Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

The Basics of Planting and Growing a Vegetable Garden


Whether you’re a beginner with a single pot or an old hand planting an entire plot, our Vegetable Gardening Guide will help you to plan and grow your tastiest vegetables ever. 

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Why garden, you ask? If you’ve never tasted garden-fresh vegetables (lots of people haven’t!), you will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavors and vibrant textures. There’s absolutely nothing quite like fresh veggies, especially if you grow them yourself—which you can!

In this guide, we’ll highlight the basics of vegetable gardening and planning: how to pick the right site for your garden, how to create the right size garden, and how to select which vegetables to grow. 

Pick the Right Location 

Picking a good location for your garden is absolutely key. A sub-par location can result in sub-par veggies! Here are a few tips for choosing a good site:

  1. Plant in a sunny location. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The more sunlight they receive, the greater the harvest, the bigger the veggies, and the better the taste.
  2. Plant in good soil. Plants’ roots penetrate soft soil more easily, so you need nice loamy soil. Enriching your soil with compost provides needed nutrients. Proper drainage will ensure that water neither collects on top nor drains away too quickly.
  3. Plant in a stable environment. You don’t want to plant in a place that’s prone to flooding during heavy rains, or in a place that tends to dry out a lot. You also don’t want to plant somewhere where strong winds could knock over your young plants or keep pollinators from doing their job. Plant in a location that would make Goldilocks proud.

Lettuce varieties

Choosing a Plot Size: Start Small!

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

One of the most common errors that beginners make is planting too much too soon—way more than anybody could ever eat or want! Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan your garden with care. Start small.

A good-size beginner vegetable garden is about 16x10 feet and features crops that are easy to grow. A plot this size, based on the vegetables suggested further down this page, can feed a family of four for one summer, with a little leftover for canning and freezing (or giving away to jealous neighbors).

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 include beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips

(Note: If this garden is too large for your needs, you do not have to plant all 11 rows, or you can simply make the rows shorter.)


How to Grow the Best Vegetables

In addition to choosing the right location, here are a few tips that will help you grow your best veggies yet.

  1. Space your crops properly. For example, corn needs a lot of space and can overshadow shorter vegetables. Plants set too close together compete for sunlight, water, and nutrition and fail to mature. Pay attention to the spacing guidance on seed packets and plant tabs.
  2. Use high-quality seeds. Seed packets are less expensive than individual plants, but if seeds don’t germinate, your money—and time—are wasted. A few extra cents spent in spring for that year’s seeds will pay off in higher yields at harvesttime. See a list of of mail-order seed catalogs here.
  3. Water properly. Watering your plants the correct amount—neither too much nor too little—will give them the best chance at producing well-formed, mature vegetables. Learn more about watering vegetables.
  4. Plant and harvest at the right time, not too early or too late. Every vegetable has its own planting dates so be sure to check the seed packet. See the Almanac’s Best Planting Dates—a gardening calendar customized to your local frost dates.

Suggested Plants for a Beginner’s Vegetable Garden

The vegetables suggested below are common, productive plants that are relatively easy to grow. It would be wise to contact your local Cooperative Extension Service to find out what plants grow best in your area, and when the best time for planting them is. Think about what you like to eat as well as what’s difficult to find in a grocery store or farmers’ market.

Top Ten Vegetables
(Tip: Click on a veggie’s name to see its detailed Growing Guide.)

  1. Tomatoes—5 plants, staked
  2. Zucchini squash—4 plants
  3. Peppers—6 plants
  4. Cabbage
  5. Bush beans
  6. Lettuce
  7. Beets
  8. Carrots
  9. Chard
  10. Radishes
  11. Marigolds to discourage pests (and add some color!)


Make it Easy! Use the Free Garden Planner!

Create a smarter, more productive garden. Use the online Almanac Garden Planner—now the #1 Garden Planner on the planet. Go here:

In minutes, you can draw your garden on your computer. We’ve done all the research for you!

The Garden Planner automatically pulls in the frost dates for your location!  Also, it shows you how many plants fit in your space so you don’t waste seed or crowd your plants!


Plus, you’ll see many free garden plans for inspiration, as well as growing guides for more than 250 vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.

Try the Almanac Garden Planner for free here. You’ll have ample time to plan your first garden. If you like it, you can subscribe.

Any questions? Ask us in the comments below!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

I live in Ecuador, can this Garden Planner understand my area?

Good day all,
This Garden Planner sounds wonderful and would like to utilize it but moved down from a wonderful growing area in Roswell, GA to the high Andes Mountains with an arid elevation of 8,200. I learned that I needed to import Top Soil(compost) and remove the clay soil that I have in order to grow my heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn etc.I was wondering if this Garden Planner has any adjustments to allow me to adjust to a reverse growing season( plus I can't grow Blueberries, as there is no winter here :( )
It the Garden Planner doesn't does anyone know of a website that they can direct me to on growing in this type of climate?
Thank you for reading this.

garden planner is global

Yes, our garden planner works anywhere! The caveats to this is that we have detailed weather information/climate data for the US, Canada, all of Europe, Australia and South Africa. For other countries, once a user has set their location, we advise them to check and adjust their frost dates to make sure that the system’s calculated planting calendar will be as accurate as possible.

Sweet potatos

When is the right time to plant sweet potato's? Also Are they done from seed?

Sweet Potatoes

Check out our Planting Calendar to see when the best time to start sweet potatoes in your area is, then read our Sweet Potato Growing Guide for information on planting, growing, and harvesting sweet potatoes! Generally, they are started from “slips,” which are sprouts grown from mature sweet potatoes. These can be purchased at nurseries or grown at home from an existing sweet potato. See our Growing Guide for more info.

Joining club

I enjoyed how to build a trellis, everytime I click join is does not go to the site.

Best vegetables to grow together

We planted our first garden last year and it was a real learning experience for us. We would like to know what vegetables to plant together for watering purposes. We were told that some vegetables require more water and others less, so we wanted to plant those that used more water together to make it easier when watering. Our garden includes tomato, potato, squash, zucchini, okra, radish, onion, jalepeno, cucumber, corn, bell peppers and green beans. We appreciate any help you can give us.

Hatching and raising

Can you hatch eggs you buy at the store


No, chicken eggs bought from the grocery store have not been fertilized and are therefore non-viable.

what do I need to prevent my

what do I need to prevent my tomatoes destroyed. The fruit whether matured or not matured become gradually brown and fall thereafter. I tried to spray it with insecticide but still not contained. what would be the cause of this problem and the remedy needed to contain this problem. Thank you and God bless.

brown, drying tomatoes

It sounds like blossom end rot, the result of unsuitable soil conditions. See this page for more details and pictures:

But it could be something else, too. See the pictures here and notes on avoiding the problems:

In any case, you would be wise to make sure that your soil will support tomatoes (or whatever you grow): not every plant grows everywhere/in every soil. See here for advice on soil preparation:

We hope this helps!


Brown leaves

My tomato plants were in the rain recently and got drenched. Now the leaves are turning brown. The leave underneath are green. Some tomatoes have grown large. Why brown leaves?

leaf damage

Check the photos on this page; if you find a match, you have found the problem:

See advice in the article and search this web site for specific advice. For example, if your problem is early blight, see here

Take the time to read this page, too—all about growing tomatoes:


Brown leaves

My tomato plants were in the rain recently and got drenched. Now the leaves are turning brown. The leave underneath are green. Some tomatoes have grown large. Why brown leaves?

nice article

I just read the article although I'm not really a beginner gardener. I personally always advise people to start out in pots as this gives fewer problems and more control. Of course, it's always good to have a patch of soil that can be used to grow vegetables. I do love the explanation and the plants you mention in the list are the same as I would advise. Maybe another article on starting with square foot gardening would be nice as well. Or maybe you already made it. Really nice job. Keep up the good work.

Square Foot Gardening

Thank you for the nice comments! We do in fact have an article on square foot gardening, which is great for beginners!

Amazing List

Hi Excellent list you have going here!

My 1st Veggie Garden

I like the advice here. It also seems very sensible like starting small. I've got a good small back garden to begin with, but its a bit damp. Will this be a problem, and what is the best vegetable to start with for a damp garden? Thanks guys

damp garden

“Damp” can mean a lot of things. If the space is perpetually damp because it does not get any sun just about any time, vegetables will not thrive there. Most vegetables need at least 6, usually more hours of sun per day. If it’s damp because water does not drain from it, you’re probably out of luck again. If you have damp ground but sunlight, grow things in containers (all kinds of containers), with holes, which will enable you to control the moisture level. See here for all kinds of ideas on containers: and click through to individual vegetables above for more information.


If you have some damp ground to work with, and would like to keep your garden there for a while, you could dig some ditches for the moisture to go into and heap that dirt in between them. I personally do this with my garden after I till it up. My rows are heaped from what I use as walkways and it keeps my plants from getting flooded. Also, willow trees suck up alot of water, but I don't know if they affect any plants like cedar trees do. Anyway, if there's a will there's a way to do it.....good luck.


