Spring is on the horizon. Are you already thinking about your first vegetable garden? I know there is still snow on the ground here, but I cannot wait to get outside and start gardening. There is something relaxing about digging in the dirt and watching the first green shoots come alive that I look forward to.

If you’ve never had a garden before, it may be slightly overwhelming to think about starting one. There is a lot to know about successful gardening, but you’ll want to start with these considerations:

What to Grow

Do you have your heart set on fresh flowers on the table every day during the summer? Or, are you most looking forward to supplementing your grocery budget with fresh vegetables from your garden? Possibly the thought of snipping fresh herbs to make homemade spaghetti sauce is your goal. Deciding what to grow is your first step.

Available Space

How much room do you have to start your garden? Do you have a large backyard you can till for a vegetable garden? Or are you interested in filling a few planters near your front door? Will you be gardening in raised beds or rototilling an acre in the backyard? What you grow will depend on how much room you have. If you are a novice, I would recommend starting with something small and simple until you have a little experience.

Amount of Sun

Many types of plants require full sun to grow successfully. If your yard is mostly shaded, it will probably be difficult for you to grow tomatoes or corn. If you have long hot summers with very little shade, you may not want to grow lettuce that tends to like cooler weather.

Time Constraints

How much time do you have available to take care of your garden? Gardens need to be planted, weeded, watered and weeded again. If you have a very busy life with little free time, you may want to look into raised beds that are heavily mulched to cut down on weeding and watering requirements. Planting your garden in containers is another wonderful way to keep garden upkeep to a minimum.

Growing Season

Depending on your climate, you may have limitations on what you can grow. If you live in the north and want to grow tomatoes or peppers, you will need to start with plants in your garden. The growing season just isn’t long enough to grow them from seed outside before winter returns.

What would you choose to grow in your first vegetable garden?