Teach Me To (series)

Teach Me To Grow An Idiot-Proof Vegetable Garden

idiot-proof vegetable garden

So you want to grow an idiot-proof vegetable garden? Smart girl! Nothing is healthier than pesticide-free produce. Nothing tastes better than flavor-filled home-grown veggies. And nothing saves money like growing it yourself.

But nothing is more frustrating than watching your efforts and investment get eaten up by inexperience. Trust me on that. Here’s what you need to know.

Grow an idiot-proof vegetable garden

1) Don’t mess with seeds. Unless you have the optimum set-up for growing plants from seed indoors and are still willing to endure the possible heartbreak of seeing them damp off and die, just buy baby plants from professionals.

Pick a good spot. For starters, a good spot is not in a pot even if the Pope tells you it is. Click To Tweet

2) Pick a good spot. For starters, a good spot is not in a pot even if the Pope tells you it is. Vegetables need lots of water, consistently. If you leave potted tomatoes on your patio while you take a summer vacation, you’ll come home to be greeted by blossom rot on once-promising fruits. And you’ll cry. Also, a good spot gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and is not on located on a highway for deer. If it is, you need TALL fencing. Preferably electrified.

3) Speaking of critters, you know rabbits will see your garden as their Golden Corral buffet, right? You can choose to use organic sprays (ie. cayenne pepper and coyote urine), but you’ll be spraying every 2-3 days and ain’t nobody got time for that. A 2-foot tall chicken wire fence will keep them from jumping over it. And they can’t burrow under if there’s an extra 6” buried below ground level.

4) Know what to plant, when to plant, how much to plant, and where to plant it in relation to your other plants. And here’s the beauty part of this post and what will make your garden especially idiot-proof: There’s an app for that!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a garden planner with amazing features.

  • It draws out the size and shape of your garden.
  • You choose from 250 vegetables, herbs, and fruits with detailed growing information for each plant.
  • As you add plants, color-coded areas indicate the space they require.
  • It calculates how many plants will fit in each area and shows which plants grow well together.
  • It adapts to your growing zone and creates a personalized planting/harvesting chart.
  • Its software includes familiar features like undo, copy, and paste.
  • And it has built-in tutorial videos.

The Garden Planner doesn’t cost anything for 7-days and you don’t have to give any credit card info up front. But it’s $29 if you want to keep it as an annual subscription after that. Now, seven days is long enough to plan this year’s garden. However, the benefit of keeping it is that it will save your plan, send you e-mail reminders of what you need to plant to keep your garden producing into Fall, and suggest crop rotation plans for next year. And there actually is a phone app available.

Once you’ve addressed items 1-3 above, this is the tool that flattens the learning curve of #4. I feel like I should say, because I’m positively gushing about this, that this is NOT a sponsored post. They’re not paying me to write a review. I just know if I had this tool when I was a beginner gardener, it would have saved me a lot of tears!

The only other thing you’ll need, should disaster strike, is a good reference for diagnosing and organically treating problems related to pests and disease.  And, if by the sovereign hand of God, a summer tornado or hail storm wipes out the whole kit and kaboodle, this will provide a bit of consolation.  ?

grow an idiot-proof vegetable garden