Being a gardener is not easy, especially when you are new to it. But you have showed some good gardening tips for daily life dose. there are other gardening tips that I have seen.

Great Tips!

Thank you for reminding me that planting marigolds around my veggies will deter the rabbits! I had completely forgotten about that!


I rally would love to know how to grow them in the tilled ground

Growing tomatoes

Hi Heather, Tomatoes are certainly one of the garden delights that is most different and delicious versus grocery store types. See our guide on how to grow tomatoes. Just click here:


The information here is appreciated and very insightful. I'm relatively new to gardening and my daughter and I eat organic food. We plan to start a garden this year and the previous owners of our house maintained a garden for years. (The garlic still grows). My question is I don't know if he used organic practices or harmful chemical pesticides , if he utilized the ladder, would the soil contaminate our organic seeds and organic efforts? Thank you!

organic or not?

Thanks for your appreciation of this page, Jay! Our best idea is to have a soil test, and have it done by the folks at your local coop extension. Click here and select your state for the service nearest you: Explain the situation and they will help you to prepare and submit a proper sample. Folks at the extension are master gardeners and extremely knowledgeable!

growing veggies in pots or plant boxes

Hi there! You have shared good information and I appreciate it. I really love gardening, but I only grow flowering plants in our small yard. They are all in pots as our yard is all pavement/concrete. I'd like to plant veggies in boxes. Is it possible? What do you suggest is the best and easiest to grow? I hope you can give me tips on caring for them as well. Thanks so much!

container veggies

Hello! It is definitely possible to plant vegetables in window boxes, refurbished wooden boxes, and other containers. You might like the following article that talks about this and offers vegetable suggestions:
Here’s a video that talks about planting leaf lettuces in containers:
Although smaller vegetables like lettuce and radishes do well in window boxes and hanging baskets, I’ve even seen some of the determinate tomatoes grown in them (such as certain cherry tomatoes), although they may need staking, or they can droop over the edge. There are also miniature varieties of certain vegetables, such as the small globular carrot types, that are ideal for containers. Hope this helps!


School Garden!!

Hi there.

I am doing a project for my science class, and I need to know how big a school garden should be. This school is HUGE and would have a lot of children working in it. Is there a recommended size? Thank you.


I was so happy as for beginner veg.planting -eggplant as it grew,and
reward of multiple harwest .I think it was dark maroon colour-variety quite big
size ..on the sad note everithing come to end - died but some dried eggplant
still remain the rest dried out..
q: how can seeds be extracted - its tiny.tiny black seeds
how to replant,germination.atc..any help appreciated


saving seeds

Nice done for a beginner!  You can save the seeds of an eggplant.  Once it’s overripe and withered (sounds like now!), slice open the eggplant and then separate the flesh from the seeds. Put the seeds in a bowl of water and wash the pulp away. Strain the seeds, pat them dry,  and spread them out on a tray to dry not more than two seeds thick.  Let them dry 2 to 4 weeks. When they are completely dry, you can store in a bag in a cool place free from insects and critters.

Looking for a person to plant a vegetable garden at my house

Time poor, us there anyone available to start grow a vegy garden for me. Thanks

Hi..This is a very

Hi..This is a very informative, it really helps me as a beginner on how to grow veggies on my garden. Thank you so much for this article.

Planting vegetables

Interested in planting

Vegetables die suddenly

I am growing zucchini and pole beans for the first time. It is a new bed (formally grass). I added organic soil, organic vegetable food and compost, the site gets about 6 hours of sun a day.
Zucchini -had 2 plants. First one died in mid-July - looked healthy at 1PM sagging at 4PM and dead the next day. Same pattern for the second plant but 2 weeks later.
Pole beans - same pattern as above but happened in August. Prior to that I had beans.

Thanks for any insight!

plant troubles

Hmm. How was the watering – not over or under? Any signs of insects, diseases, or animals? Mottled or yellowing leaves? Any whitish areas? For such a rapid decline on the zucchini, it sounds like perhaps something was attacking the roots - such as a virus, fungal, or bacterial disease, or an insect or animal. For zucchini, check for squash vine borer (holes at the base of the plant, and sawdust-like material beside it). Check for tunnels around the root area, and look at the roots of your gone-by plants for clues. Beans and zucchini don’t commonly share diseases, being in different families, but they do share some wilts and viruses. Sclerotinia (white mold) can be a problem, as can Fusarium.

vegetable gardening

i am looking for some input with my vegetable garden. my garden is very healthy and growing but don't seem to produce many vegetables. is there a reason why this is happening. i planted eggplant, butternut, zucinni and red peppers but after all he hard work and a luscious garden there is hardly any vegetables. please help!

Vegetables Not Producing

Hi Kay, It’s hard to determine exactly what’s happening in your garden without more information. I would recommend looking at our growing guides for each of your vegetables (you can find them here), and seeing if the tips on those pages can help. Good luck!

which vegatable marry well with others

I seem to have problem placing my veggies and wondering if you can help me/

I planted celery and next to them I planted Italian roma tomatoes - those barely grew then I planted my cherry tomato they went crazy high next to them peppers and eggplant(those did not do so good) then cucumber with cauliflower and broccoli and then finally zucchini. I guess I was wondering if there is place I can find what veggies should be planted with what

what to plant where

Hi, Johanne, We can hear your disappointment. But there is hope—in fact, there is a solution——no, several!
There are probably more reasons than locale in the garden for why some plants thrived and some did not. One of the main reasons in any garden has to do with soil, esp pH—the acidity or alkalinity of it. See here for some guidance on particular plant needs and how to amend your soil to satisfy them:

Apart for needs, some plants just do not get along; they are not companions in the garden. Here is some guidance on that:

Slightly different but similar is plant rotation (something to consider as you plan next year’s garden). See how to rotate vegetables here:

Finally, for a better chance of success, with lots of reliable tips and guidance through the season, you should take a look at our Garden Planner program/app:

You can preview if for 7 days. Read some of the reviews. People use it around the world—but it’s designed to be local to your zip code, so it’s quite effective. Give it a look and maybe a try.

Thanks for writing. Let us know how this goes moving forward.

Growing in the house

Could you give tips in growing veggies in the house or apartment. I bought small apartment size green house . It has 4 shelves and cover in plastic . I picked it up at Ocean State Job Lot store in my area. I live in the North East in the South side of Massachusetts 23 miles from Boston and 20 miles from Plymouth The start of Cape Cod. I miss not being able to grow veggies out side so I am trying to figure out how to do it in my house saw this mini green house for apartment . Please I need tips so I don't mess this up. Like to be able to grow all winter to would be nice.

indoor greenhouse

Hi, Deborah, We are not familiar with the particular product, but if you are experienced in growing vegetables outdoors, you know that they need sunlight. A lot of it. Unless this greenhouse comes with a suitable lamp (you would need to research the proper type), it is not clear or known to us how you would be able to grow veggies indoors. Perhaps the packaging provides instructions? If you have a south-facing porch that gets full sunlight for 6 to 8 hours per day, you might have some success with this (and without it). Window light is probably not adequate. Love the idea, but don’t completely get the concept as described. Sorry we can not be of more help.

Could you please advise me of

Could you please advise me of the minimum depth a container should be in order to give tomatoes plenty of root room? Thank you so much...

container depth for tomatoes

The recommended depth or volume of a container will depend on the variety of tomato–dwarf types would not require as much room as, say, a beefsteak indeterminate variety. But in general, allow for about 18 to 24 inches deep. I’ve grown tomatoes in a self-watering planter that was about 12” deep and 3 feet wide. Although it was a bit shallow, the plant appeared to do fine. A 5-gallon container is usually good. For container gardening, it is best to choose a determinate type of tomato, so that it doesn’t get too huge and sprawling. Dwarf/patio types are also good choices.


why does my squash bloom and not make squash.

squash blossoms but no fruit

It’s probably a pollination issue. For fruit to set, pollen must be transferred from the male to the female bloom. If you don’t have enough bees or it’s been rainy weather and difficult conditions for the bees to pollinate, you won’t have squash.

Hi.....wondering about the

Hi.....wondering about the use of antibiotics in horses do these degrade or remain in well rotted horse manure? Thanks

The antiobiotics should break

The antibiotics should break down during the composting process. You can use the well rotted horse manure.


Wonderful information! I'm a first-year gardener and starting very small. Enjoying all the tips and simplified processes you have here :) Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

One question I have is about my soil...... I am planting lettuce, tomatoes, and basil in the same beds and am wondering what I need to do to my dirt besides till it really well? I have some basic manure, but no compost...... Is this adequate?

