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Things I wish I knew before starting my vegetable garden

It can be incredibly easy to setup a vegetable garden and wonder what the hell is the point. You may find that nothing grows well, your harvests are too small to warrant the effort or your crops are decimated by possums or full of grubs.

I experienced ALL of these things but persevered. Had I have known a little bit more about growing my own food, it would have prevented a lot of frustration. So I am here to share you the things I wish I knew before I started my garden.

Dirt Matters

When I started growing my own food, I purchased a vegtrug (basically a wooden raised garden bed on legs). I then proceeded to purchase the cheapest garden soil I could find to fill it up. I was super excited about planting out the vegtrug so filled it to the brim with all sorts of goodies. Within a week most of the plants looked yellow or were dead. And it wasn’t from too much love or too little, the potting mix was killing the plants.

To cement this learning, when we got our bigger raised beds, we purchased premium garden soil from our local landscape supply store. We paid a bit extra to get the vegetable garden mix. Again we filled it to the brim with plants only for them to struggle to grow. It wasn’t until we added our own nutrients to the soil, did the plants begin to thrive (you can see what I now add here).

Learn from me and pay the bit extra for the good potting mix or work on creating your own (here is my recipe here for raised beds)

Plant what grows in your location

When you first start out, stick to growing things that are easy to grow in your location. I’ve talked about how I’ve attempted to grow potatoes in the past and failed, but sweet potato on the other hand will grow like a weed for us in our sub tropical climate. The opposite is true for my friends living in a cool climate. Figure out what you can grow easily in your location and focus on that first. You can always attempt the harder to grow things once you nail the easy things.

Grab my sub-tropical growing guide here which lists out plants that grow well for us subtropical growers.

Don’t over plant

Let’s face it, it’s hard not to go a little nuts when you’re at the local plant nursery picking up plants for your veggie patch. I am totally guilty of it and often still do it! Check the labels on your seed packets or instructions and take note of spacing. Plants grow up and if they are competing for nutrients and light they will not produce well, which basically means you’re wasting your time. If you get too many plants gift your excess to friends or family.


Is there anything that you wish you had known before starting your vegetable patch? Leave a comment below.

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