I’ve dabbled in vegetable gardening for a couple of years and always had visions of a big summer vegetable garden. But I had trouble turning my brown thumb green. Until last summer when I finally found the key to growing a great vegetable garden in three easy steps.
One of the many things I love about my work from home life is being able to enjoy quite moments outside in my vegetable garden. This system is so simple it only takes a small amount of time to keep up with, but the rewards have been huge.
I remember visiting my family in Michigan during the summers as a kid. Everyone had great summer vegetable gardens planed along their fences. While living in apartments after college I longed for the day I could live in a house and grow a big summer garden of tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers and summer squash in the backyard.
When I finally had my first backyard I was determined to have a great vegetable garden. I tried square foot gardening, raised bed gardening and planting directly into the ground. And for some reason, no matter the type of garden I planted, the only thing I could successfully grow were jalapenos. The jalapenos were supposed to go into fresh summer salsa. But I could never grow enough tomatoes to make salsa!
Last Spring I tried once again to grow a successful vegetable garden. My office job required a lot of travel but as spring arrived I couldn’t stop myself from buying the cute little tomato starters.
And I bought them before the last freeze. We live in north Florida so our last spring freeze usually only lasts probably an hour or two. But there is always a March freeze.
My husband just shook his head as I unloaded my car preparing himself for whatever type of garden I was going to try this year. I decided I was going to need a portable garden. Something I could drag into the garage for the random spring freeze. In hindsight I realize it would have been easier to leave them outside and toss a sheet over the small plants but hindsight and all…
I had a couple different sized plastic pots that I had grown an herb garden in the previous year. I ran back to the store and grabbed a huge bag of dirt for the pots. I put each of the starters into a plastic pot, gave them a little fertilizer, put them in a sunny spot and watered often. Weeks later – for the first time ever – I had plants with enough tomatoes to make salsa. And of course I didn’t plant jalapenos!
Large plastic pots are the key to this beginner vegetable garden. I did learn some of the pots were too small and my replanting efforts were unsuccessful. I took what I learned last year and repeated it this spring with fantastic success.
If you are a beginner gardener cherry or grape tomatoes are a great plant to start with. They mature pretty quickly and with a small investment of time can produce fruit for a number of months. I find quick success is good motivation not to mention a great afternoon snack. You can also plant peppers, eggplants and even green beans in large pots.
This is also a great system for kids. My toddler is obsessed with watering the tomato plants every day after school. My husband drilled some extra holes toward the bottom of the pots to let her extra watering drain out.
We planted 5 tomatoes plants in large plastic pots this spring. Four different varieties of small tomatoes and one regular sized tomatoes that are growing like crazy with minimal care. I spend a few minutes every few days tending to the plants. The quiet moments caring for them are perfect for recharging after long conference calls or rewarding myself for meeting a deadline.
Beginner Vegetable Garden in 3 Easy Steps
The steps I follow for successfully growing a beginner vegetable garden can be used in any sunny location with hose access. You can put them on a patio, porch or even mixed into the flower beds in front of your house.
- Step 1. Make a quick trip to the garden department of Home Depot, or your local garden store for pots, soil and veggie plants or seeds. You can even order the pots and soil online.
– If you plant tomatoes you will also need tomato cages.
– I buy whichever soil is on sale and haven’t seen any difference in the results.
- Step 2. Fill the pots 3/4 full of soil, add a small amount of fertilizer add veggie plants or seeds and water.
– Follow the planting directions on the plant or seed package.
– If you plant tomatoes add the cage now.
– If your pots don’t have holes drill drain holes in the side of the pot near the bottom.
- Step 3. Keep plants watered, fed and protected from insects. Trim away brown or yellow stems and leaves.
– – I feed my garden Tomato-Tone or Garden-Tone
To keep bugs away I have found success with Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew and Monterey Garden Insect Spray with Spinosad Pts
– I use a basic pair of basic pruning sheers to trim away old or dying leaves and branches.
Growing a vegetable garden can be simple and successful following three easy steps. The key is to plant in large pots and water regularly. Planting in large pots allows you better control over the nutrients, bugs and weeds. And, the height of the pots makes the plants easy to reach and tend too.
With a quick shopping trip and less then an hour setting it up you can have a large pot container vegetable garden growing vegetables for you in no time.