November 12, 2022
14 Home Vegetable Garden Tips

14 Home Vegetable Garden Tips


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Are you thinking about starting a Home Vegetable Garden this year? Here are some must read tips to get you off to a strong start!

14 Home Vegetable Garden Tips - simple, practical advice for growing a bumber crop of vegetables your family will love! #vegetablegaren #backyardgarden #gardeningtips #momstuff

Home Vegetable Garden

Plan Your Garden in the Winter

The best time to plan your spring garden is winter! Beginning in January the seed catalogs come out in full force. Sign up to get your free catalogs to figure out what you want to grow. You’ll be amazed by the varieties of each vegetable – so many more delicious options than the run-of-the-mill varieties at most grocery stores.

planning your vegetable garden

Plot out what you are Planing Where

I like to plan where my vegetables will go in excel. The  squares are great for visualizing where things will go. Plus I love that each tab can be a different years’ garden plan so I can remember where to rotate my crops, but more on that later.

In our plan (see above) each square is a foot.

Make it Fun for Kids

Make it fun for kids to plan what you are going to plant in you vegetable garden by cutting out the pictures of what you want to grow and gluing them to a piece of paper in the arrangement you’d like.


Take your plants growing habits into consideration

Each plant has a different growth habit. Pole beans and tomatoes can reach over 6 feet while cucumber and pumpkins like to send runners through the garden. You will want to plan your garden to make sure your tall vegetables don’t shadow your shorter crops.  If you put cantalope  too close to your peppers with will intertwine and the peppers will not get the light they need.

home vegetable garden tips

Try Something New!

Modern grocery stores have made us believe there is one type of green beans, 4 colors of peppers, and one color of tomato. But there are so many more delicious and fun-to-grow options out there! So read the description in the catalog to make sure you are in the right growing zone for a particular crop and then drive in! Try growing a sweet yellow watermelon, chocolate tomato, purple pepper, or pretty purple pole beans!


Prepare your Soil

As long as weeds grow in an area, you can grow crops. But that doesn’t mean you will have robust, bumper crops without a little prep. You can take an analysis of your soil if you like.

  • As soon as the soil can be worked it is time to get prepping! So not too wet, moist is okay, and you can stick a shovel easily in the ground.
  • Start out by clearing off any weeds
  • Add in compost, leaves, manure, etc. to improve your soil
  • till the soil by hand with a space or a tiller so that the top 12-14″ is light and fluffy.

Consider Planting in Raised Gardens

While it may take more time and be slightly more expensive, you will love planting in raised gardens. You will need wood or similar to make a “box”. Ideally you want it to be at least 12″ off the ground. Never step in the box so the soil will always stay light and fluffy, easy to plant, easy to weed, and idea for roots to grow.  The higher you go the less work on your back…. but there is more expense in filling in dirt.

HINT: Don’t make it any wider than 4 feet so that you can easily get to all of your garden bed without setting foot inside.

September 2011 533

Our Favorite Seeds

  • Carrots – Envy Hybrid (66 days) – After using this variety last year I will NEVER try another kind! We got an average of 12” long carrots. They were not split at the bottom (they plowed right through our clay soil), did not have hard cores, were uniformly sized (not extremely tapered which made them easier to peel), and the most delicious carrots we tasted! PERFECT!!
  • Peas – Alderman – the vines grew over 5 feet tall and produced a LOT of peas. Each pod had about 10 plump peas in each. The plant did amazingly well even in the unusual spring we had (when my other variety died out). Heat tolerant & all around amazing producer.
  • Tomatoes – For a HUGE harvest of sauce tomatoes go for the Super Marzano! The plants got 9 feet tall!! The extremely LOADED plants even pulled over my meg square cages that never come over. The fruit was almost coreless & seedless. It was all meaty & produced very thick sauce that we preserved to use all winter – YUM! (Note: The only reason we aren’t doing these again is with our vacation plans we are afraid we will not be home for the big harvest or would just be getting back & we’d have a LOT of preserving to do.)9 foot tall tomato plants from home garden
  • Beans – Pickin & Grinnin was an amazing producer for us last year (even in the odd season that reeked havoc on most of my other crops). Once it was ready it produced over and over and over throughout the end of the summer. Very tender 6-7” long beans on compact ‘bushes’; no staking required! We saved the pails from berry picking – they made GREAT kid size baskets (10” deep and 12” wide)home grown green beans
  • Peppers – We had AMAZING results with all 3 varieties we planted last year: Wonder Bell, Lady Bell, and Golden Star. All produced THICK walled fruit that lasted for weeks and weeks on the vine. It was incredibly full flavored. Each plant set about 8-10 peppers at a time; with plenty more after we picked the peppers. The peppers were still going strong when we had to pull them out to prepare for winter.


