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Vegetable Gardening

Almost all vegetables need full sun — from morning through the end of the day. Soil must be well-drained. Add organic material to the soil and dig in. Mulch garden area. Water at soil level, at least 1" of water per week. Keep leaves dry, or water in morning if using sprinklers. 

Kinds Of Vegetables 

Different kinds of vegetables are categorized by the way they grow or by their similarities in a class. The classes are: Cole Crops: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi; Leaf Crops: lettuce, endive, chicory, kale, mustard, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, pak choi, roquette; Vine Crops: cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, squash, watermelon; Root Crops: beet, carrot, radish, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato, white potato; other vegetables (including bean, corn, pea; tomato, pepper, eggplant; onion, leek, herbs, celery, okra) don't readily fit a category.

SPRING: Peas, Leaf Crops, Cole Crops, Onion, Leek, Celery, Beet, Carrot, Radish, Turnip

SUMMER: Beans, Corn, Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Vine Crops, Tomatillo

FALL: Leaf Crops, Cole Crops, Beet, Carrot, Radish, Turnip


Planning A Veggie Garden


Plan for deliciousness

Nothing matches the delicious taste of vegetables harvested fresh from your own garden. They're delicious to eat and fun to watch as they grow. Also, let's not forget about certain bragging rights in the neighborhood. You can even grow succulent vegetables in containers or window boxes.


Location is a key consideration when planning your garden. Vegetables are sun-worshippers, and love sunny, open spaces in order to thrive. Look for a spot that provides at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. More would be better.

Choosing Your Vegetables

What kind of garden you make depends on what you like to eat. Are salads big in your family? Or is your household full of corn-on-the-cob connoisseurs? Decide on your must-have vegetables, then consider your space. When you're satisfied that you have enough room for the vegetables you want, you're ready to get started. One note: try to avoid planting more than your family can eat.

Lay Out the Garden

First, make sure your garden looks good on paper. Make a sketch of your garden, drawing little circles to represent your vegetable plants. Use the spacing recommended in the catalog description as a guide. Now you have a planting plan. For a step-by-step guide to planting, see the Planting a Vegetable Garden project.

Five Tips for Planting Vegetables:

  • Situate the garden within a convenient reach of the kitchen. A sunny location protected from north winds is best. A nearby source of water is essential.
  • Leave space between beds wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow or a mower.
  • Build raised frames with weather-resistant lumber, concrete blocks or stacked stone.
  • Fill beds with soil; top-dress with compost in fall or winter.
  • Interplant quick crops (leaf lettuce) with slower-maturing crops (cabbage) since dense planting thwarts weeds. As soon as one crop is finished, plant another.

Preparing Veggie Garden Beds

Growing your own vegetables is fun and rewarding. But to get the most out of it, you want soil that has what it takes to grow healthy, luscious plants. While you can prepare your garden bed any time of the year, the fall is best. During winter, the soil has a chance to absorb any amendments you put in before you plant. Consider it pre-season training for your dirt.

Preparing the Soil

You don't want hard, compacted soil in your garden. So start by digging it up. While you're at it, take a moment to remove any rocks and weeds you expose. If you pull the weeds, make sure you get all the roots. Otherwise, they'll come back next spring. A good idea is to spray them with Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer during your fall cleanup.

Amending the Soil

It helps to study the soil you're working with. Is it sandy, or full of clay? Does it drain well, or remain soggy? No matter what kind of soil you have, you can improve it for a superior harvest. Miracle-Gro® has a wide selection of premium garden soils enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food for healthy, vibrant plants.

Acidic, or Alkaline? Inquiring Gardeners Need to Know.

Different crops like different kinds of soil. Acidic soil tends to predominate in wet climates, while dry areas have primarily alkaline soil. For you, the important thing is to know which type your future crops will like. That means a soil test. You can buy a kit and test it yourself, or bring a sample to your local nursery. Once you know what you have, you can amend it as needed.

