I’ve started growing some tomatoes and will add some herbs this year.
I am asked to give someone advice on how to start a new vegetable garden.
I always start a new border with the ‘Lasagna’ method of killing the grass by covering it with cardboard, add compost, chopped leaves, topsoil, to a level of 2 feet, and immediately plant and mulch. To a new gardener I hesitate to suggest this method and ask other gardeners to share their techniques.
Although it is a larger initial investment I would recommend raised beds to a new gardener. If you start out with good weed free rich soil (plenty of compost) there is so much less work and chance of getting discouraged early. Make sure you emphasize the importance of soil – don’t skimp on the initial investment! Also why not suggest a good basic book such as Barbara Damrosch’s The Garden Primer?
I have never regretted installing my first raised beds (15+ years ago, and still going strong)…and now I have three more, finally, long overdue additions to the place.
I have also started many beds with a lasagna-like method (smothering and planting right away) but there is nothing as easy year to year as raised beds. As Leslie says, there is expense/work at first, but then they are wonderful.
I second Leslie’s suggestion of The Garden Primer. I was given the original… hmmm… 20 years ago when I bought my home and started my first garden. Last year I bought myself her new, updated, entirely organic edition. I love it! It covers everything… asparagus to zinnias.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.