Step #4 Know what to Grow

Deciding which fruits and vegetables to grow will depend on what appeals to your diet, which plants will fit within the size of your garden, and which plants are appropriate for your hardiness zone. Could you grow something exotic that is hard to find at your local farmers market? Is your favorite produce too expensive to buy from the grocery? Are you unsatisfied with the quality or taste of your favorite vegetables?

You can grow any plant directly from the seed, but many “starts” or seedlings are available from your local nursery and are usually ready to plant directly into your garden. While purchasing seedlings is more expensive than growing your own seeds, they are a great way to get started and a major time saver for the novice gardener. If you are just starting out, avoid the frustration of waiting for the seeds to germinate and purchase seedlings, as many seeds need to grow indoors for weeks before they’re ready to be introduced to the outside world.

If you’re starting from seeds, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Some seeds will need to be started inside, however, if a label reads “direct sow,” you can sow the seeds directly into the soil. Either way, the packet of seeds or starter plant should include directions about the spacing, watering, and thinning practices that best suit your chosen fruit or vegetable. If you are having trouble deciding what plant to start your garden with, I suggest tomatoes. Aside from requiring a fair amount of sunshine and water, they are quite hardy and can usually handle the bumps that come with being a new gardener.