If you have some aged manure

If you have some aged manure mix it into the soil. After planting your seeds and seedlings you can sidedress with compost as the plants start to grow to add more nutrients to the soil. See our growing guides for different vegetables at

First time gardner

Thanks for all the helpful tips! This will be my first year to have a garden, and I am trying to teach my young children as well! We need all the help we can get!

Grow your on vegetables

I need help by giving my garden a beautiful name

How about "Sally"?

How about "Sally"?

Appreciated the guodelines

It is very interesting to read from your guidelines. I am planning to make a bigger garden for business, Please send me more information for surface gardening in the tropics.

I used your gardening software and planned everything. Video


As a first time gardener, your software helped a lot, thank you very much for your help. Here is a video with our gardening story, how we started gardening knowing absolutely nothing.

Garden Planning Video

Sol, This is a wonderful video showcasing your good work and the Garden Planner! Many thanks. Very impressive We’d love to share with the entire Almanac community! Best wishes for a bountiful harvest this year, your Old Farmer’s Almanac editors


Beginner here looking to help a community program. How far apart should I make my rows from one another? Will my tiller make the row or should I do that with a hoe? Thank for the help. Great page!


Hi, Jon, Tilling is usually done before planting and after harvesting. See here for some specific plants/situations:

You don’t want to till when plants are growing as you might tear up the roots. Use a hoe to make rows and, depending on the plant, to gently cultivate the soil around them (loosen the soil) to discourage weeds. Or you can mulch around the plants to discourage weeds and never hoe, thereby not risk tearing a root.

As for distance between plants, note the guidance on your seed packet/s or plant sticks. In general, you want to be able to walk—but not stride—between the rows to maintain the plants and eventually harvest. Also, if you crowd plants, you risk reducing your harvest. Plants need to have space to grow. For more in space, search for/click on specific plants here or, again, check the instructions that come with the seeds or seedlings.

Hope you have a great year!

Hi! I am very new to

Hi! I am very new to vegetable gardening, and want to do it right.
Here are a few questions I have, if you don't mind taking the time to answer.
What is the benefit of raised gardening? Is it something I should do?
What do I do so that my plants don't get eaten by the wildlife in our area? (Deer, raccoon, skunks, groundhogs...)
How do I keep my plants to grow straight and high?
Thank you!

doing it right...

Hi, Susan, The first thing you have to get about gardening is that every season, every situation is different. It is a constant learning experience, so “do it right” or do it wrong, just do.

As for raised beds, you can read more here ( and here ( Ultimately, it can be a personal preference as well as circumstances (space available, etc.).

The animals you mention can be a hazard almost anywhere. High fences and, when possible, underground barriers can be deterents. Here is some advice re rabbits: Search this web site using individual animal words for more.

About growing stright and high… well, that depends on more things than we can mention: it’s the whole ball of wax: soil, sun, water, fertillizer, TLC. For more information on specific plants, searth this site for specific names or go to and find a lot at once.

Good luck!

vegetable gardening

send me info about small vegetable garden.


Can I grow avocados in my area? If yes, what variety and when to plant my first dwarf tree.

Can I grow avocados?

Hi Frances, You didn’t mention where you live. However, we can tell you that avocados grow in zones 9B through 11. This is fairly limited to parts of California and the Southern regions. See our plant hardiness zone map:

Avocados are subtropical trees native to southern Mexico, and they grow best in semihumid climates with moderate temperatures (60° to 80°F). You can, however, grow avocados in containers and move them inside during cold weather, but there are no dwarf varieties available, so the trees tend to get too big within about three years.

Beef Steak Tomatoes

I like beef steak tomatos on my sandwich, but can't seem to find any at the store. For the past couple of years, I've gone to five different stores to buy a "beef steak" plant (even the Amish). Alas, all I seem to get are cherry tomatoes. Although those are fine. But, 5 PLANTS of them!!!! Sheesh, I wish they wouldn't get smushed when I put them in my slingshot. The question is, is there any way to tell the difference between tomato plants?
Just for the heck of it, last year I bought two packets of "beef steak" seeds and am starting to grow them inside and then do the transplant thing.
I've been gardening on and off for the past 40 years.

Sometimes plants get

Sometimes plants get mislabeled in green houses but 5 times seems like a lot. Starting your tomatoes from seed is a good idea. Be aware that there are many varieties of beef steak tomatoes with different names, from Big Boy to pink Hungarian Heart. Burpee now offers mailorder plants. Here are the beef steak offerings.


Love your site want to learn more

Vegetable garden

Small vegetables, did string beans and tomatoes last summer did very well.With your help I could try others

Plenty of space just no knowledge

I am so lucky just to find your site. Sinds we moved to Sweden and have a large garden I am trying to create a vegetable garden. But I am like a chicken without its head running from left to right. So now I can start to plan with your help. Now I can start to plant some fruit en vegetables.


My husband and I decided to plant our own vegetables and to look after them. The problem is that we have no experience about it, but we have a very strong will and desire to do it. Your article shows us some very important steps for beginning. Greetings

Beginner vegetable gardening

Rhonda, We are so happy to hear that this advice was useful to you and your husband. Many thanks for sharing these kind words! We appreciate your interest in The Old Farmer’s Almanac and our Web site. With all good wishes, your OFA editors

Hi, We have 3 raised garden

We have 3 raised garden beds. This spring we added some manure to the beds and now our weeds are worse than ever. They have basically taken over the entire beds. Is there a way to rid the planting beds of all these weeds over the winter so they will be ready for planting again next spring?

Thank you.

The weeds have been around

The weeds have been around for centuries, so you are never going to completely erradicate them. You can minimize them, however, by MULCHing—now and when you plant.
See this page for more details:
And this one
You might find more advice in these videos:

Hi, I did three box gardens


I did three box gardens this year to see if I can grow enough vegetables like I used to on my parents farm. I can only use boxes because our landlord will not allow us to plant vegetables in the soil. The box with the okra is growing tall but no produce yet, the corn is growing up to my waist but nothing budding. I planted Roma Tomatoes in a box with banana peppers and I see the peppers are growing but the tomatoes are still small about the size of a golf ball. One was ripened red but started to rot and didn't grow any bigger.

Are the banana pepper plants keeping the tomatoes from growing larger? Do I need t transfer them to a different box by themselves?

Without seeing the plants or

Without seeing the plants or knowing your location, garden conditions, or when they were planted it’s impossible to know if the plants are at the correct stage or if there’s a problem, I’m afraid. I’d recommend you make sure you planted each at the correct time and that they’re spaced correctly and have been receiving enough water. You might like to try out our Garden Planner to see correct spacings for your plants and find the ideal sowing, planting and harvesting times for your location, based on climate data from your nearest weather station. You can try it for free for 30 days which is ample time to explore this issue:

hi. I was looking that

hi. I was looking that website and I read something about new kind of stawberries which Nj farms has.I think all organic.I could not find which farms have that do u know anything about it.thanks.

i grow a lots of herbs in my

i grow a lots of herbs in my garden but my strawberries are always tiny, could it mean they need a lot of fertiliser? My homemade compost is almost ready.
I have planted some shrubs: blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (I live in the north of England) they have grow well so far, how can I help them bare good big fruits??? Thank you very much.

Is there mint near the

Is there mint near the strawberries? It is not compatible with them so it may be your problem.

I live in a tropical Island

I live in a tropical Island in indonesia called Bali. Here is very Hot and sunny, What Vegetables, fruit, or herbs should I plant? I also have a lot of animals like rats, rabbits, cats, bird running around my neighborhood. What do I do to get rid off all of them? there is also no nursery or seed plant seller here. I also can't buy internationaly because My country don't let them in and I'M 15 with no credit. Even if there is, I don't know (O already try to search) and only little type of plant they sell

Often you can save the seeds

Often you can save the seeds from the fruits and vegetables you buy. If they are locally grown even better because you know they will grow in your area. Just make sure they are not GMO genetically modified organisms You want organic or heirloom varieties of seed. Also check out to see if there are any seed trading groups around.

I was wondering about the

I was wondering about the miracle growables that have the seeds in the pods. Are they worth buying? If so, would you recommend placing them in a raised bed?

Hi Ashley, We recommend to

Hi Ashley,
We recommend to get good seed and start plants in a potting mix with added compost. If you start seeds indoors you can plant the transplants in the raised bed after your last spring frost date. Some seeds (peas, beans, radishes, squashes) you can sow directly in the raised bed.

Hi I live in calgary alberta

Hi I live in calgary alberta and have a south facing back yard. I am planning to put my vegetable garden at the back of the yard beside the shed. I noticed that it is 1100am and that area is still shaded by the fence. As we get in to summer I know this will change some. Do you think it will be a good spot that will get enough sun. I picked that spot as I thought that the area would shelter the garden from the wind.