Seed Companies to Order From
giant zucchini from home vegetable garden

  • Territorial Seed Company – I feel like they have the best variety you will find anywhere! There are dozens and dozens of choice per plant. The plants thrive in my garden (even when they have to wait a couple weeks to get planted). The only downside is cost. I feel that they are a more expensive & they rarely have coupons. So if I can’t find what I want elsewhere….. then I know I will find it here!
  • Henry Field’s – This is my favorite. You will find a large variety of choices, great descriptions, online customer reviews, PLUS coupons for $25 off an order of $50. They have quality products!
  • Gurney’s – They have good products, but limited selection. They usually have the best coupons (giving you $25 off $50, $50 off $100 etc.) but like I said they have a choice or two for each product and not much unique items. If you are just starting gardening maybe this is a good choice.
  • Gardens Alive – I got $25 free (no minimum purchase) to try them out. They have all natural fertilizers, garden solutions, and organic plants & seeds. They also have a descent selection of heirloom seeds. So if you are looking for great quality, but fewer choices they are a great option.
August 2008 (121)August 2008 (124)August 2008 (137)
I think the reason I love gardening so much & that our garden does so well is all the help I have from my kiddos & all the love they give to the veggies =-) We have such precious memories gardening together. One year we got 30 (10-12”) cantaloupe from a 16 square feet of garden!! We kept joking Goofy could be the only kid with a melon stand instead of a lemonade stand!!

Why Rotate Crops

Perhaps rotating crops is a new concept to you. Let me explain. It means not planting the same vegetable (or one from the same family) in the same spot every year. If you do plant the same thing over and over it will use the same nutrients and makes the area susceptible to things like blight and other diseases in on your vegetables.  So you don’t want to plant carrots, potatoes, etc. in teh same spot as they all grow in the ground and are heavy feeders. Some vegetables like peas add nitrogen back in the soil so alternating them will help improve the soil.
You may wonder how farms make ti work. They tend to grow the same crop int he same place for 3 years and then give the area a rest and not grow anything, or grow a cover crop like alphalfa that puts nutrients back in the soil, for the 4th year.

Only Plant What You Will Eat

With all the amazing varieties you there you may be tempted to grow EVERYTHING! Just make sure you are growing things your family will actually eat. There is no point in tending your garden if no one is going to enjoy your yummy veggies!

Talk to your Neighbors!

I highly suggest talking to any neighbors who garden to find out what works well in your local soil. We’ve found over the years that there are certain things that just don’t grow in certain backyards whether it is the soil or local critters – best to find out so you don’t get frustrated!

Keep that Garden Growing

Once you have spent the time preparing and planting your seeds you want to make sure you keep that garden growing by:
  • Keep those weeds pulled! It is easier to get them picked when they are little so week often! Weeds not only look aweful, but more importantly they steel nutrients, sunlight, and water from your intended plants!
  • Water Smart – Keep a rain gauge to see how much watering your plants are getting naturally so you know what you need to supplement. You want a couple inches  of water ever 5 days or so. It is much better to water all at once than just a sprinkling it ever day. Why? You want to encourage your plants to send deep roots. If you water frequently they will form surface roots which makes the plants weaker and if you ever forget to water your plants will suffer terribly. If you water deeply, plants will send deep roots making it a stronger plant and more able to withstand not being watered for a time. Remember, you are not watering the leaves… you want to water the roots. So drip hoses are best to just focus on watering the dirt. Watering leaves not only will not accomplish your goal, but may also put your plants at risk for powdery mildew.

