Is Vegetable Gardening Good For Beginners?



When it comes to whether or not vegetable gardening is good for beginners, you actually want to ask two questions.

The first question is, how much work is a vegetable garden? A vegetable garden isn’t nearly as much work compared to ornamental gardens. However, you’ll still be kneeling, carrying, bending, and spending time working on your garden.

Additionally, you still need to weed, water, and potentially manage pests in your vegetable garden.

Even then, vegetable gardens remain less work than ornamental gardens. Still, the second question is whether or not a vegetable garden is rewarding.

The answer to that question is ultimately up to you. However, you’ll get exercise, be outside in the fresh air, and get results in as little as a couple months. Plus, you’ll save a bit on your grocery bill!

That’s not to mention vegetable gardens are relatively easy to start.

So, is vegetable gardening good for beginners? They are a bit of work, but they’re rewarding and easy to start, so our answer is yes!

A Quick Story

When I bought my first home, I took possession in mid-September, just as the growing season was nearing its end. 

The former owner was a keen gardener and had planted several tomatoes in every possible sunny spot. The plants were full of ripening tomatoes when I moved in. I got to reap all the rewards of the previous owner’s hard work! 

I vowed to plant tomatoes (which are technically fruits but treated like vegetables) and other vegetables the following year, which I did every year until I sold the house. While those vegetables came with more work than those first tomatoes, the rewards were just as tasty.

You may not be as lucky as I was with that first batch of tomatoes, but vegetables are a great place to start when you’re a beginner gardener. While having an ornamental garden with trees, shrubs, and flowering plants is definitely satisfying, there’s nothing quite like harvesting vegetables straight from your backyard. 

They just seem to taste better, and they can save you money on your grocery bill. And planting and growing vegetables is generally less work over the season than an ornamental garden!

But does that mean vegetable gardening is good for beginners?

Well, there are a few things to consider before getting started.

How Much Work Is A Vegetable Garden? 

A closeup of someone putting freshly picked beets and carrots in their basket.

Gardening of any kind involves lots of bending, kneeling, and carrying, and some degree of time commitment. 

If you want to do vegetable gardening as a beginner, think about how much time and work you’re ready to put in, particularly in the spring and fall. Consider starting with just a few plants in a small manageable plot, say 4×4 feet (1.21×1.21 meters), and see how it goes.

A Comparison To Ornamental Gardens

Ornamental garden beds take a bit of work throughout the seasons and from year to year once everything’s planted, depending on what you grow. There’s weeding to do, watering, seasonal pruning, dead-heading spent flowers, and keeping an eye out for any pests that need to be dealt with.

Sometimes, in an ornamental garden, a plant outgrows the space it’s in, and you need to dig it up and move it out so it doesn’t crowd out other plants. Other plants may die. Those will also require digging out and possibly even replacing.

Ornamental gardens are always evolving. From season to season, year to year, there’s always something needing your attention. Once things are planted, the work is about annual maintenance tasks.

Vegetable gardening generally requires less maintenance than an ornamental garden over the growing season. 

Most of the work in a vegetable garden comes with the spring planting and fall harvest (which feels to me more like reaping a reward than hard work!) 

Vegetable gardens will also need tending during the growing season, watering and weeding (which you can reduce with good mulching), and possible pest management. 

You’ll need to clean up your garden beds after harvest, pull out spent plants, and spread protective mulch over the bed for winter. 

However, in my opinion, the payback of a harvest makes the work well worth it.

Is It Rewarding?

A midsection shot of a woman holding a crate of vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, and more.

Gardening is a great form of exercise. At the same time, I also find it relaxing, even if it’s sometimes hard work. I get to be outside in the fresh air, and it’s usually pretty quiet, so I try to do a little bit every day.

With ornamental gardens, you sometimes have to be patient and wait for a year or two (or more) before you see and enjoy results like beautiful flowers or lovely full growth on shrubs. 

Still, the results of a well-designed garden can be well worth the wait.

Vegetable gardens, on the other hand, tend to be less work than the rest of the garden once things are planted, and you can enjoy the results in a matter of weeks.

Leaf lettuce or radishes, for example, can be ready to harvest in as little as four weeks once the seeds germinate. Other vegetables like peas, bush beans, and some early tomatoes can be ready in 7-8 weeks.

Other than weeding and watering (which you can minimize with a good mulch) and checking for pests, all you really need to do once a vegetable garden is planted is have fun watching the daily progress of your growing and ripening vegetables. 

Smelling roses on the vine can be divine and may be worth a year’s wait, but for me, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as a vegetable harvest that I only had to wait a few months to enjoy. 

Eating fresh green beans or cherry tomatoes straight off the plant is so good!

How Easy Is It To Start A Vegetable Garden?

Growing vegetables needs a bit of planning before getting started. This is to make sure you can give them everything they need to grow well and produce a good harvest. 

Success is all about the combination of sun, soil, and water.

Most of the actual work in a vegetable garden happens in the spring, to prepare the beds and get things planted, be it seeds or starter plants.

So, relatively speaking, vegetable gardens are fairly easy to start (even indoor vegetable gardens!).

And vegetable gardening is relatively easy for beginners as well.

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