Score Some Early Successes

So you want to grow some vegetables. Maybe some herbs, too. But you don't know where or how to start. No problem. Some vegetables are so easy, they practically take off on their own, while others need to be nurtured carefully. You can start small with a container garden, or go with a raised bed or in-ground garden. Whatever garden you prefer, success starts with a little planning.

Getting Started

Whether you plant in containers, raised beds, or in-ground, choose a site that offers as much sunlight as possible. You want soil or potting mix that drains well and stays moist but not soggy. Be sure to water regularly (with container gardens, you may need to water daily when warm weather arrives), and pull out weeds. 

Your First Container Garden

If you want to start with a container garden, choose a container with holes in the bottom. Cover the hole with a screen or coffee filter, add a few small rocks for drainage, and pour in a potting mix with plenty of nutrients, such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. Fill it to an inch or 2 below the rim, and you're ready to plant. To reach harvest time faster, begin with starter plants like the veggies and herbs from Bonnie Plants instead of waiting for seeds to sprout. Looseleaf lettuce is a great choice for containers, since it grows so fast. You can start harvesting when the plants are only 2 inches tall. Strawberries, hot or sweet peppers, and onions also work great for containers. Many people love having a pot of herbs growing near the kitchen door, since they're so easy to grow and smell wonderful on a summer or fall day.

Starting with Raised-Bed Gardens

If you want to go bigger than a few containers, raised bed gardening has some nice advantages. You can control your soil quality easily, because you'll be adding it in. Your soil warms up quickly, and drains well. Also, you don't have to bend over quite so far to weed and thin your plants. You can plant just about anything you want in a raised bed garden, but for easy success, go with lettuce, carrots, radishes, bush beans, and herbs. To provide the ideal root environment for the plants in your raised garden bed, fill the bed with Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil.

In-Ground Gardens

In-ground gardens are great for bigger plantings. Before you get started, you have to remove plants and weeds from the site. One easy way to do that is to cover the site with black plastic or garden fabric for several weeks until the weeds and grass have died. Remove any weeds, till the site, and mix in Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Vegetables and Herbs with your native soil, following label directions. Remove rocks and clumps, and plant starter plants or seeds in rows. As with raised bed gardens, beginning gardeners have more success with plants like bush beans, carrots, radishes, lettuce, and herbs. You can also try your hand at hot or sweet peppers, tomatoes, or potatoes. Feed and water your plants regularly, remove invading weeds, and your garden will be a success.

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