What’s New This Yearhomegrown pumpkins

Like I mentioned before with lots of mini trips to use up vacation time I am not doing some of the interesting things I’ve tried in the past (peanuts, beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, watermelon, additional tomatoes & peppers). This year I am maximizing on things we love that will be ready towards June/July. I am trying to use two different varieties that will be ready at different times to give us extended crops: potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, carrots, and spinach. My 4 square feet of garden I save for 6 feet tall cucumbers usually produces 35 jars of pickles; so no need to add to that favorite!
Last year I did not start seeds indoors and it worked out great. I checked our forecast on May 1st (and with no frost in the forecast) put all the seeds in the ground. This of course varies by your planting zone (found in all seed catalogs!) I found that planting directly in the ground took exactly the same amount of time as starting them indoors, but with less mess & time!! YEAH!! The only exception to that is I bough my peppers & tomatoes as plants.

TIP – I sprinkle grape kool-aid around corn when I plant it to keep the birds from eating it – works GREAT!
My kids are already looking forward to helping me plant our seeds and I look forward to harvesting garden fresh veggies!! We always save a LOT of money & I know where my veggies come from. So, are you planting a garden this year?


Have you tried making your own diy puffy paint? It's really easy to whip up a batch of puffy paint recipe that will delight and engage children to create. This is a special kind of 3d painting for kids using homemade foam paint. You will love how easy it is to make this diy foam paint to let toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders creat amazing artwork! If you have a fairy fan at your house you will love this super cool DOY fairy jar craft project! With just a couple simple materials you can make a mason jar night light that will actually glow in the dark. This fairy craft is perfect for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th garde, and 6th graders.  Whether you make your fairy light jars as a fun summer activity for kids or as a tinkerbell craft - this is sure to be a hit in your house!  quick and easy-to-make peanut butter playdough. This simple playdough recipes is no cook and made without creatm of tarter! Best part, afer your kids are done playing, this is a completely edible peanut butter playdough recipe! This edible playdough recipe is perfect for celebrating PB&J Day on April 2nd, Peanut Butter Day on January 24th, a hands-on back to school activity, or just as a playful sensory activity for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first graders any day.  You will love this outrageously fun painting with cars activity where kids will make a cheery rainbow painting using hotwheel vehicles. This rainbow painting for kids is a silly rainbow painting ideas that your kids will LOVE! Use this for a rainbow theme, car theme, spring theme, or just a fun play ativity with kids. Try this car activities for kids with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students. 

Preschool Activities

Looking for a fun, engaging pasta craft? This pretty stained glass pasta project has so many different possibilities to let your children explore their creativity, create something unique and beautiful, and strengthen coordination with those little hands. In this pasta art you will use dyed pasta to creat a beautiful stained glass craft. This stained glass art for kids is perfect for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd graders.  Tin Foil Art  This EPIC summer activities for kids uses a really fun technique to make squirt gun painting! This water gun painting is such a fun summer art project for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders. The squirt panting is as much fun to make as it is to look at afterwards with the unique patterns. This Summer Painting for kids is a MUST for your list of summer activities for preschoolers! Making a DIY foosball table is a really fun STEM project for kids of all ages to make together and loads of fun to play with too! The diy games for kids is the project for a rainy day or as a summer bucket list idea.  Try this homemade games for kids with preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders too. This EPIC kids activity is sure to be a hit with your kids.

Have you ever heard of a lemon volcano? Kids are going to love this fun, creative,volcano experiment that screams summer! This simple lemon volcano experiment is perfect for curious kids from toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders too. All you need are a few simple materials to make some amazing erupting lemon volcanos! Looking for a really fun and memorable science experiment for kids? You will love these EPIC pop rocks experiment. Try this pop rocks science experiment with preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students to try a simple chemical reaction. This Whether you try this pop rocks science experiments for homeschool science, at a science birthday party, or as part of a summer science project - this is a MUST try,  really cool science experimentkids will LOVE. The goal of an amazing science experiment for kids is to grab kids attention and make them wonder why did that happen, how could that work, and I want to try that! This leak proof bag is such a simple science experiment for kids that explores polymers. What's best is this amazing science experiment with everyday materials! Try this water experiment with kids of all ages from toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders too. Whether you are having a doctor theme preschool unit, talking about germs, community helper activity, or are just looking for a fun and silly craft for kids, you will love this band aid art project for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade children. You are going to love this really fun, creative craft for kids!

