Starting Your Vegetable Garden

Sunday, January 19, 2020 2:29 AM

This year I am going to plant my first vegetable garden. Any suggestions? EC

Congratulations for deciding to take the plunge into growing your own delicious veggies. Your question is more than we can cover in this article, but here are some tips to get you started.

First you will need to decide what kind of garden you are going to plant as there are a lot of options.

If you are planning on doing what we call an in-ground garden, your first job will be to clear an area. This typically involves getting a soil tiller to loosen up the soil and get you started on removing the existing grass (no small task). The next step would be to get a soil test (we have instructions on our website).

Without a soil test you are really flying blind in knowing how to amend your soil. A soil test will tell you the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as your soil pH. These are all important and will make a difference in how successful you are with your garden.

If you are not going to do an in-ground garden, you have a variety of options, the most popular being a raised bed or container garden. Since you are a beginner, we might suggest starting with a container garden. Almost any container can be used for this purpose. Just be sure there are holes in the bottom of your container to let the water drain out, or your plants will be sunk before you start.

Speaking of water, be sure to consider the proximity of a water source since you are going to be spending a fair amount of time watering your plants to help them through our Oklahoma summers: the closer the better.

And, of course you will have to decide what you are going to grow. We suggest growing what you are going to eat. If you only kind of like tomatoes, don’t plant a lot of tomato plants. This seems pretty obvious, but each year some gardeners seem to be begging people to take some of their abundant tomato crop off their hands. Another vigorous producer is okra. It’s pretty easy to grow and each plant produces an abundance of okra, so a couple of plants might be all you need for your home garden. You can find information on when to start your plants and which veggies do well in Oklahoma on our website.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? Well don’t be. Our Urban Gardener series of classes will be starting in a few weeks and these classes can help you become a more successful gardener. The classes are once a week on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for 6 weeks starting on March 5th. Each evening we will cover different topics which include how plants grow, soil management, vegetable gardens, pollinator gardens, trees and shrubs, and trees.

You can sign up for these classes on our website ( If you are interested, don’t delay since these classes typically sell out.

Good luck and happy gardening!

You can get answers to all your gardening questions by calling the Tulsa Master Gardeners Help Line at 918-746-3701, dropping by our Diagnostic Center at 4116 E. 15th Street, or by emailing us at