Vegetable Gardening Tips

Ilona Erwin

Your Vegetable Garden Soil

Did you know that most vegetables grow better on an alkaline soil? If you have an acidic soil (one that has a pH of 6 or lower), liming is an important part of creating a successful vegetable garden.

How to lime a garden? Apply lime at a rate of around 6-12oz per square yard. You don’t have to be exact, just measure out a couple of filled trowel scoops. Quite acid soils will need applications each year, more neutral soils like mine could use some liming every two to three years, or so.

Don’t work heavy soils too early- they may develop hard lumps and make it hard for seedlings to thrive.

What if you garden on clay soil? Additions of lime help the “tilth” of your soil, making it a better texture for plants to grow.

What is lime, and where do I get it?
Agricultural Lime is pulverized limestone. Dolomitic lime helps to supply magnesium as well as calcium.

Most hardware stores, including big names like Home Depot carry lime in their garden departments. Or you can get yours from Amazon.
garden lime

Some articles to help you now

Add coffee grounds as a soil conditioner, they add some nitrogen, too. *** “coffee grounds, added to soil… showed poor germination and stunted growth in lettuce seed. Therefore, they need to be composted” first***

Crop Rotation

A very important practice for the health of your vegetable plants and their subsequent harvest is the rotation of growing crops on different ground each year. If you have the normal vegetable plot, that just means you choose a different space that rotates during the years, like so…

A Four Bed Rotation

Brassicas (cabbages, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.) should follow legumes (beans, peas, etc). Brassicas especially benefit from liming.

Legumes help fix nitrogen well in the soil (for leafy growth).

Root crops ought to follow Brassicas, since they like the alkaline conditions but don’t love the high nitrogen.

Finally, it is time to plant the legumes again, if you don’t grow a green crop to turn under into the soil.


rotate your crops each year

Are you growing carrots or other root vegetables? Plant the area the previous year with a cover crop of marigolds.

French Marigold Sparky Mix Seeds


Vegetable Families

Beet Family
  • Beets
  • Spinach (greens)
  • Swiss Chard (greens)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard
  • Radish
  • Swede
  • Turnip
Daisy Family Crops
  • Chicory or Endive
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Lettuces
  • Salsify
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Potato
  • Tomato

  • Beans
  • Fenugreek
  • Peas
  • Lupin (cut flowers, green manure)
  • Trefoil (green manure)
  • Clover (green manure)
  • Alfalfa (green manure)
Carrot family
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Cucumber
  • Gourds
  • Melon
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Zucchini


More Gardening Tips
Grow your carrots and shallots/garlic together, the garlic helps repel the carrot fly.
Would you like more Companion Planting ideas?

Another way to defeat the carrot fly, and other pests, is to introduce beneficial nematodes into the garden.

If you desire to learn more about specific vegetables, these links are excellent information sources for learning how to excel at growing commonly grown crops.

Links for Veggies:
Grow vegetables, general advice
Tomatoes, Growing guide from OSU (PDF)
Quick Guide To Growing Beans
From Purdue, Grow Beans PDF
Lettuce and Mesclun
Colorado State vegetable garden resources.

Perennial Vegetables

Grow Asparagus

Watch This

I like Pat Welsh…she has all sorts of videos and articles on Vegetable Gardening, and a friendly face:

Burpee video about Growing Beans and their other articles and videos on beans.

The right gardening tools make the job easier.

Got Chickens? This may be the answer for insect reduction… a chicken tractor with your own free-range, egg-laying chickens.
PawHut 98″ Portable Wooden Chicken Coop With Wheels, Outdoor Run and Nesting Box

Vegetable Fact Sheets

Planting Time, Hardy Vegetables

Otherwise, plant more tender seeds and plants after last frost date in your area.

PeasSwiss Chard


Veggie Garden Tools

Garden hoeing tools

There are many types of hoes, and the job they do in the vegetable patch is very important. You ought to have at least one hoe if you plan to grow a food garden. Visit the entire post I have on the topic if you would like to learn more about the different types and what garden jobs they do.

Rakes are another important implement in this kind of work. Specifically the straight, even tooted type called a grass rake. It is used for smoothing the ground and removing clods of dirt and small stones that might interfere with growing carrots and other root vegetables as well as preparing the earth for good seed germination and growth.

Helpful Links
Crop Rotation Factsheet

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.