kick your shoes off and come on in …

Vegetable Garden Planning for Beginners ~ Great Resource


Old Farmer’s

If you’re a beginner vegetable gardener, here are basics on vegetable garden planning: site selection, plot size, which vegetables to grow, and other gardening tips.

Remember this: It’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one!

One of the common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan carefully. Start small.

The Very Basics

First, here are some very basic concepts on topics you’ll want to explore further as you become a vegetable gardener extraordinaire:

  • Do you have enough sun exposure? Vegetables love the sun. They need at least 6 hours of full sun every day, and preferably 8.
  • Know your soil. Most soil can be enriched with compost and be fine for planting, but some soil needs more help. Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery or local cooperative extension office about free soil test kits so that you can assess your soil type. See our article on preparing soil for planting.
  • Placement is everything. Avoid planting too near a tree, which will steal nutrients and shade the garden. In addition, a garden too close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.
  • Decide between tilling and a raised bed.  If you have poor soil or a bad back, a raised bed built with nonpressure-treated wood offers many benefits. See more about raised garden beds and how to build them.
  • Vegetables need lots of water, at least 1 inch of water a week. See more about when to water vegetables.
  • You’ll need some basic planting tools.  These are the essentials: spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket) for moving around mulch or soil. It’s worth paying a bit extra for quality tools.
  • Study those seed catalogs and order early.
  • Check your frost dates. Find first and last frost dates in your area and be alert to your local conditions.

Vegetable Garden Planning for Beginners

Deciding How Big

A good-size beginner vegetable garden is about 16×10 feet and features crops that are easy to grow. A plot this size, planted as suggested below, can feed a family of four for one summer, with a little extra for canning and freezing (or giving away).

Make your garden 11 rows wide, with each row 10 feet long. The rows should run north and south to take full advantage of the sun.

Vegetables that may yield more than one crop per season are beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips.

Suggested Plants for 11 Rows

The vegetables suggested below are common, productive plants but you’ll also want to contract your local cooperative extension to determine what plants grow best in your local area. Think about what you like to eat as well as what’s difficult to find in a grocery store or farmers’ market.

(Note: Link from each vegetable to a free planting and growing guide.)

(Note: If this garden is too large for your needs, you do not have to plant all 11 rows, and you can also make the rows shorter. You can choose the veggies that you’d like to grow!)

When to Plant?

Now Design Your Best Garden Ever!

Plan your perfect vegetable garden. Use our online Garden Planner to draw out your vegetable beds. Click here to try the Garden Planner for free!

The best way to plan a successful veggie garden is to look at what similar gardeners have planned and see what works for them.

The above garden plot plan was created by one of our readers!

Click here for our Garden Plans Gallery and you’ll find lots of ideas and inspiration.

Happy gardening!

Related Articles


27 responses

  1. Another informative post I have to reblog, thank you 🙂

    June 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    • thank you again 🙂 and you are always welcome. the more people we get informed and growing the better !

      just came in is too wet, muddy mess am i, but i did get rest of onions, cherry tomatoes, and couple pickling cukes in today

      June 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      • Our garden is too muddy this time of year to grow anything unfortunately, except for raised garden in front. I feel frustrated that people are gardening in other parts lol.

        Cool, I always feel I am cheating somehow reblogging 🙂 but you have such good info that I haven’t got around to doing myself yet!!

        June 10, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      • team efforts are usually more effective and efficient if compatible “agenda” 😉

        love the dogma crew and how we all blend, is very nice

        i know i feel like am running against clock here for few veggies, like brussel sprouts and watermelon … it will be getting too warm for sprouts and we have short season for watermelon.

        hint – brussel sprouts can take frost just not freeze and do better in cool weather, i have harvested them around spring solstice before.
        and another hint i always go to old farmers for veggie advice first before anywhere else. those old farmers know their stuff 🙂

        June 11, 2013 at 12:00 am

      • Yes, we have brussel sprouts, broccolli etc in and my husband has just built a glasshouse to extend what we can grow…..just not the same as summer and all the yummys. However…seasons are a must and I can’t change that!

        Roger’s old dad used to love what we did in the garden and gave lots of advice, unfortunately he passed away but his advice lives on 🙂

        June 11, 2013 at 12:27 am

      • he is always with you in garden 🙂 i feel that way about my grandparents, very nice … very soothing

        June 11, 2013 at 1:05 am

      • Yes, Roger believes so 🙂

        June 11, 2013 at 2:56 am

      • 🙂

        June 11, 2013 at 3:26 am

  2. Reblogged this on quarteracrelifestyle and commented:
    Another great post from Aunty Dogma’s Garden Spot. This lady seems to have a library of gardening info!

    June 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  3. Quote:
    Placement is everything. Avoid planting too near a tree, which will steal nutrients and shade the garden.
    ACTUALLY, ..One thing I HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH IT…Late Autumn, and Winter, I grow cherry tomatoes under my lemon tree 😀

    June 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    • i haven’t planted any veggies under tree except some basil but i agree, it depends on the sun direction more than tree. i take good care of my trees so i don’t think it hurts plants too much for nutrients.

      i have basil, peony, sunflowers and lavender all near trees

      June 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm

  4. Pingback: Getting the Most from Your Vegetable Garden | The Mystical Raven

  5. Pingback: Money-Saving Gardening Tips | Dear Doctor Mom

  6. Pingback: Plant Seeds, Bulbs & seedlings for Sale » Starting a Vegetable Garden for Beginners

  7. Pingback: 10 Tips on How to Have a Successful Desert Vegetable Garden in the Heat of Summer | Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News

  8. Im goign to create my first garden – it was always my dream. thanks for this tips.

    May 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

    • most welcome 🙂 sorry for delay in response is gardening time here full swing as well 😀

      May 26, 2014 at 12:54 am

  9. Pingback: Gardening For Beginners Vegetables

  10. Fred Ify Emuss

    I these vegetables.

    May 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

  11. Fred Ify Emuss

    I love these vegetables.

    May 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm

  12. Pingback: Vegetable Garden Planning for Beginners ~ Great Resource – Pot Gardening Info

  13. Pingback: 19 Vegetable Garden Plans & Layout Ideas That Will Inspire You

  14. Pingback: 12 Vegetable Garden Plans & Layout Ideas That Will Inspire You – Gardening Cosmo

  15. Pingback: Gemüsegarten_für_Anfänger / Tante ... - Diy Garden Decor

  16. Pingback: 19 Vegetable Garden Plans & Layout Ideas That Will Inspire You - Bienvenue

  17. Pingback: 19 Creative Vegetable Garden Ideas – Get DIY Idea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s