Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: How to Yield the Most Success | Alsip Home & Nursery

gardener picking tomatoes in a vegetable garden during the early spring alsip nurseries

Growing your own vegetables can be an incredibly rewarding, cost-effective, and delicious endeavor. Even if you’re a beginner gardener, you can grow an amazing edible garden this year! Read on to find out how to grow vegetables in your own backyard.

Why You Should Grow Your Own Vegetables

Learning how to grow vegetables in your backyard is absolutely worth the effort. While it may seem intimidating when you’re starting out, you can start small and build up over time as you grow your confidence and skill.

Growing your own vegetables is cost-effective. Grow your own groceries! Buying seeds or starter plants costs just a few dollars and can give you pounds worth of fresh vegetables throughout the growing months. You can shorten your grocery bill all year by lengthening the life of your vegetables through pickling, canning, and storing.

Growing your own vegetables is healthy. If you’re health-conscious, learning how to grow vegetables in your backyard can ease your mind about where your food is coming from. You will know where and how your vegetables matured, you will control which products they were exposed to, and you’ll have a new sense of satisfaction when you set the dinner table. Not to mention, growing your own food in the convenience of your backyard is great exercise and good for your mental health!

Growing your own vegetables is delicious. Is there anything better than garden-fresh vegetables? We don’t think so. Fresh vegetables and herbs just taste better. You are in control of monitoring them until they are perfectly ripe, and you can eat them as soon as you’d like.

gardener planting small lettuce leaves in a tiny garden during the early spring alsip nurseries

Start Small

One mistake beginner backyard gardeners make when learning how to grow vegetables is going overboard. Choosing too many varieties or trying to fill a large space can be overwhelming when you’re just learning. The process of preparing, planting, and harvesting can take up more time and energy than you might realize. Your best approach is to choose a few vegetable varieties that you are excited about and planting in a manageable amount of space. We recommend starting with no more than 6-10 different varieties for a 10’ x 10’ area. You can also try container or raised bed gardening for smaller spaces or if it’s more accessible for you.

garden bed design gardener planning mockup alsip nurseries

Assess your Garden Space

Before planting your vegetable garden, you should assess your backyard and garden space and figure out how you plan to grow. Take some time to map out how much space you’ll need for your vegetables, as well as checking the soil quality and light. Above all, make sure your garden is set up in a way that is convenient for you. You won’t want any obstacles between you and getting your hands in the dirt. Your vegetable garden should be a place you want to be.


Knowing how and where to grow vegetables in your backyard, space considerations are essential. Too many plants in too small of a space will lead to headaches and, potentially, a smaller harvest. When choosing your vegetable varieties, find out how much space they’ll need to grow. Select companion vegetables that fit into the remaining garden space you’ll have. You should also be on the lookout for any hazards like wind and wildlife.


Most vegetables like 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, so make sure that these plants will get ample daylight. Too much shade could make your plants weak and leggy. However, there are also several cool-season vegetables that are sensitive to heat, so you may have to keep an eye on how much the sun is hitting all your growing spaces in your backyard. You may need to provide these veggies with some heat protection during the harshest and hottest days.

Soil and Water:

Vegetables won’t thrive if they are too wet. Your location and your soil will need to have ample drainage to avoid rotten roots and dying plants. When it comes to soil, you should opt for loamy soil. Loamy soil has sand and silt in it, which helps the water drain well to the roots. Learning how to start a compost pile in your backyard can help you add high-quality nutrients to your soil, which means you’ll grow bigger, tastier vegetables.

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Choosing What to Plant

One of the most exciting parts of learning how to grow vegetables in your backyard is choosing your plants! There are many things you may want to consider:

  • Your available garden space.
  • The available light in your backyard.
  • Your grow zone.
  • Your family’s personal preferences.

If you’re opting to start seeds indoors, start cabbage, tomatoes, celery, and peppers in April. When it comes to starter plants, you can plant kale, broccoli, beets, onions, and carrots this month as well. These plants are a bit sturdier than others and can handle the cooler weather. In mid-May, plant lettuce, spinach, and other greens. Be sure to protect these plants from the harshest of sunlight. Finally, squash, cucumber, and gourds can be planted later in May, but they take the longest to fully mature.

Learning how to grow vegetables in your backyard requires some trial and error. Choose plants that excite you and that can thrive in your current garden conditions. Remember to pre-order your veggies online so you can get your top choices.

mother and son gardening together on a beautiful sunny spring day alsip nurseries

Beginner Gardener Tips

Here are some final tips and tricks as you begin your journey into becoming a pro vegetable gardener.

Plant the right amount of vegetables. Don’t get too carried away—your family can only eat so many vegetables at once! Too many plants can get overwhelming for both the gardener and the foodie alike. Check each plant for the average yield, and go from there.

Keep a schedule. Watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting are a lot easier when you stay organized. Have a dedicated organizer or calendar to track your garden’s progress.

Choose high-quality seeds. Not all seeds are created equal. You’ll want to select high-quality seeds that will have the best shot of a great harvest. Low-quality seeds may not germinate, which is a waste of your time, money, and energy!

Don’t abandon your garden. Learning how to grow vegetables in your backyard is an investment and a commitment. If you’re planning a vacation, you’ll need to make sure your garden has someone to water, weed, and take good care of it. Plan ahead and make sure your beautiful vegetable plants have a fighting chance.

If you need help finding vegetable seeds for sale in St. John or Frankfort, visit us! We’ll help you plan your vegetable garden and get all the supplies you need for an amazing edible garden this year.

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