I am going to be planting

I am going to be planting potatoes when the weather is right and I have no clue when your supposed to harvest a potato... How do you know when they are ready when they are underground? Oh and is it smart to have maragolds surrounding your garden I've heard that they keep pests away and wasn't sure if it was supposed to be all around the garden or just in random spots... I have so many questions and I have been trying to google them but there's so many different answers I don't know what to listen too! Someone help me please!!!!

Hello, new gardener! We're

Hello, new gardener! We're happy to help beginner gardeners. In terms of potatoes, you plant them just after your last spring frost. New potatoes are ready in about 10 weeks, in mid-July in many regions. Here's the direct link to our Potatoes plant page:
We have plant guide pages for all your common vegetables here:
Yes, marigolds have been known to repel some insects and animals and most certainly parasitic worms. Just plant them on the edges of the bed. See our marigold page here:

what is safe to use on my

what is safe to use on my vegitable/fruits to keep insects away?

is companion planting the

is companion planting the same as planting in family groups?

Not exactly. Companion

Not exactly. Companion planting is planting different families that will compliment/benefit each other. Check out this page with more information:

I planted a small vegetable

I planted a small vegetable garden next to our house. The plants closest to the house remain sickly, low bearing. I was told that cement foundations leach something harmful for some plants. Is this true?

I doubt it's that harmful.

I doubt it's that harmful. Maybe it could change the pH of the soil. Are you plants getting less rain water or sun because they are too near the wall?

Hello, I m working on making

I m working on making plan of training tribal ppl on kitchen garden which can help them to increase their nutrient intake with food diversity so can suggest any site or links which have videos for training these ppl on how to develop a kitchen garden.

WOW ! You have some nerve

WOW ! You have some nerve thinking that you need to train Native Americans on what ,when and how to grow on our Native land ! Thank you again for saving us from ourselves ! do you want us to sign a treaty for this information ?

Maybe the person isn't

Maybe the person isn't referring to native Americans.

I have a large area in my

I have a large area in my backyard that I rototilled up and planted vegetables that I knew my family woudl eat. The issue is that I think the vegetables I chose may not have been planted properly next to ones that would help them thrive. HOw do you know where and which plants to plant to one another to have the healtiest garden? I planted teh following but would love for someone to tell me what to plant to what for next year.
Tomatoes, Corn, Yellow Squash, Zuchhini, Green Beans, Orka, Green, Red Peppers, Jalapenio peppers strawberries and raspberries.

Hello frustrated

Hello frustrated grower, 
When an entire garden doesn't thrive, the reasons are usually related to a) sunlight.  Most veggies need a LOT of sun—6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight and b)  soil preparation. Soil must be nutrient-rich most of us have to supplement with plenty of organic matter/compost, c) watering, of course!
However, you are correct in saying that some plants grow better next to each other.  It's called "Companion Planting" and we do practice it.  Here are two beginner articles on this top which you may find useful:
Finally, to plant the veggies you want, we would suggest you try out our online Garden Planner for free. You can do a search for gardens in your area and find gardens that match your interests, too.  See:
We hope this gets you started!  Gardening is a never-ending learning process—for us, too!

Good for you for trying to

Good for you for trying to grow veggies. I so firmly believe that home-grown, organic produce is best for me and my family.

I have not been a totally successful gardener myself. I've looked at various ideas and ways to change my garden into something truly fruitful and productive. I recently stumbled upon this information, which I'm going to try as soon as the snow melts. It has some great reviews. Check it out:

To the frustrated

To the frustrated gardener:
green beans and corn grow well together because beans release nitrogen into the soil and corn is a high nitrogen feeder. Also if you plant pole beans, they will climb the corn! Corn and tomatoes don't like each other. Tomatoes and peppers are safe together but carrots will increase flavor in peppers.

Is it safe to use a weed

Is it safe to use a weed killer in my garden? The weeds are just terrible this year and I can't keep up with them. I pull them out and they're back in a few days.Some weed killers state they are safe in vegetable gardens. Are they really?

Weeds need to be raked when

Weeds need to be raked when young; at this point, pulling weeds can be very difficult indeed and perhaps not worthwhile. You can try pouring boiling water or vinegar on weeds if you're seeking a homemade recipes. Ask your local cooperative extension about safe herbicides in your state.
Deterring weeds is mostly about soil preparation--all before you even plant the garden. At this point, we would suggest that you use an organic mulch to smother the weeds. Apply 3 to 4 inches deep around the base of veggie plants (not on the base). Materials are manures, bark chips, leaves, and even newspapers (shredded or in layers). Water plants right at their base, not on the leaves nor mulch.

Hi, We started a raised bed

We started a raised bed for the first time. I plant some eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, spinach, corn, some beans. But I started all of them in mid may(may 15). We are in St.Louis now. Can I get the harvest within october or not?

And my other suggestion is I planted some ridge guard and bitter guard. The spacing for them is just similar to Pumpkins or not? I did same as the pumpkins. I want to make it better for the next spring.


Hi Padmini, You will find

Hi Padmini,
You will find that some of your vegetables will mature before others during the summer months and you may want to plant more for a second crop.
Ridge gourd (or luffa) can be planted in hills (3 seeds to a hill) about 6 feet apart. Use a trellis for the vines to grow up.

Ok, Thanks for the reply. I

Ok, Thanks for the reply.

I am so exited as this is my first vegetable garden. You are very helpful to the starters like me.

I have planted tomatoes and

I have planted tomatoes and green beans in pots. The tomatoe plants seem to begrowing very slow. I have used plant food. I water every morning and night. They get full sun.

Hi Tammy, Make sure the pots

Hi Tammy,
Make sure the pots are big enough for the tomatoes roots. Cool weather slows growth so hopefully with the warmer temperatures your plants will thrive.

Very helpful

Very helpful

I'm new to gardening and have

I'm new to gardening and have planted just three tomatoes, two peppers, six squash. Then I decided to plant some sprouted potatoes I had between the tomatoes. Now I read that tomatoes and potatoes shouldn't be planted together. Should I pull up the potatoes?

It is a risk for

It is a risk for disease/pests that attack both plants, but gardeners have done it before, as the plants require similar conditions. If the potatoes haven't started rooting, you might want to look for another spot, even a large container. But if they've developed roots/leaves, you might want to leave them. Make sure, though, that there is plenty of space between the potatoes and tomatoes; otherwise, you may disturb the tomato plant's roots when you harvest the potatoes underground.

Hello . I am wanting to start

Hello . I am wanting to start a raised garden. I have these seedling ready to go out but idk how to arrange them or what size gardeb I need ? 2 pumpkin plants , pack of corn seeds , pack of carrot seeds , lots of cucumber plants , lots of watermelon plants and some beans germenating indoors . can you please help me ? Ive tried on online planners to help me with creating a plan but nothing works on my cell :/

how can i start a vegetable

how can i start a vegetable plantation if my place is suffering from drought '//where should i get water to watered the plants? is there other plants that can survive without water

We know many folks have

We know many folks have drought conditions. The best solution is to dig in buckets of organic matter such as well-rotted manure. Better yet, garden in raised beds or plant in containers so that you can add your soil mixed with compost. Carrots, beetroot, parsnips and other root crops are probably the most drought tolerant. Avoid eafy vegetables and flowering vegetables. See more tips on a water-wise garden:

Very helpful post. I love the

Very helpful post.
I love the chart that helps determine when to plant certain seeds. Also, it never crossed my mind to consider the direction of the sun when deciding where to set up my veggie patch. Very handy tip with the Marigolds - I've got a couple of rabbits myself and they always seem to be hungry... Hopefully a couple of flowers will deter them!
Article is really well laid out and easy to follow. Many thanks for the tips!

This information has been

This information has been very helpful and your site is very simple and organised, which has really helped me to understand all your quality information. I am hoping to begin my first vegetable garden this week in my new house and your site has given me all the knowledge I feel I need to do so. However I do have a question, if I was to have a dog would I have to do anything different or should it be okay with the dog and vegetable patch?

Hi . wanting to start a

Hi . wanting to start a raised bed . I have cucumber plants (a lot! I didn't think every seed would make it but they did n I have like 25 plants ), watermelon plants ( same as cumcumbers ) , 2 big pumpkins plants , as well as green beans , yellow beans and carrots . im wanting to build raised beds . suggestions what size I should build? How I should set it up ? Should I make more then one ? Maybe a few different 4x4 beds to separate everything individually ? Ticks I thought the planning would be the easy part but it seems the growing them will be much easier then deciding where to put them :p

OK I'm going to start off by

OK I'm going to start off by saying I am BRAND NEW to this. We are a family of seven trying to eat healthy. I have RA so my husband made me a raised bed. I love it! It's 8 foot by 4 foot and about 12-14 inches deep, & about waist high off the ground. I know we need to plant very small amounts of things. Any suggestions on what to plant that won't take over the entire bed?

