How to start a beginner vegetable garden from scratch and lose weight while you're at it

  • 4 Minutes Read
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

Wondering how to start a vegetable garden from scratch? Follow these four simple steps.

How to start a vegetable garden from scratch

If you are a beginner gardener, first of all, congratulations! You are making an excellent decision to start a vegetable garden from scratch and also undertaking something healthy for yourself, family, and friends.

Why you don't have to be nervous about starting a vegetable garden from scratch

Don't be worried by the lack of knowledge or experience. Some gardeners who started "Victory Gardens" during the wartime 1940s did not know which end of the hoe to use. By the end of 1943, these small gardens on balconies and in backyards provided 40% of the vegetables eaten by civilians. Black and white video footage depicts people outside during lunch breaks in heels and business suits weeding gardens.

What are the benefits of growing your own food?

Fun Fact: One hour of light gardening burns more calories than one hour of walking at a moderate pace.

You can plant immune-boosting vegetables

A diet containing a wide variety of vegetables provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals, which strengthens your immune system. Different colors of vegetables provide different nutrients. Consuming a combination of colorful garden vegetables provides you with the immune-boosting power of vitamin C, vitamin A, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.

Some simple vegetables for a beginner gardener to grow:

Grow from seeds
Grow from starter plants from a greenhouse or grocery store

It can be motivating to watch your vegetables grow. Lettuce seeds will show their green leaves within two to eight days. Also, starter herbs can be used as healthy salad toppings the same day you bring them home.

Here are 4 Steps to follow for a successful beginner vegetable garden

Step 1: Create

Step 2: Prep

Garden soil preparation creates a healthy environment for your seeds and plants to grow.

Step 3: Plant

Can I really sprinkle seeds on top of each other?

If you want both carrots and radishes in your garden, make a furrow about 1/2 inch deep. First sprinkle carrots seeds, then sprinkle radish seeds on top of them. If you want lettuce and carrots, first sprinkle carrots seeds, then lettuce on top of them. Cover gently with a 1/2 inch of soil. Since carrots take a long time to germinate, you can pick your lettuce or radishes first and not disturb the soil for your carrots, which you will harvest later in the fall.

Step 4: Pick

The best part of a garden is the joy of picking and eating your own vegetables. If you plant radishes, you can harvest in about 3 weeks when the roots are about one-inch in diameter. Chop up a radish in a salad or chop fine and add to low fat cottage cheese for a morning snack. Since lettuce likes to grow in a cooler climate, plant early in the season and pick in about a month. If you want to continue to harvest lettuce throughout the season, just cut the lettuce top off with a scissor and leave one-inch of the stem for future salads. The lettuce will continue to grow.

Tips from experienced gardeners*:

Bottom line

You now know how to start a vegetable garden from scratch by following these four easy steps of planning, prepping, planting and picking. If you are a beginner gardener, start with just three to four plants so that you feel successful. Next year you will want to plant even more!

Please share your own gardening tips with the MyNetDiary community!

*I would like to thank my mom, who grew up on a farm in Colorado, my 84-year-old friend Eleonora in Switzerland, and 94-year-old Aunt Lotte in Germany. They are still finding joy in gardening.

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Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables
May 11, 2020

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