So, you’re thinking about starting your first vegetable garden but aren’t sure what to plant? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, most gardeners have had similar situations when they first started.
With so many tasty veggies and herbs to choose from, deciding which ones to plant may be one of the most difficult aspects of gardening! There are so many different choices and all with such a large variety of options.
To help you figure it out, you’ll need to take some time to sit down and consider a few key points. When determining what to grow in your vegetable garden, there are many things that will help you decide.
What Will You Eat?
Let’s start with the most important one. It may sound obvious, but it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of growing all the new varieties and forget about this. So, start by choosing vegetables that your family is likely to eat.
Even so, you’ll have to compromise because some crops just won’t thrive in all climates, so don’t choose veggies that require special climatic circumstances.
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If you want to have freshly picked vegetables all summer, choose crops that start ripening early and keep producing, such as:
which are just a few of the options.
How Much Do You Need?
On the other hand, if your goal is to grow as much food as possible for your family, you’ll want to think about veggies that can be stored for months and types of vegetables that mature in large batches.
Fall gardens extend the growing season for several vegetables. Winter squashes with hard shells can be stored for months, but zucchini must be consumed in a much shorter amount of time.
Indeterminate beefsteak tomatoes mature in spurts, whereas determinate paste tomatoes set and ripen all of their fruits in a short amount of time, making them ideal for preserving big batches for sauces and canning.
Match The Garden Environment
Because not all vegetables will grow in all gardens, pick the ones that will. Consider the following to see what I mean: Unless a lot of organic matter is added, long-rooted carrots and parsnips may not be the best choice in gardens with thick clay soils.
Peppers and okra require a lot of heat, so only grow them outside if you have a tunnel, greenhouse, or sheltered place if you live in a cooler climate. If your garden is shaded, plant leafy greens like lettuce and chard instead of sun-loving vegetables like beets, tomatoes, and carrots.
Fit The Space
Choose tiny-structured veggies that are easy to handle and take up less room if you just have a small plot or if you want to grow in containers then avoid tall-growing vegetables like sweet corn, climbing French beans, and runner beans, as well as long-vined squashes and pumpkins that extend along the ground.
Take into account all of these factors, and make a list of veggies. Now you can calculate how much room each of these plants will require and estimate the size of your garden.
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Start with a size you can handle if this is your first vegetable garden, even if it means fewer plants or a variety of veggies. You can always try something new the following year.
What veggies are you planning to plant? Share with us in the comments to give others ideas, as well.
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