Successful gardening doesn't come by accident, and in my opinion, there is NO SUCH THING as a green thumb. Success comes from good pre-planning and thoughtful follow-through. It's knowing what each vegetable plant needs to grow to a successful harvest and giving each plant what it needs.
Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Consider that every vegetable has a completely different set of needs in almost all areas of growing, from timing to location, to temperature, to the soil they prefer, etc. You get the point. Then consider that even different sizes or varieties of the same vegetable might have different needs.
It can be enough to make your head swim!
So is the above kind of harvest possible? Sure, it is. It is hard work? Sure, it is.
Knowledge is key, and that's why a thorough plan is imperative before the season even starts.
I've learned a ton of things in my several years of vegetable gardening, and a lot of things were learned by trial and error, as most gardeners can attest to.
For this blog, I have condensed my experience into ten of the most important steps to follow that I think will give you the best chance for first-time vegetable gardening success.
PRE SEASON STEPS
STEP 1 - Collect Information
Here is some basic information you'll need to know about your specific growing area.
Your Planting Zone. This is important because most seed packets will give you a range of zones in which the seeds can successfully grow.
Your average first and last frost dates. You will need those dates to calculate when to sow seeds, plant, harvest, etc.
The number of days in your growing season. You will need this number to calculate if there are enough growing days in your season to be able to get a vegetable plant from seed to harvest.
If there are not enough growing days in your area for a specific plant, you may need to purchase a seedling or plant or grow your seedlings indoors in late winter or spring in order to have the plants ready to transplant outdoors on time.
The Farmer's Almanac has a great site where you can find out the above answers by putting in your zip code. Write these answers down and put the note in a place that you can refer to often.
Buy a few good vegetable gardening books. Here are a few of our top picks for 2020.