Congrats! Almost every

Congrats! Almost every vegetable can be grown in a raised bed so you just want to consider what you enjoy eating and perhaps start with some easy vegetables. See this article on which veggies are good for beginners:
To plan your garden with the right spacing , try our online Garden Planner for free here:
It will tell you the planting dates for your area, too. Good luck!

What's the difference between

What's the difference between a raised bed and an elevated bed (like a table w/ a trough) in terms of what you can grow and watering/maintenance?

A raised bed is placed

A raised bed is placed directly on the ground and holds moisture and warmth better than an elevated bed, plus it benefits from the action of worms and other soil fauna which help to keep the soil light and fertile. It can potentially also offer more root depth, depending on how high it is built and if you're growing directly onto the soil (rather than on a patio, say).
An elevated bed on stilts is great for people with limited mobility, and are often built to enable a wheelchair to get underneath for easy access. They will need more watering than a raised bed, and plants may need some protection in colder weather. Often you are limited to growing shallow-rooted crops but some raised beds are built in a V shape, so that deep-rooted vegetables such as carrots and parsnips can be grown in the centre while shallower-rooted ones can be grown round the edges. One other thing to consider is the height of the vegetables you want to grow--tall or climbing plants such as cucumbers and tomatoes may be out of reach!

Hi, thank you for the

Hi, thank you for the wonderful information on this site! My husband and I have been trying to start our first vegetable and herb and some Fruit garden this year. Therefore, we planted numerous seeds in small pots and kept out of the frost until after our last frost date for our area - however, it has now been approximately 1 month and we still have very few things that have started to sprout. I actually think I can count on 1 hand the number of seedlings that have sprouted from the possible 50 or more seedling pots we planted. I think we likely were not as diligent on maintaining the temperature and water for these in the earliest days - but I would like to know how much longer I should try to nurse these seeds before I decide to say its time to throw it away and start over - or with some already developed plants from a local nursery. We planted corn, tomatoes, carrots (planted some in an old spaghetti glass jar so our children could hopefully watch them grow & some in the seedling pots -- the ones in the jar are the only carrots that have sprouted), various beans and peas (have had a couple of purple hull peas and green peas sprout), cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. and herbs such as: dill, lavender (have had a couple of these sprout), thyme (have had a couple of these sprout), oregano, rosemary, spearmint etc.
Any help/suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!!
We are not opposed to building a more formal green house inside our garage to start seeds in with grow lights - but figure that is probably something we would not need until later in the year... (??)

Hi Sarah, It is sometimes

Hi Sarah,

It is sometimes tricky to start seeds indoors. You need warmth, plenty of light and the right amount of humidity. Go to our vegetable/herb pages and read about the specific veggies and herbs that you started from seed.

A few of the vegetables that you started indoors are better seeded directly in the garden. Peas, beans and corn germinate quickly outdoors. Peas can be planted earlier than beans and corn. Carrots usually also do better if planted directly in the garden (they don't transplant very well).
Good luck!

Hello again what would be the

Hello again what would be the best soil for my garden? and is it safe for the garden to plant on early spring

For a vegetable garden, you

For a vegetable garden, you want rich, well-drained soil of loamy texture. Most soil needs the addition of some organic matter such as compost. To see if you have the right soil, you could do a soil test. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for information on getting your soil pH tested. 

My class is building a veggie

My class is building a veggie garden, could we plant trees in a garden???

It depends on the size of

It depends on the size of your garden. Generally, you want to plant a vegetable garden away from trees and shrubs so that they get 6 to 8 hours of sun and don't compete.

I've heard of using cement

I've heard of using cement fiber siding to build raised garden beds on you-tube. A brand called Hardie plank. Is this safe?

It's made out of cement , wood fiber, and silica sand.

I am planting a new garden in

I am planting a new garden in this location. I have a small ditch near my site. I have seen snakes in my yard in past years. I am afraid of them and don't want an encounter in my garden. Do you have any ideas so I can keep them away? I await your response, thank you.

ceder chips, are a natural

ceder chips, are a natural repellent to not only snakes, but all bugs,except pollinators.(such as bees, hornets, and such.)

I am an old at vegetables

I am an old at vegetables growing at my garden :) I even sell them, because I grow them i huge amount :) Not far away I discovered this thing- Sodo kultivatoriai :) It is amazing how it helps for me and saves my time. Try to do the same if you grow vegetables at your garden :))

ive been growing vegtables

ive been growing vegtables for quiet some time now and have been reasonably successful in what ive given a go much to that great soli we had been bleesed with. but since building a new home and no longer at the old address im now faced with what I consider my biggest challenge yet? rock hard almost cement like clay??? and lots of it ive read ways of breaking down clay with lime and other products but I would really prefer to stay away from any form of chemical to break down the clay. Now im in the mean time slowly progressing with my compost and as it is a fairly slow process in its self so my question is there any other ways you could possibly suggest to me so I can get the process started as I would really like to start my growing before the winter months start. any advice would be much appreciated. NattyB

The best amendments for clay

The best amendments for clay soil are coarse sand (builders’ sand) and coarse organic matter. There are lots of types of organic matter and it needs to be coarse. Try to find a source for aged manure (local farm) or compost (maybe your city has a compost site for leaves and garden debris).

Have you thought about raised

Have you thought about raised bed gardening, check out square foot gardening on google. I think it's a very excellent idea. But then again I'm just new to gardening myself :) hope I helped or maybe planted a seed in your mind about something new. Best of luck

I am thinking of starting a

I am thinking of starting a garden for the markets I was wondering if you have any tips or any advice for me ? Also I was wondering how would I plan on producing say 10 lbs of tomatoes each week till the seasons up is that even possible?

You can get a yield of 5

You can get a yield of 5 pound tomato per plant. Here is a good resource on growing tomatoes for market:

I'm curious about growing

I'm curious about growing enough food in your garden to last a year and to feed a couple of people.

This story outlines how much you'd have to plant per person, but woould you need a really large plot to actually pull this sort of thing off? If for example, the only fruits and veggies you ate were the ones you grew, and you were feeding two adults, would you need something like an acre of land?

How much land

We plant 3 10X10 plots and have plenty for a family of 3 (plus lots to give away to neighbors)
We also raise 7-12 chickens per year which gives us plenty of eggs to eat and sell (to cover food costs when the garden has no greens).
We have a 4 bed home on 2/3 acre. Our chicken coop is also 10X10

i have stumbled across some

i have stumbled across some issues and im not entirely sure how i want to go about gardening. my soil might be toxic because of the mill in my area, and id have to do raised beds but im not entirely sure which plants are suitable for raised beds an whats not. and i dont want to plant something thats gunna not work. beginner gardener. starting to try to do something different this year. thank you.

Hi Emily, Thanks for your

Hi Emily, Thanks for your post. First, we are concerned about the toxic soil. We suggest that you call your county extension agent. They check for pH levels to see what kind of soil you have--and perhaps they can tell if the soil is contaminated. Here is a list of cooperative extension web sites for each state:
Second, most plants do well in raised beds. As you mention that you are a beginner, we think that you would like this video on How to Use Raised Beds in Your Garden. Click here:
All the best with your beginner gardener, the OFA editors

If you are worried about

If you are worried about toxic soil, you could make a tote garden. There are diretions on how to do this on utube. It is simple, recycles materials, saves water, no weeds, and even helps keep the bugs out(at least the ones you dont want). Just be sure to get the right soil for the plants you want to grow. I find that red totes are great for tomatoes and peppers.

hello , this site is

hello ,
this site is beautifull and organized
at the same time is simple
i hope i can make best benefit out of it

I tried to rekindle an old

I tried to rekindle an old garden area that was no longer productive. I took two years adding and tilling in compost matter. On the third year, I tilled up and planted in this area. The plants thrived for the first couple weeks with my late afternoon watering. At the first good rain, the plants were overtaken immediately by weeds. For the remainder of the year, none of my plants could be seen due to the excellent weed growth. Is there any good way to rid such a garden of weeds that grow so rapidly without harming the vegetables?

Instead of worrying about

Instead of worrying about weeds or trying pull them all so that your plants will thrive, have you tried adding 3" to 4" of mulched leaves or dried lawn clipping lawn around them to smother weeds? You may want to water earlier in the day. I never suggest sprinkler water for a vegetable garden and watering just around you veggies will keep water from the 1,000's of years of weed seed in the soil. That will allow the plants to have the water they need during the warmest part of the day.

We just bought a new house.

We just bought a new house. It has an area near the house that I am turning into a garden. The problem is it is covered in weeds. Not very tall but some are viney. What is the best way to get rid of the weeds without poisoning my soil? I will remove a lot by hand but any easier ways and/or preventing them from coming back?

You might want to use mulch

You might want to use mulch to cover you soil around your plants after you have tiller and planted. There is honestly, no way to get rid of all of the weed seeds in your soil. You can, however, begin to build new weed free soil on top of your garden soil by adding mulch mulch and more mulch. As the years go by, you will notice that you have fewer and fewer weeds showing up in your garden.

