Beginner's Guide to Starting a Vegetable Garden


Starting your first garden this spring and wondering where to begin?

Having a garden can be an enjoyable way to spend time outside and even get a little exercise. If your children have a green thumb, gardening is also the perfect family activity. But if you’re new to gardening, there is a lot to learn before you get started. While we are going to discuss how to begin your first vegetable garden, a lot of these tips will also be helpful if you plan on planting flowers. Having your own vegetable garden is very rewarding. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, but using ingredients that you grew right outside your home is incredibly satisfying!

Start Small

There are a lot of decisions to make now that you’ve decided to plant a garden, so weigh all of your options before you commit to anything. Planting your first vegetable garden is exciting, but try not to overdo it. It’s best to start small and gain some experience, so you don’t get overwhelmed and wear yourself out. If you plant too much too soon, you may burn out and let your garden overgrow, which will only create more work for you in the fall. 

Determine the Right Location

No matter what you decide to plant, there are three requirements the location you choose needs to have:

Lots of sunlight. Most vegetables require about 6-8 hours of sunlight a day to yield a full harvest. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they’re more susceptible to infestations of insects or disease.

Enough water. All plants require different amounts of water, but a general rule of thumb is to provide your garden with an inch of water per week. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by looking into which vegetables you want to grow that require a lot of water, and plant them together.

Fruitful soil. Good soil will allow for healthy plants. In addition to having moist, well-drained soil, you can include compost like fallen leaves or peat moss to increase productivity among your plants.

Build Raised Beds

Creating a physical barrier between your vegetables and the rest of your yard will help keep your plants safe. Raised beds will not only keep the plants’ roots safe from critters like voles, but it also makes it harder for weeds to get in and take over. You can build your own beds or buy them at a hardware store, but we don’t recommend having anything longer than four feet. This way you can pick your vegetables without having to step into the beds. If you know where you want your raised beds to be, and there’s grass there at the moment, get rid of the grass now so you can hit the ground running when it’s time to plant. 

Growing a Vegetable Garden in Kansas City

Timing is everything, so you need to know when to plant the vegetables you decide to grow. If it’s too cold in March and April to plant, or you haven’t built your raised beds yet, start a small garden in potted plants inside and transfer them later. The plants listed below all grow well in our climate, so if you plant the seeds at the right time and take proper care of your garden, all of these vegetables should have a bountiful harvest.

  • March: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Onion
  • April: Collards, Chard, Carrots, Eggplant, Lettuce, Radish, Peas, Spinach, Beets, Tomatoes
  • May: Cucumbers, Melons, Peppers, Pumpkins, Lima Beans, Snap Beans, Squash

Caring For Your Garden

Once you know what plants you want to grow, and where on your property you will grow them, you should consider what each plant requires to grow and thrive. For example, while plants like tomatoes don't need much room, you will have to tie their stalk to a stake for support as they grow. If you’re growing a pumpkin, it will need its own raised bed and may even grow over the walls because they tend to stretch out like vines. Eggplants grow like bushes, so only two plants can fit into a raised bed. Lettuce, spinach, and cabbage won’t take up more than a square foot, can be planted in neat rows, and won’t require much maintenance until you harvest. While these tips should help you start your first vegetable garden without a hitch, it’s best to read about each vegetable that you want to plant before you get started. Here at Quality All-Care, we wish you the best of luck with your vegetables!