Get Started in 5 Steps: Step 1 - Planning Your Garden

So, you're ready to get growing and you want to get your hands in the soil right away!  A little planning now will help prevent frustration later. 

  • Start small with an in-ground garden and expand when you are ready. A good starter size is 50-75 sq. ft.
  • Will you create a "flat ground" garden or build raised beds?
raised bed neat
Raised beds create a neat and tidy garden space. Videos: Types of Raised Beds
and How to Build a Raised Bed
  • Grow vegetables that you like to eat and are expensive to buy. Some of the easiest vegetables are bush bean, tomato, cucumber, pepper, summer squash, lettuce and other leafy greens (Swiss chard, kale, etc.).
  • Plan to place taller crops on the north and west sides so they will not shade shorter plants.
  • Group plants by what season they grow in and how long they take to come to maturity.  See "Vegetable Profiles" for more information.
  • Early, short-season crops, like lettuce, can give way to late season crops after harvest.
  • Put your ideas on paper. Make a simple map of your garden plans on graph paper.  Be sure to allow space between rows so you can water, fertilize, weed, and harvest!
  • A few simple hand tools will get you started- shovel, metal rake, and a hoe for slicing and chopping weeds.

three garden tools

Three soil prep tools: shovel or spade, mattock or pick axe, garden fork (not a pitch fork). Garden forks have sturdy tines that can help loosen and aerate heavy clay soil

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Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2017.