I have a small roto-tiller

I have a small roto-tiller (Honda FG100, similar to a Mantis cultivator except uses reg gas). It's great for going between rows eats up weeds as easy as mowing the lawn. These tillers will do most of your tilling if your ground is good and only weight 30LBS and cuts a 12" path

I have a problem with

I have a problem with raccoons eating my corn. They can destroy a garden in one night.
What is the best method to keep raccoons out of the corn field?
I have an electric fence, however they still get in. If I use a trap, what is the best bate to use?

to help with the raccoon

to help with the raccoon problem, plant cucumbers around the exterior of your garden, their paws are too sensitive for the vines and they hate the smell of them. also you can put a well stinky shirt *work out in a tshirt and sweat a lot* and put it out there, they hate the smell of humans. put a spot light on it, most raccoon wont come out in the sun, they dont like the light. i have a raccoon at my place, i did the cucumbers, i had a lot of cucumbers LOL but none of my plants were bothered.

We are nature loveing people

We are nature loveing people we have wild animals that live on our land and I feed them , I got a big bag of dog food (we dont have a dog) and I put out a large bowl every night when i feed the chickens and the coons eat that and leave the garden alone and as for the rabbit's i just throw the seeds out by the fince and grow them a batch also I'm anti hunting so I have deer feeder's all ove my property and feed them during hunting season , we have three that come right up to the deck.

I am very very concerned

I am very very concerned about the suggestion of putting out dog food for the raccoons. My neighbors used to do that...until both of us had RAT problems. I can't begin to tell how horrific that was.

late june my husband tilled

late june my husband tilled an area where we had a small fire pit. he squared it to about a 5x6 area. I figured that I can plant my tomatoes and habaneros 18" apart and have room for all of them. all were started and growing well in a pot before moving them to the ground. I planted the tomatoes in the center and the peppers around the outside. this was a last minute project with no planning for the 'priming' the dirt (which is old used up farmland)The tomatoes are where the ash is left...not so much for the peppers. we've had a mild summer with a few hot days. I water when needed and nothing seems to be growing. the peppers are bushing but not growing, the tomatoes are producing but don't seem to be getting much taller either. this is my first time doing this and getting results from tomatoes what am I doing wrong. if it makes a difference everything was started from seeds, no nursery plants. it's mid july and i'm concerned I won't get much out of the plants before the end of the expectations get the best of me.

As you say, this was a "last

As you say, this was a "last minute project"; sometimes these are inspired, sometimes they just make you tired.
You should have checked the pH of the soil before planting and, as you also say, primed the soil
While wood ash can be beneficial, too much can alter the nutrient values in the soil—and the nutrient values can vary depending on the type of wood.
It may be too late to amend the soil, but you can try. Get a pH test kit from a garden supply store and amend as indicated.
Next time, . . . well, we'll spare you that advice. You know what to do. Best wishes!

When you say there was ash

When you say there was ash there, it suggests to me that was the problem. Ash is very alkaline, causing problems for the plants. While ash may contain some nutrients (such as potassium and calcium), the burning of wood released the small amount of nitrogen present in the wood. The ash was potentially beneficial only if the soil was too acidic. And in that case, only a small amount of ash can be tolerated. Remember there's plants that can tolerate whatever soil you have. But ash is quite harmful to plants, especially in large amounts.

Safe Insecticides Hi there, I

Safe Insecticides

Hi there, I attempted to plant a vegetable patch for the first time this year. I have noticed that something is eating away at the leaves of my eggplant plants. Do you have any suggestions for a food safe, even natural, insecticide? Thank you.

Try Safer Insecticidal Soap.

Try Safer Insecticidal Soap. Also, it's best to grow eggplants under floating row covers until they start to bud; then they're big enough to handle the insects.

we had a major rainstorm last

we had a major rainstorm last night and it has flattened all of my Potatoes.Some of them have started flowering how can I save them to get a harvest this season?

Your potato plants should

Your potato plants should survive. If you have continuous rain over a week or more, you would have to worry about them rotting. Otherwise, the foliage should perk back up.

I am new at this and i have

I am new at this and i have lots of thistle in my garden, Is there any thing i can do this fall to keep them from coming back next year other then digging them up each time one pops up?

We rented a house a few years

We rented a house a few years ago and there was a raised bed with lots of weeds ready to use. That fall we laid down some heavy black plastic after weeding. In the spring I removed the plastic turned the soil and was ready to plant. You may get similar results by running a large "HOT" compost pile over the garden through the winter if your location allows for such, then just turn the fresh compost into your garden, that way you can use all that lovely thistle biomass in place of chucking it away. Best of luck. I compost my pig weed and morning glory all the time...see, weeds do have a use.

Smothering the ground in that

Smothering the ground in that manner can be bad for the soil. When you put down landscaping fabric, or in this case plastic, to smother or bake out the weeds, it also kills beneficial things in the soil such as earthworms (which digest dead plant material and in turn both aerate the soil as well as fertilize it) and good bacteria. Instead, you should spend a year or two seriously overmulching the area to smother the weeds. This will still let the earthworms and other beneficial creatures live, keeping your soil healthy, while the mulch slowly breaks down and adds a new layer of compost to the top, which will be healthy for your new garden when it's planted.

I am wanting to plant a

I am wanting to plant a garden and it is the begining of June! The only place i have to plant my garden is in the evening shade but it has the morning sun, so will it be ok to plant my garden now in the shade

i recently planted a small

i recently planted a small garden with 4 rows. i planted corn and peas from seed, and tomatoes already started and peppers, and onions with starters, but i think i may have overwatered them cuz they were looking good then today they look wilted. any suggestions?

Is it ok to plant my garden

Is it ok to plant my garden next to are well?

It's generally advised not to

It's generally advised not to put a garden near a drinking well, due to possible nitrate contamination.

why would I use gypsum? We

why would I use gypsum? We do have hard clay in our dry arid
desert. Do we apply that liberely or on the rows or till? We are not tilling the soil. good idea?

Gypsum has not been proven

Gypsum has not been proven effective. Break up your hard soil and improve aeration and drainage by mixing in organic amendments such as compost, peat and manure. The Colorado extension services advises, "Add a two inch layer of the organic amendment on the surface of the soil and till or spade in to a four to six inch depth. When purchasing organic soil amendments, buy four cubic yards for every thousand square feet of area."

Hello, I'm confused about the

Hello, I'm confused about the wording when it says planting too close to the house will discourage wild animals from nibbling... So planting close to the house it a good thing then? The south facing portion of our house is really the only place I can plant but I would have to put them right against the house because our lot isn't very large. I was thinking of building raised beds or buying breathable fabric containers. What would you suggest?

Planting close to the house

Planting close to the house will keep nibbling animals at a distance. Both raised beds and fabric containers work well. The containers you can store away during the cold months while the raised bed will be a permanent fixture.

I would love to build a

I would love to build a wooden box next to the house but I'm worried that watering a lot right next to the house is bad. Is that a concern that I should have (damaging the house in some way from all the water)?

Planting a garden close to

Planting a garden close to your house is not a bad idea, in fact, having it close to the house means you may be more inclined to use it/care for it. But you need to be sure that the spot you choose receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. 10 hours is even better.

I have looked at the best

I have looked at the best planting dates for my region and evidently I am late in my planting. I have the plants not seeds. Can I still plant and grow? When do I plant?

Hi I have just made a veggie

Hi I have just made a veggie garden I planted seeds in spots I had to dig up the soil and put it into planting boxes and re plant my other plants now all the seedlings are starting to come through everywhere is it bad having a cramped garden?

I have a question...Should I

I have a question...Should I soak all my seeds in water overnight before planting them in the garden or just certain ones? I have a variety of seeds I'm planning to direct sow both vegetables and herbs had read somewhere that I should soak them. Just wanting an "experts"advice. Thanks.

I just planted my first

I just planted my first garden using wood pallets, The bottoms and sides are covered with landscaping fabric. Don't know if the roots will go deep enough, but really wanted to try this as it is much easier than building raised beds. I put my tomato and pepper plants in livestock water tanks. We shall see........

horse manure... fresh or

horse manure... fresh or frozen lol.
I am going to rototill some fresh stuff into the whole garden except where the potatoes will be. good or bad idea.
thank you ahead of time.

Bad. Do not apply fresh

Bad. Do not apply fresh manure to beds in the growing season; apply fresh manure only in the fall, several months before planting.

How do you keep crows from

How do you keep crows from eating all your young corn plants???

Hi, EMT, If your rows aren’t

Hi, EMT, If your rows aren’t too long, consider making a V-shaped “tent” above the row to protect seedlings until they are rooted well enough to resist the crow pulling on it. Another idea from a reader was to put balloons between the corn rows! One oldtime cure was to soak a few quarts of dried corn in whiskey, and scatter it over the fields for the crows. All the best.