Summer Fun

Looking for more outdoor activities for kids and things to do in the summer? Your toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, and elementary age kids will love these fun ideas to keep them busy all summer long:

super cute cut and paste subtraction math craft to practice addition in kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students. Summer Number Worksheets Practice tracing lowercase alphabet letters with these super cute Alphabet Sandcastles. Use these super cute beach worksheets to sneak in some fun summer learning in between all your summer activities to keep up skills and avoid the summer leaning loss. These free beach printables include letter find, beach i spy, beach math, counting, addition, skip counting puzzles, and so much more. This HUGE pack of over 70 pages of beach worksheets for preschool, pre k, kindergarteners, and first graders is so handy! Simply download pdf file with summer worksheets for preschoolers and you are ready to play and learn with a beach activity for kids!

Free Beach Printables

Looking for more summer beach themed printable worksheets and activities for kids? You will love these free resources:

These super cute crab themed summer math worksheets are a great way for children to learn, practice and review essential math skills! These free math worksheets allow preschool pre-k, and kindergarten age students to learn to recognise and write numbers, shapes and fractions. Simply print preschool math worksheets and you are ready for yoru summer theme or ocean theme. Looking for a hands-on summer math activity to practice adding? These super cute and clever addition puzzles use free printable addition worksheets to sneak in some summer learning with kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd graders too.  These summer worksheets for kindergarten are easy to prep and learners can practice addition to 20 while having fun at the same time. Simple print the addition to 20 worksheets and you are ready to go!  kindergarten summer math worksheets Kids will enjoy getting out and walking around the neighborhood, getting some exercise, while searching for different items such as a towel, ice cream and crab, as part of this Summer Scavenger Hunt. Families will love that this summer scavenger hunt for kids is no prep, just print and head out for a fun summer activity for kids where kids will work on their power of observation! Use this scavenger hunt for summer printable with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade students as it contains not only the name, but a cute picture too.  Simply download pdf file with summer scavenger hunt pdf in color or black and white and you are ready to play!

Summer Worksheets

These pages will allow you to get in some low-prep practice with a variety of math from telling time, counting, writing numbers, number recognition, and more!

camping-math-worksheets-for-preschoolers Kids will have fun practing forming sentences with this super cute, smores themed, complete sentence game. This free printable complete sentences game is perfect for first grade and 2nd graders who are learning to form a proper sentece with a capital letter, punctuation, noun and verbs. Simply grab the pdf file with sentence building games and you are ready to play and learn with a sentence game. Marshmallow-Ten-Frame-Printable-Activity-663x1024  quick and easy-to-make peanut butter playdough. This simple playdough recipes is no cook and made without creatm of tarter! Best part, afer your kids are done playing, this is a completely edible peanut butter playdough recipe! This edible playdough recipe is perfect for celebrating PB&J Day on April 2nd, Peanut Butter Day on January 24th, a hands-on back to school activity, or just as a playful sensory activity for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first graders any day.

Camping & Smores Printables

Looking for more camping worksheets preschool and ideas for your next camping trip? You will love these resources:

summer handwriting worksheets Free Pool Writing Numbers Simple matching letter game is a great way to work a little letter recognition into your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten child's day while still having fun with summer activities for kindergarten. Children will insert the shoverl into the sand pail for this free printable, matching upper and lowercase letters activity. Simply download pdf file with alphabet matching and you are ready to play and learn with this beach theme or summer theme activity.

Summer worksheets for kindergarten

Looking for more fun, summer theme educational activities for prek and kinders? Check out these free summer printables!

Bubble Word Families activity for kindergartners FREE Surfboard Opposite Puzzles - these free printable summer themed opposites puzzles are such a fun way for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade kids. Perfect for summer learning, spring / fall literacy centers! SO CUTE! #opposites #kindergarten #literacy Free Seed letter find worksheets for kindergartners for spring or summer learning swim goggle summer lowercase alphabet matching

Summer Printables

Celebrate the first day of summer on June 20th by printing out one of these super cute, FREE Printable Bookmarks. These are such an easy way to get kids excited about reading! free printable counting firefly math worksheets watermelon printable rhyming words worksheets If you are looking for a fun, simple way for kids to learn about the life cycle of a mosquito, then you will love these fun and free printable Mosquito Life Cycle Worksheets. Simple print these life of mosquito to practice a variety of math and literacy skills while learning about life cycles for kids with preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first graders.

Summer Learning

summer alphabet tracing Lego BUild and Write creative writing prompts bee-ten-frame-math-worksheets butterfly activity

Summer Theme

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