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4 Steps to Planting Your First Vegetable Garden

Farmer's Market Veggie Guide

How can you enjoy even fresher vegetables? By growing them yourself! Planting your own veggies is an easy way to save money and stay on track with healthy eating. You’ll get fresh, seasonal produce – plus the satisfaction that comes with growing your own food.

If you’re a veteran gardener, you know what it takes to set-up a healthy garden. But if it’s your first time setting up a garden, it can be hard to know how much to plant and how far to space your plants. Before you go out and buy dozens of seeds, we recommend you put a planting plan together. Think about the following items when putting your gardening plan together:

1. Pick Your Perfect Plot

When picking a planting spot, make sure it’s in full sun and close to a water source for easy watering during dry spells. You may want to consider using raised beds for your garden; this way you can avoid digging up your yard, and the soil will drain better.

If you’re planting larger crops such as lettuce or melons, make sure to plant in rows at least 18 inches apart. For smaller plants, you can tighten the rows, fitting more crops in less space.

2. Start Small

If you’ve never gardened, you might have trouble gauging how much to plant or the amount of time you’re willing to commit to your garden. Remember, you can always expand next year. For now, avoid planting too much too soon. For a small garden. we recommend 3-6 plants.

3. Purchase Seeds Wisely

When purchasing seeds –  keep in mind that tomatoes, squash and peppers will provide throughout the growing season, so you may not need as many plants. One plant can produce dozens of fruits or vegetables. Plan accordingly so your produce does not go to waste! On the other hand, some plants (onions, carrots, corn, etc.) only produce once. You may need to plant more of these, or plant them throughout the growing season.

4. Plant At the Right Time

Different vegetables thrive at different times. While some crops can tolerate a light frost, others can be much more sensitive. The key thing to consider is your area’s average last spring frost date. Find your average last spring frost date.

Select your location, and you’ll see average frost dates pulled from past weather data. To be safe, choose the 10 percent date (this means you’ll only have a 10 percent chance of encountering frost after this date).

Once you find your date, use this quick guide to determine what to plant when:

Very Early Spring (March to April):

  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Early Spring (April to May):

  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Cilantro

After Last Frost Date (May to Early June):

  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Basil
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Eggplant

Now that you’ve got the basics covered, get growing!

Use your veggies wisely by meal prepping. Get our free meal planning guide now.