Picking the Right Vegetables to GrowsteemCreated with Sketch.

in gardening •  15 days ago

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Planning what to plant in your garden is not always easy--especially as a new gardener. If you have been a gardener for a long time in the same location then it is likely not that hard to figure out what to plant.

But I know for myself that even as a life long gardener when I moved from eastern WA to western WA I had a lot to re-learn. Some veggies that used to be easy were now hard and others were easier. Talking with some of my friends who are new to gardening they all say the same thing--deciding what to grow is a big challenge.

If that sounds like you then keep reading and make sure to check out my blog post--How to Choose the Right Vegetables to Plant in Your Garden--which covers this topic in more detail and you can get access to a calculator to help you figure out which vegetables will grow in your garden.

The post is setup to help you answer these 3 guiding questions:

  1. What vegetables do you and your family eat?
  2. What vegetables grow well in your area?
  3. What vegetables do you like to grow?

1. What Vegetables do You and Your family Eat?

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A yummy dish made using fresh grown veggies--I adjust our pasta dinners based on what veggies are in season.

The first question to answer is what do you and your family eat. I see way to many new (and experienced) gardeners growing vegetables that sound good but that they have no clue how to cook with. Or they grow too much of a vegetable they barely use.

Both situations results in gardeners getting discouraged and gardening can start feeling like a chore. This can result in people giving up gardening.

So the first step to picking what to plant is to make a list of what you and your family eat on a regular basis and use that list to guide your decision making.

2. What vegetables grow well in your area?

productive-vegetable-garden.jpg
If you want a lush and productive garden make sure to plant vegetables that grow well in your area.

This turned out to be a much harder question to answer than I thought. As an experienced gardener I "just know" which vegetables need which conditions. But stepping back and trying to answer this question as a brand new gardener was not an easy task.

I ended up breaking it down into a couple different sections and I found some free resources online that you can use to help. I also put together a worksheet and a spreadsheet calculator to help you answer this question.

So check out the blog post on my website to get access to these resources.

Vegetables all have a specific length of time they take to reach maturity and produce a harvest. Some like lettuce are fairly quick and easy. Others like corn can take a while.

Plus to make it more complicated some need a good long period of hot weather not just frost free weather. Hot peppers are an example.

If you can identify your growing season and also get a good understanding of how much of that growing season is hot versus cool you can start picking out vegetables to plant. Look at the days to maturity and compare that to your growing season.

Then also take into account if the vegetable likes cool weather or hot weather and see how many days out of your growing season works for that plant.

There is more to it but that is the gist. Just remember that some vegetables can handle a light frost and can be planted before the last frost date in the spring. You can also start vegetables indoors or in a greenhouse to get a jump start.

What Vegetables Do You Like to Grow?

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A small garden I had when I was still renting.

This is the fun question - what do you like to grow? Once you have a list of vegetables that you and your family like to eat and you know which ones grow well then the next step is to pick out the vegetables you like to grow.

Don't grow anything you just don't like growing. Gardening should be fun!

Well this has been a fairly quick overview of a much more complicated blog post that originally took me way to long to write but I hope this has been useful.

But please do check out my blog post on my site if you are struggling to figure out what to plant in your garden.

Thank you and good luck gardening! If you liked this post please upvote and leave a comment saying what you are planning to grow.

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I used to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radishes, and bell peppers. I need to find out what grows well in North West Indiana. I'd like to grow bell peppers and tomatoes as I started testing making homemade salsa and use bell peppers a lot in stir fry and fajitas. Onions wouldn't be bad either.

I've never tried jalapenos, but we definitely go through those pretty quick at our house, but not sure if we're in a warm enough climate.

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Hello! I was able to grow jalapenos here in western WA. You could try using rocks to create a bit of a hot micro-climate around the plants. Some volleyball sized rocks could work well to absorb heat and also reflect some light to increase the temp.

Thanks for sharing and good luck growing your veggies!

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Thanks for the great tip!

What a great guide for upcoming gardening season :) This account @planthub aims to connect plant and gardening fans on Steemit.

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Thank you! :)

A thing I find important: make your garden suit your personality. Some people like straight rows of carrots or salads or other plants. Don't force yourself to have your plants march in a row like soldiers if you don't like it only because a book says you should have carrots next to onions or so. You could have them in clusters - or concentric circles or whatever. It should be aesthatically pleasing to your eye!

I'm a big fan of radishes for "blank spaces". Especially early in the season there's a lot of place between other plants and flowers - fill them with radish seeds. It's fast and easy to put the seeds and the radishes are ready to harvest in a few weeks. Often the plants have grown, otherwise the next generation of radishes can come. Any space filled with a plant we want is less space for the weeds we don't want ;)

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Good tips and I agree that you should setup the garden in a way that appeals to you. Though I will always encourage people to use techniques that are more environmentally friendly :)

Seemingly ive been having a "gardners block". It all seems somewhat overwhelming as im a newbie besides a few things ive grown like tomatoes & peppers. Id like to create a system that could feed my family year round. Ive also looked into food forest and one of my best friends from childhood does/ teaches horticulture. Im clueless on it all. I have plenty of property tho and would like to make use out of it. Seemingly just getting started is the hard part. Thanks for the read and ill be sure to check those links. 🙏

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I understand that feeling. Sometimes there is just too much info and it can be hard to figure out what the first step is.

I would recommend starting small. Make 1 or 2 garden beds say 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Could go smaller. And then plant them with a small number of vegetables that you already eat and you enjoy. Just get used to growing and harvesting and using those veggies. Get used to the day to day activities.

Once you have that down then add more beds and consider planting a few fruit trees and adding some veggies around them.

Just start with a small action and over time take other small actions. Eventually, all those small actions will result in some big results.

Good luck!

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Really great tips! Thank you.

I do have an orange tree, a banana tree, and i finally was able to start a avocado & a coconut. The avocado has been like my child lol. The coconut is not growing so well. Any tips on where to get decent seeds? Im thinking about lettuce, potatoes, carrots, corn squash etc. Also how do i know the quality of the soil i have or does it matter. I live on whats left of an old orange grove.

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Hmm... I admit I tend to not worry too much about soil quality but it does have an impact. But since I'm in it for the long haul I just keep growing and keep adding mulch (wood chips, fall leaves, etc.) which makes the soil a little bit better each year. I just released a blog post on mulch you might find useful. I will be making a Steemit post about it tomorrow.

As far as seeds I find Baker Creek to be a good source for vegetable seeds. They have a lot of options and some rare/old varieties.

Good luck!

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Really appreciate it thank you 🙏

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