I had a treatment plant

I had a treatment plant instaled with a sprinkler system off of it. Can I water my veggie garden with this system safely.

The circumstances you

The circumstances you describe are general and require a specific answer. We are not qualified to give you a conclusive response to this, sorry. Consider getting the water tested and then talking to your cooperative extension service about the results and the viability of using the water on edibles. We champion the idea of recycling water but it may be that this water is best used on ornamentals and the like. We hope this helps.

I have a huge rabbit

I have a huge rabbit problem.....We have jack rabbits & cotton tails. My house sits accross from an open field. We have a large lawn area in the front yard, as well as several large planters. Little did my husband & I know we were opening a 24/7 buffet for the lil boogers when we started filling in these planters. For a brief time we had 9 beautiful purple fountain grass, 7 agapanthus nile lilies, 5 Day lilies, several calla lilies, tulips, & hiacinths, freesia & asiatic lilies among flowers. What the rabbits didn't eat down to nothing died from lack of h2O because the they chewed through my drip system hoses. There has got to be a solution! We are so tired of repairing the drip system & feeding the rabbits. We just want our pretty yard back & to survive these attacks. Please help! I am surrounded by dirt & need something pretty to look at. Any suggeststions on remedies & or rabbit proof plants, ground cover or flowers. we had rosemary at our old house, rabbits didn't seem to touch that....

Here are are a few flowers

Here are are a few flowers that rabbits may be less likely to eat: geranium, ageratum, wax begonia, bee balm, peony, Russian sage, salvia, daffodils, and ornamental onions. For vegetables try potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and squashes. Some larger shrubs may also work. Rugosa roses have thorns that will keep bunnies away. Have you considered putting up a fence?

This post is a good guide for

This post is a good guide for the gardening beginners...very good tips are shared here! Got to learn many important things which should be kept in mind for gardening! I must say that this is a must read post!

Hello, I am building my first

Hello, I am building my first tilled garden in many years and trying to do it right. when I till the garden flat, then make rows, do I plant in the mounded rows or in the valley? Sorry to be so dumb but been awasy from gardening for over 30 years. Thanks So Much

Hello, Thomas, For most

Hello, Thomas, For most veggie seeds, you just make rows but there is no need to created mounded rows. The seed packets will mention how deep the seeds need to be planted.
Those gardeners who mound their rows often have heavy soil with poor drainage, such as hard-packed clay soil; the rain just runs off it. Mounded rows can also help warm the soil faster in the spring.

If you do mound your rows, usually you plant on top, not in the valley. Make a depression in the middle to hold the water a little longer.
Of course, there are certain plants that prefer mounds such as melons and squash. See our Plant library for each plant's planting needs:

If you are putting a fence

If you are putting a fence around your garden what kind of fence would you put?

It depends on your purpose.

It depends on your purpose. Do you wish to keep out animal pests? In general, a simple 3-foot-high chicken-wire fence with 1-inch mesh keeps out rabbits and most small- and medium-size animals. You'll also need steel or rot-resistant wood posts. We'd suggest you visit a home improvement store for more advice, but hope this gets you started!

A low (2ft) wire mesh, such

A low (2ft) wire mesh, such as chicken wire, will deter small animals. If you have deer in the area place an additional high (3ft) wire or string 3ft outside the low fence and tie some rag flags to it. The deer will not jump the high fence and low fence both. Something about the combination makes them wary of being trapped.

I am new to gardening Last

I am new to gardening
Last year none of my green pepper plants had any growth
This year I had a lot of green pepers but they stayed small
They tasted great but also had a "brown rash" on the bottom
They were not touching the ground at all
Anyone know what this is?

Peppers and tomatoes are both

Peppers and tomatoes are both sensitive to calcium deficiency that is often caused by watering with fluoride laden water. Fluoride blocks calcium uptake into plants and causes "blossom end rot". Severe cases literally rot on the end opposite the stem. Less severe occurrences resemble the brown to black "rash" you described.

Check the soil for ph, and nutrient content and amend it with bone meal generously. Crushing a calcium based antacid tablet into the hole when planting is also good. Try to use rain water or allow municipal water to sit in a barrel to "gas off" for 48 hrs prior to applying.

hi what is the best veggies

hi what is the best veggies to plant in winter

It depends on where you live.

It depends on where you live. In the South, you have many options. The main concern is whether you have a killing frost in your region. For example, if you have a first freeze by late October, you could plant root crops by mid-August (early carrots, leek, turnips) as well as some leafcrops (early cabbages, winter cauliflower, Swiss chard). By mid-September, you could plant chives, radishes, spinach, and cover crops. Cold frames are a great way to grow fall and winter crops. See:

I also have a jay

I also have a jay problem.
They attack rubber snakes & owls & steal my tomatoes & strawberries.
The only thing I've found to stop them is a net!

I have used the hay that my

I have used the hay that my cows didnt eat as mulch in my garden now i have grass comming up every place that i used the mulch what should I do

Old-timers say that if you

Old-timers say that if you see weeds coming up through the hay you need to mulch more. Add another layer of hay. Another tip from a reader is to put the hay in the chicken yard first and let the chickens find all the seeds. Then use it as mulch.
The grass that comes up from hay is usually pretty easy to pull out by hand.

I have chipmonks and squirls.

I have chipmonks and squirls. Last year they ate ALL my tom and peeppers. Funny thing, they would eat them 2 days before I could even do a eary pic. I really dont want to cage thentire garden, any advice? By the, my tenant just moved in w/2 small dogs, maybe the wil keep vermen @ bay

See this squirrel page here

See this squirrel page here for remedies that have worked for me and other readers:

I'm just starting my first

I'm just starting my first veggie garden, and because of the small back yard my husband and I have and my bad back, we isolated a spot and built up a raised garden bed. After reading these threads I realized that it was probably a bad idea that we used pressure treated wood.... what should I do now? Is the pressure treated wood going to stop my veggies from growing? will it make them dangerous to eat with the arsenic and copper that leaches into the soil and plants?

Hi Kimmie, It really depends

Hi Kimmie, It really depends how the type of pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated lumber sold in the US after 2003 contains no arsenic (and is no longer CCA-treated). The wood you bought should come with tags that identify how it's been treated and here's a page about types of treated wood:
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378. To be on the safe side, they suggest lining the beds with plastic.

hello, i'm new to gardening

i'm new to gardening and have a very limited site that gets good drainage but is somewhat shaded by large oak trees. what vegetables can you recommend for a newby?

In my experience, some plants

In my experience, some plants produce surprisingly well even near trees, but maybe not on the north side of large trees.
In partial sun (near trees), try squash, greens, beans, cucumbers, and potatoes.
If you want corn, tomatoes, or peppers, I think they will need full sun (far from trees).

Hello, I plan on starting my

I plan on starting my first vegetable garden this spring. I have a small cat problem though. The neighbours cats, while friendly, already make use of my flower garden in the front. Could anyone suggest a safe method of keeping the cats out of the veggie/herb garden?

A large

A large keeps all the neighborhood cats away.

I have heard that sprinkling

I have heard that sprinkling citris peels onto the dirt keeps them out.

Chicken wire around plants

Chicken wire around plants and other areas you don't want dug into. The cats will not like scratching into it and will find another place.

I am attempting my first ever

I am attempting my first ever vegtable garden and want to go all organic, I seem to have red ants EVERYWHERE around my raised garden beds, does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of them organicly?

Try a light sprinkle of boric

Try a light sprinkle of boric acid. It is a light white powder sold at hardware stores in the pesticide dept. just use a light sprinkle. they walk through it an when they groom they ingest it and it poisons them. it should not hurt flying bugs as it has to be picked up and eaten. it also works on roaches. it should be organic, but check to make sure. But if you just leave the ants alone and work around them, you should be alright. They are considered benifical.

I hard that some plants

I hard that some plants compliment other plants and should be planted next to the one
that compliment the other in order to help pollination. Is this true & if so do you have a planting guide?

I am currently doing research

I am currently doing research on this as well. If you look on-line there are numerous sites which suggest,"companion plants" for all different kinds. Also lots of flowers to attract bee's, like honey suckle and bee balm. Happy planting!

A good companion planting it

A good companion planting it the "three sisters" first passed to early settlers by Natives. It's corn, squash, and beans. The plants will grow in the needed order to protect the others and they are nitrogen neutral when planted together. Little weeding should be necessary after the plants emerge and less water is needed in the tight pattern that mulches itself.

