How to Start a Vegetable Garden: For Beginners

An easy-to-follow tutorial on how to start a vegetable garden – perfect for beginners! 

Never in a million years could I have predicted this post. After all, I grew up allergic to anything plant-related. Avoiding the plant-spell was something that I prided myself on.

And then.

And then we bought a house and it was all down hill from there.

how to start a vegetable garden

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After growing some of the flowers for our wedding last year, Brett and I started talking about planting a vegetable garden. We unanimously agreed that it would be a fun experiment. Even after keeping some wedding flowers alive, we’re both still hesitant to put all the confidence in my planting abilities 🙂

Since I am firmly in the beginner stage of all things related to gardening, I thought I’d share our experiences – if you have any tips or tricks, please share! And if you’re just jumping into the garden/plant world, welcome!

Now, on to the good stuff.

First things, first: find a spot. When we were talking about our 2018 landscaping plans, we talked about putting the garden right next to the flower garden. After talking it through, we realized we didn’t want to move everything once the deck it put on. We decided to plant it more towards the entrance by the deck and wishing well.

In terms of size, we just eyeballed it. I had a rough idea of how many vegetables we’d want to plant and we thought it wouldn’t hurt to have it bigger, rather than too small.

After finding the perfect spot (one with lots and lots of sun), my dad came over and graciously tilled up the plot for us. Tilling mixes up the fertilizer, removes plant residue, helps control the weeds and destroys insects.

The one my dad brought over was a monster and I’m not sure what brand it was. If you aren’t able to rent one and don’t want to drop a ton of money, there are some handheld options available, under $100:

Once the area is tilled, it’s time to put up the fence. We’re battling against the dogs, rabbits and any other small rodents/unwanted varmint. We opted to keep it traditional and went with a steel post and chicken wire.

chicken wire fence around home vegetable garden

The chicken wire can be a bit of a pain to put up – it’s easier with a partner. The posts we bought were only four feet high and there was quite a bit of excess chicken wire. We ended up folding the extra down so it wasn’t flapping everywhere.

chicken wire fence with metal post for vegetable garden


I bought mini bungee cords to secure the entrance but I ended up having enough extra that the chicken wire sticks to itself.

After constructing the fence, I went over the dirt with a metal rake – getting all the grass clumps and weeds raked out.

chicken wire fence around vegetable garden

Then, it was time to map out the vegetables. We had about 50/50 ratio of seeds and plants.

vegetable garden with chicken wire fence

Once we mapped them all out, I sprinkled a line of garden soil where each row would be. We only had one bag so I was trying to be conservative. I mixed together our soil with the garden soil, by hand, before planting.

vegetable garden with new garden soil

Once everything was in the ground, I pulled over the hose and sprinkler and ran the water for about an hour.

vegetable garden with new garden soil


What we planted:

  • Herbs – a collection of basil varieties, thyme, rosemary, cilantro and mint (hello mojitos!)
  • Jalepenos
  • Orange peppers
  • Green peppers
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet peas

Overall, it wasn’t too bad putting everything together. We already have some greenery popping up where the radishes are supposed to be – here’s to hoping it’s not a collection of weeds 😉

garden sticks for identifying plants

A few more things to note:

  • I found these handy garden markers and used them to label all the veggies
  • Adding garden soil (we used Miracle Grow) or compost to your garden prior to planting will give the vegetables extra nutrients; it’s at least worth mixing a little something into your soil
  • We picked up a bottle of Preen and sprinkled that around the entire space; it’s supposed to be a heavy-duty weed preventer
  • We also picked up an all-purpose fertilizer that I’ll sprinkle over the top this week; after doing some research, I think fertilizer can be applied throughout the growing season

To follow along with the progress, be sure to join us on Instagram and Facebook…because what can be more exciting than watching plants grow 😀

All our best,


About North Country Nest

Hi, we're Brett & Kelly! We're tackling our first home renovation and would love for you to join us on our journey of reno projects, DIYs and home decor tips.

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