How does your vegetable garden grow?

Amid the turmoil and tragedy of COVID-19, many Americans found solace in simpler things — long walks, mindfulness and meditation, and…. gardening.

Growing veggies at home isn’t just a great stress reliever, it’s been a great way to save money as produce prices rose in uncertain times.

Sun, soil, water, and attention

Not surprisingly, you’ll need the right combination of sun, soil, and water depending on the types of plants you want to grow — so choose a sunny spot (in your backyard or windowsill) and one that drains well and doesn’t stay too wet, buy the seeds of your choice and choose a fertilizer mix that’s ideal for growing vegetables (your hardware store or gardening center should be able to help.)

What to plant?

Next, you’ll want to choose the right plants for the time of year. Veggies like radishes, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, zucchini, and squash are usually best to plant early in the season.

Produce like lettuce, arugula and peas grow fast in lower light and can be ideal if you’re starting your garden indoors.

If you’ve got a hankering for corn, it’s usually best to wait until temperatures warm up — corn seeds don’t fare well in cold soil.

You might also consider planting perennial plants that will offer up vegetables for many years to come, like asparagus, a variety of berries, as well as herbs like tarragon and rosemary. Just make sure to protect them against very cold temperatures.

Remember, growing a vegetable garden can take some time and patience to get right. Don’t be discouraged. Overwatering is usually the biggest mistake green gardeners make, so start there.

For more vegetable garden ideas and inspiration, click here and here. 

Have you started a garden during the pandemic or are you planning to soon? Share what you know with the Shop Talk community.

Did you know?

Stagger planting

Remember you probably don’t want all your lettuce or cucumbers maturing at the same time, so it’s a good idea to stagger your seed planting by a few weeks. (Source)

40 thoughts on “How does your vegetable garden grow?

  1. I am trying raised gardens for the first time this year and on a much smaller scale than in the past. So far, the things I planted seem to be doing okay. I am hoping to have fresh, home grown tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and lettuce. Didn’t get the spinach in early enough so will try that in the fall. I also plant basil and will keep a plant of it during the winter so I have fresh leaves to use.

  2. Well, i have to stagger what i can where i can. Not much room for beds so i put my tomatoe plant in a wheel barrel so the gophers dont eat them up like they ruined my cucumber so I had to plant cucumbers in another wheel barrel with my green onion. Chili plants in pots.. darn gophers.. lol

  3. My Maiden Garden Attempt

    I tried for the first time to have a fruit/vegetable garden. I found using the seeds from the vegetable or fruit saved sooooo much money. I staggered the planting by three weeks. Now I enjoying honeydew melons and Apple Crisp Tomatoes along with Garden Tomatoes. What a rush!💚

  4. Last summers veggie garden had to be plowed under due to wildfires. The ash was toxic! This summer I am not planting a garden as we will have more wildfires, ash, and we are now in a severe drought with water restrictions.

  5. i am not a gardener. i am a hunter gatherer. i do my hunting and gathering at the farmer’s market and the supermarket.

  6. Im new to growing and try my best to get it right but i guess my thumb isnt that green.😐 I water fertilize and have them in a great spot in my yard but they seen to have trouble surviving, maybe its the florida weather, cucumbers, carrots and califlower. My greens like collards and peppers do fine, i need some direction if someone could help, thanks.

  7. My vegetable garden is an aerogarden which I love and I am currently growing lettuce.

  8. This year I am growing tomatoes in old tubs that kitty liter came in and container basil

  9. Love this article very informative . I love gardening its very rewarding relaxing and fun . Its very. Important to me to feed my family the healthiest vegetable’s possible .

  10. Please read the following with your /humor flag/ turned on:

    This year’s attempt were beans and tomatoes. Most of the bean seeds turned to mush before growing. Those that grew (all 3 of them), made it to 6 inches tall then died and fell over. We held a funeral and repurposed the potting soil for one of the flower gardens. The tomatoes died within 2 days of going outside. I watered them as advised but their leaves didn’t believe me. I pretended they were alive until their stems gave out and shriveled and dropped the already shriveled leaves.

    We have potatoes because some potatoes from the store sprouted and we buried them (we chose to not say any words of parting, just incase they grew). They are growing! I also was gifted “pepper lettuce.” It is a plant with leaves that can be eaten, but it takes like pepper — not a little pepper, A LOT of pepper. No one one wants to eat it; but it’s growing. It’s growing EVERYWHERE because not even the wild animals want it, which is what happened to the romaine and arugula lettuces and green peas that were last year’s attempt. I remember standing over them as they were pulled underground into some hidden tunnel, just like the vegetables in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Also last year’s attempt was onions, which someone dug up and ate and now there are daffodils growing there. It’s a fair trade.

    We have what we call “bird poo strawberries” since we never planted them and no one in our neighborhood (or any of the surrounding streets) has any. We’re not sure what exotic bird pooped strawberry seeds on our front lawn, but we do our best to protect them in the hopes that we can get 1-2 strawberries a year. The slugs love the leaves and the wild rabbits make sure to let us know when the strawberries are NOT ripe by taking only little bite out of them rather than eating the entire strawberry, which they do when ripe.

    Last year some neighbors down the street built an elaborate netted raised garden for the pandemic and grew all KINDS of veggies! It was very kind of them to provide a haven for the little feral rabbits to eat safely while keeping the larger predators out. We all took pictures of the little things because they were so cute, tearing out all the veggies they could reach, sitting on their back legs going *munch* *munch* *munch* and waving at us. Our neighbors assumed they were saying thank you. This year our neighbors donated all the netting to anyone who wanted it, tossing the rest of the leftover seeds onto the lawn for any wild critters to eat between lawn mowing.

    We have oregano. It is the expensive stuff from Italy and invasive, with no natural enemies here. Like the pepper lettuce, it grows everywhere and no one wants to eat it as a main ingredient. I give away little plants as much as possible to anyone I can convince to take some.

    I admire people who can make vegetable gardens succeed. I’m not sure what next year’s attempt will be but you can be sure there will funny stories to go with it!

    /humor flag off/

  11. I grow tomatoes and mint. In addition, I planted an orange tree. When the temperatures cool down here in Florida, I will plant more vegetables.

  12. i am a EarthBox Grower and every year i try to Grow something that i know my familys & friends will eat and since the corona virus it been more of a relax deal that keep me from over thinking how the virus will play out AND who might get sick!so my garden Help me stay focus on other stuff beside the Virus!!

  13. I’ve found that having a bed close to the front door is very handy for herbs and other produce used frequently. Also a collection barrel or large trash can under the gutter for chlorine free water(also saves on water bill).

  14. My mom was born with a green thumb me the total difference anything I touch dies

  15. I have heard of the Native American crop TeePee using Corn.squash, and beans. But I did not find out what to plant after the corn Beans or squash? Anyone?

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