Thinking of Starting
a Vegetable Garden?

Starting a vegetable garden is exhilarating, but daunting at the same time.

Steve Tending the Tomato Temple
Tending the Tomato Temple
© Steve Masley…Click IMAGE to Enlarge

Think of all the things you can grow!

Fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes…salads that melt in your mouth…crisp, sweet carrots, straight from the earth.

Imagine yourself surrounded by lush green leaves, red orbs of vine-ripe tomatoes beckoning your hand to pick them…hummingbirds and butterflies visiting flowers all around you.

Makes you want to jump right in, roll up your sleeves, and get started!

But then you think about the details, all the things you need to do, all the things that could go wrong to doom the whole project…

...and it gets put off again until next spring.

Worry about the details of starting a garden for now, not the details of running one. There’s plenty of time for pest control and what to do with your abundant harvests down the road.

Starting Seeds for 2008 Garden 1
Starting Seeds in Pots © Steve Masley
Click IMAGE to Enlarge

I’ve had a plot at a community garden and taught classes and workshops on organic gardening for years, and I’ve seen beginning gardeners make the same mistakes over and over again.

Every year a new crop of gardeners, every year the same set of costly, completely avoidable mistakes.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, I’ve put together a list of The Top 10 Mistakes Beginning Gardeners Make.

Drawing on over 25 years experience growing vegetables organically, and after polling the most experienced gardeners I know, I came up with this list to help new gardeners avoid frustration and wasted effort.

When you’re starting a vegetable garden, so much depends on what you do at the beginning.

Mistakes made at the outset are like planting seeds that grow into tangles of problems down the road. The first year of gardening is tough enough, without making it harder.

But before getting into the list, sit down with your family, and make your own list—of all the vegetables you like.

Have them help pick out seeds and seedlings. If your family is involved from the start, you’ll have more help later in the season—and not just eating the produce!

The Top 10 Mistakes Beginning
Gardeners Make

New gardeners make 10 common mistakes when starting a vegetable garden:

Stanford Community Farm Plot 2
Our Plot at the Stanford Community
© Steve Masley…Click IMAGE to Enlarge
  1. Planting Too Much Garden
  2. Wrong Varieties
  3. Planting Too Early
  4. Poor Soil Preparation
  5. Poor Garden Spacing
  6. Not Enough Light
  7. Incorrect Watering
  8. The “More is Better” Trap
  9. Not Mulching
  10. Ignoring Pollinators

If you’re growing vegetables in containers, click Here for the ins and out of container vegetable gardening.

As a final note, here’s something to remember about starting a vegetable garden: You are going to make mistakes.

You may even make some of these mistakes, in spite of my warning. If you do, all is not lost.

Embrace them, mistakes are your teachers, if you pay attention. Your plants will recover from most of them, and you’ll be a better gardener.

Top of Starting a Vegetable Garden
Vegetable Garden Planting Strategies

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