A Beginners Guide to Planting Vegetables

Would you love to grow your own vegetables at home but you don’t know how? This Easy Beginner’s Guide to Planting Vegetables will help you get started today.

planting vegetables tomatoes

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Whether you plant vegetables from seed or buy them as potted plants, they taste much better homegrown. But, if you missed starting your plants from seed, as I did, you still have time to plant your favorite veggies.

Buying potted plants saves time. Life gets busy, and planting out your vegetables in spring is sometimes the only option. So go to your nursery, an Amish nursery, or your local Wal-Mart, and pick up your potted plants. They are pretty reliable plants that grow well in your area.

Helpful Vegetable Growing Tips 

  • Look for bonus plants to save money– Many times you can find two or three plants growing together in the same pot or cell pack, and free plants are definitely a bonus. When it’s time to plant, gently tease the plants apart and plant in separate pots or beds.
  • Inspect the plants– Carefully, inspect the plants you plan to buy making sure there are no black spots or yellowing leaves. A nice healthy looking plant will perform much better than one that looks sickly.
  • When to plant -A good time to plant in your area is after the threat of frost has passed, usually between the last weekend of May through the first weekend in June. (Although, after a month of glorious weather, today, as I write, on this twenty-second of April, blossomed daffodils are lying under a blanket of snow. The weather is so unpredictable here in the North Country!)
  • Harden your plants-You will need to harden off your potted plants about a week before they are planted in the garden. Start setting them outside for about an hour, in the shade. Each day they can stay out a little longer, and stay in more sun each day after.
  • Vegetables love the sun– If your garden spot has six to eight hours of sun a day, your plants like tomatoes and peppers will be more resistant to insects and diseases. If you don’t get enough sun, crops like spinach and lettuce will do just fine. You can also plant your veggies in ten-inch diameter pots, so they can be moved around on your patio or balcony.
  • Make watering easier-Building your garden near a water source will ensure that it gets watered. It’s a cumbersome job when you have to walk a mile to get your plants watered. Same for harvesting, if your plants are near the kitchen, you’ll thank yourself for doing so.
  • Raise the beds-Raised beds are ideal for gardening. You already know what soil is there, so other than adding compost and fertilizer, your garden will be ready to plant. A raised bed can be as long as your heart desires, and the standard width of a raised bed is four feet across, but if you are on the average short size, you may want to make the width three feet across. It will be easier reaching to weed and harvest.
  • Test your soil– A garden bed will probably do fine, but it’s a good idea to buy a soil test kit at your local garden, center. If the test indicates that your soil is too acidic, or too alkaline, adding compost and manure or organic fertilizer will bring the ph to near neutral.
  • Grow what you love– Buy vegetables that your family likes to eat! When you buy seeds or plants, it’s easy to get carried away with all the varieties. A smaller garden filled with veggies you love will be much easier to maintain.

You may like: How to Start a Garden on a Budget

A Beginner’s Guide to Planting Vegetables

straw hat gardening gloves and basket full of vegetables in garden

Let’s plant tomatoes

Dig a hole with a ten-inch diameter, and about sixteen inches deep. Fill the hole with compost about half full. Add a handful of organic fertilizer and mix in well with the compost.

You can also fill a pot on the patio in the same way. Remove the plant from the pot, and place the plant on top of the soil. If you are planting tomatoes, remove the lower leaves so none will be buried.
Tomatoes have hairy-like fibers on the stems, planting them deeply, several inches beneath the soil will allow the fibers to root. Finish by filling the hole with more compost. Spreading straw, found at your local garden center, will help conserve moisture.
Tomatoes, either in a raised bed or in a pot enjoy a deep soak rather than a little every day. Water three times a week in hot weather.


Perfect pepper planting

You can plant peppers right next to your tomatoes because they are very neighborly. Peppers like full sun, six to eight hours, at least. Put generous amounts of compost and keep watered.

Growing zucchini

Another friendly tomato neighbor, zucchini likes six to eight hours of sun and the addition of compost. They are vining types that sprawl, so be sure they are properly spaced at planting time.

Love planting those green onions

You can buy green onion sets at your local garden center. Moisten the soil, then plant green onions in rows in the garden, or fill a pot. Plant about two inches apart, with the root end in the soil. Firm the soil gently around them, until the pointed end is covered. Green onions are good neighbors,  they love living next to tomatoes!

Bush Beans are the best

While there are many varieties, plant bush beans two to four inches apart in rows in the garden. They don’t require extra fertilizer, but they do need about an inch of water every week when they are budding, and setting pods. Watering in the morning will help the plants dry out quickly and avoid disease.
Beans and tomatoes also make good neighbors, and if you’re planting seeds, plant at the same time as your tomatoes.

Planting pleasing peas from seed and from potted plants.

To help with faster germination, soak pea seeds in water overnight, then sow them one inch deep, or deeper if your soil is on the dry side, and space them about two inches apart. Don’t thin them! Plant in rows about seven inches apart. You can buy pea plants and plant two inches apart, and keep watered.
Planting tomatoes where peas have been planted are beneficial. Peas roots are high in nitrogen, an important nutrient for tomatoes.

Let’s plant some bodacious basil!

Basil is definitely one of tomatoes favorite neighbors! Soul veggies! Basil repels insects in the garden, and is an all-time favorite for tomato dishes, and will improve the yield in tomatoes. Plant basil plants twelve to eighteen inches apart when you plant them next to tomatoes to ensure good air circulation and plenty of sun.
Basil enjoys fertile soil, with the addition of compost. Space plants about one foot apart.
rainbow of vegetables and quote
These are some of my family’s favorites veggies, that they grow in their own gardens. Plant what you like to eat, and enjoy the growing process, whether it’s starting seeds in the winter, or planting store-bought crops from the store, growing your homegrown vegetables saves money, you eat healthier, and they taste great! What else is there! Start growing your family’s favorites, and enjoy fresh veggies all summer, and beyond.

Contributing Author– Geri Mitchell is married with two grown children and grandchildren. She loves to garden! “The summers here in the north country sometimes have two seasons, winter and getting ready for winter, so we have to garden in between.”