Planting Plan

Bring out the sketch you made of your garden. It's your guide. Use it to lay out stakes to mark where the rows will go.

Some plants, such as peas and beans, need support. Now is a good time to put in trellises or sturdy stakes to hold them up. Build mounds of earth for your vine plants, such as cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons. Since you won't want to walk on your dinner while it's growing, add a few pathways.


Veggie Seeding Techniques


The kernel of a great idea: growing vegetables from seed

You have some seed packets in your hands, and visions of delicious vegetables in your head. Bringing those visions to reality is fun and easy. Once you decide what vegetables you want to grow, how many of them, and what technique you want to use, you're on your way to enjoying a delicious veggie feast.

Choose Your Planting Technique

When you're growing a container garden or you've prepared a small patch in the yard, you'll use one of three techniques for sowing seeds. Each one has advantages for certain kinds of plants.


Broadcasting is a time-tested method for planting seeds for bigger gardens. It works well with small seeds, such as lettuce, carrots, and radishes. To broadcast, sprinkle your seeds lightly over your area. Next, to help your seeds make good contact with the soil press them lightly with a board, then sprinkle a little sand or compost over them. Be sure to water them regularly and feed with a plant food such as Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Plant Food.


Hills are circular areas about one foot in diameter that might be slightly elevated. Sometimes, but not always, they take the shape of mounds. This technique is used for big, sprawling plants, such as winter squash and cucumbers. Space your hills far apart and plant only three to five seeds per hill. Follow the watering instructions on the seed packet and feed regularly with Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Plant Food.

Drills, or Rows

If you like a well-organized garden, sowing seeds in rows will suit you just fine. You'll grow lots of plants and can tend to them easily. Also, plants such as tomatoes and zucchini thrive in conditions that allow for good air circulation, so drills are a good option. Plants that require trellises or string support, such as peas, do well in rows. Just sprinkle the seeds in rows, press them in and cover them lightly with sand or compost. Water regularly and feed them with Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Plant Food. As the seedlings grow, thin them out till you have a manageable crop.


Growing Veggies From Seeds


Better taste, better value: Growing your own vegetables from seed.

Imagine dining on the freshest, most succulent vegetables in town every night, and you don't even have to go to the grocery store to get them. That's only part of the satisfaction you'll enjoy from growing your own vegetable garden from seeds. You'll also love watching your rows of fat, juicy tomatoes or thick heads of lettuce get ready for your feast. Growing your own veggies from seeds is fun, economical, and very, very tasty. Here's how to do it.


If you're just getting started, you may want to buy seeds from a catalogue company that specializes in growing vegetables. You'll receive good instructions, quality, and selection.

Collecting Seeds

If you already have a vegetable garden, it's fun to collect seeds for next year's planting. Just clean the seeds and let them dry out. Then store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until planting time. If you're not sure you're doing it right, follow the specific directions for the vegetables you plan on growing.

Get a Jump on Spring by Starting Your Seeds Indoors

Paper cups, small flowerpots, or flats work great for starting seeds indoors. Make sure they allow for drainage (put small hole in the bottom of your paper cups.).

Prepare the Soil

Fill your containers with Miracle-Gro® Seed Starting Potting Mix, which is ideal for germinating seeds, or a good potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. Sprinkle seeds onto the soil, then cover them with more soil to the depth recommended on the seed packet.

Help Your Seedlings Acclimate

Once your seeds start to sprout, give them a little extra room by transplanting them to bigger pots. Then let them get a taste of the great outdoors by putting them outside for a few hours at a time. This helps the plants get used to their new environment without suffering shock.

Some Seeds Start Better Indoors than Others

Indoor planting works differently for different kinds of plants. Here's an easy guide for you.

  • Plants that start well indoors: Tomatoes, peppers, celery, cauliflower, head lettuce, eggplant, broccoli, brussels sprouts
  • Plants you can start indoors or out: Beans, peas, most lettuce, and corn
  • Plants to start only outdoors: Root plants (carrots, turnips, etc.)