Book by Louise Riotte called

Book by Louise Riotte called Carrots love tomatoes &roses love garlic is a superb book for companion planting

For Grudge: Sounds like you

For Grudge:
Sounds like you have cut worms. To protect the corn that has not been cut yet, make cuffs for all the surviving plants. You can take paper cups, cut out the bottom and cut a slit up one side. Slide the cuff over the plant, tape the slit, and push the cuff down into the ground about an inch or two. This should keep the cutworms from gaining access to the plant shoot until the danger has past. You could also use plastic cups which would last longer, or make tubes from plastic water bottles. If you find any grubs while doing this work, especially ones with pincers on them, destroy them! Hope this helps!

I am doing my very first

I am doing my very first vegetable garden this year with my oldest son and we have bought tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, okra and 2 kinds of hot peppers and i have a 12X16 garden. I have yet to put anything in the ground because i have been getting the spot ready and this morning i woke up to blue jays in my garden. How or what can i do to keep them out of my garden and not eat my plants?

The blue jays and other birds

The blue jays and other birds aren't eating your plants, they are eating the insects that eat your plants. So, birds are always welcome in my garden.

they may be eating some

they may be eating some insects but mostly they are eating worms that are good for your soil and they and other birds will eat your seed and sprouts after you plant. An owl decoy will help, I also use two black hoses, the kind that are used on the back of a washing machine , but any black or brown hose about 2 or 3 feet long will work. I place them in my garden in a way that resembles a snake and move them to different locations about once a week. This works great.

Thanks for the information.

Thanks for the information. But, how do you keep birds away from eating your corn?

see my above reply to the

see my above reply to the bluejay problem. I discovered this because of a crow problem. The owl decoy will not work on crows they will attack it but the fake snake does work.

fake snakes made from rubber

fake snakes made from rubber or plastic work on people also some people are scared of snakes it keeps them away from your vegges

I see where marigolds

I see where marigolds discourage bunnies from nibbling on your young plants. What do you do about squirrels? We have a real problem with squirrels in my backyard, and that is why I've not planted a garden before now. This year I want to try one. What do I do about the squirrels, short of shooting them?

Get a cat, but then you have

Get a cat, but then you have the cats messes to deal with. Fence them out is another option. There are also electronic rodent repellers which work well for keeping mice out that will probably work for squirrels.

Look for coyote urine at your

Look for coyote urine at your garden supply store or online. Rodents won't come within yards of the smell. It's also good for fending off deer and other nuisance critters without harming them.

i would like to know if you

i would like to know if you can plant veggies in pots,and if so why didnt my garden grow?

May be your plants are not

May be your plants are not getting the necessary light or may be you need to fertilize the mud of your garden if you say than I can arrange you some cheap fertilizers from I Got some contacts their;-)

Maybe the pots you used were

Maybe the pots you used were too small. Remember 50% or more of any plant grows underground.

The size of the pot is def a

The size of the pot is def a factor I grew some Basil in a pot and some in the ground the Basil in the ground was amazingly better..if say triple the yield

I have planted my first

I have planted my first garden ever this spring, it is 12x20, i planted 8 rows of corn 8feet long, a row of half white runners 8 feet long, a row of burpless cucumbers 8 feet long, a row of okra 8feet long, 2 tomato plants and 2 bananna pepper plants, my corn is the only thing that is not doing wonderful, it is growing well, but within the last week, some of the stalks are falling over and when i goto straighten them up they are completely out of the ground, they seem to have no roots at all, just rounded ends where the roots should be, any ideas?

corn should be planted in

corn should be planted in patches not rows. It is pollinated by wind

Eight rows Eight feet long

Eight rows Eight feet long does make a nice patch.

The problem you are having

The problem you are having sound like you have cutworms. They eat the corn at the base of the plant, making it look like their are no roots. They feed at night, so you may not see any. Try digging around the root area and inspecting for a dark to black grub.

I have a garden that is 12x20

I have a garden that is 12x20 with tomatoes and hot peppers. I have 24 tomato plants and about 72 hot peppers. But I was just wondering about the watering of the tomatoes. I hear that you need 2 inches of water a week for tomatoes. How do you know how much to water in the morning? e-mail me at thank you.

Yes, you should give your

Yes, you should give your tomato plants 2 inches of water per week. Water your plants 2 to 3 times a week, giving them about 3 to 4 liters (roughly a gallon) of water each time. If it's really warm out, you can give your plants extra water.
You can also look at our tomato plant page for more growing tips.
Hope this helps!

I want to plant a vegetable

I want to plant a vegetable garden, my very first. I need to make a raise bed garden as I need to sit while gardening, what is the best frame for a garden? Cinder blocks, wood?

I do not know much about

I do not know much about raised gardens. However, I have used the following to create my own self watering container garden. It took a little over an hour to build one. The tomatoes in the self watering containers resisted the first frost and kept producing until mid December.

link to PDF file

Hope this helps

I have a 5x12 16" deep that I

I have a 5x12 16" deep that I framed with non-insulated vinyl siding. Staked it with 2x4"s cut to size, screwed them into siding and added plastic ties for more support. Durable and inexpensive

Wood is mostly used, but DO

Wood is mostly used, but DO NOT get pressure treated wood.

Why shouldn't I use pressure

Why shouldn't I use pressure treated wood?

Pressure treated wood has

Pressure treated wood has toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and copper, in it that will leach into the soil and into your plants.

UH, OH ! Just finished

UH, OH ! Just finished planting in my new raised beds made from pressure treated wood ! Any suggestions?

Don't worry about the

Don't worry about the pressure treated wood. They don't use arsenic anymore and the chemicals that are used are much safer. Also, many tests have been done to show that the amount absorbed into the food you grow is absolutely minuscule and cannot possibly pose any harm.

If you want a permanent bed

If you want a permanent bed cinder blocks work fine and last longer than wood. Treated wood is OK for growing things you aren't going to eat.

It depends on where you live.

It depends on where you live. We got compressed wood because we get so much rain. But here is an ideas, this company offers triple raised beds, that might be easier for you.

If you want a good raised bed

If you want a good raised bed on the cheap check out cedar fence boards at your local lumberyard. They are usually limited to 6in x 6ft and are dogeared on one end, but a little creative design with some cedar 2x2 stakes made from deck spindles can give you a great raised bed on a budget.

We are going to use

We are going to use galvanized stock water troughs for our raised beds. Generally 2x4x2. How to use tips are on the web.

Make it out of timber . I

Make it out of timber . I used deck boards, but make sure it is not too wide you can manage to reach across from one side to the other without excessive travel for sowing and watering.
More ideas on gardening tips

I have a problem with Morning

I have a problem with Morning Glories. They choke 60 % of my garden. I have a large Garden of about a half an acre. I am growing pretty much all the veggies that you recommend. How do I control these? Also what is a good deterrent for deer?

We have quite a few deer in

We have quite a few deer in our neck of the woods. See if your local barber will save a bag of hair clippings for you, scatter it around your garden, and you should see less deer...

Hair clippings do help. Also

Hair clippings do help. Also randomly placing old knee high stockings containing Irish Spring soap shavings helps, as does hanging pie pans around. I think the key to any of these home remedies is not to use the same method for too long at the time. Rotate the remedy when you see deer venturing back into the forbidden territory.

If the flowers are white,

If the flowers are white, then the plant here in the northwest is called choke weed. First, do NOT pull the weed up! Just little tips of root can and WILL spring forth again with a new plant. You need to use a good herbicide on the plant. When I found this out, it was springing back after my vegetables had already sprouted, so I couldn't just spray the whole plant without losing what I wanted to grow. I got an old child's paintbrush and painted all of the leaves of the new choke weed sprouts. Make sure that it has not rained or received water for a couple of days before either spraying or painting so that it will absorb the herbicide right away and completely. If the major portion of the plant is far enough away from your garden I would spray that with a heavy dose to get down to the major roots. If the plant is originating on someone else's property, you may have to install a deep enough barrier to prevent the roots from traveling onto your property, as they can travel some distance before springing up elsewhere.

Hi, I have heard that if you

I have heard that if you put a bar of Irish Spring soap in your garden the deer will not come near it. I would assume that with 1/2 an acre you would need a few.
Good luck!

Hello My name is Jeremy

Hello My name is Jeremy Boyett i am new at planting Butter beans When is the best time to plant Butter beans?

Thanks for your question,

Thanks for your question, Jeremy.

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two weeks after the last frost. These beans need to be planted in soil temperature of at least 65 F. This time will vary depending on your location.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

I have a lot of deer, I

I have a lot of deer, I found that by planting rosemary helps but I also found rosemary oil which is fantastic for keeping the deer away from my veggies and flowers

Deer hate fishing pole

Deer hate fishing pole string. They can't see it so when they feel it scares them off. If you put up poles around the edge of your garden and string it around it should take care of the problem.

I found the best thing for

I found the best thing for deer is human hair. This is very easy to get and free. You can go to just about any salon and ask for clippings. The longer hair works best. Then you just decorate like tinsle on a tree. The hair smells like us. This helps with just about any anilmal. Slugs can't cross hair either.