Where do I begin?

Asked April 12, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

I am planting my first vegetable garden this summer at Northwind Community Garden. I want to grow around 5 types of veggies but hopefully some that are manageable for a beginner. I will also be growing a few herbs, which I have done before but only in pots. What veggies would you recommend for an easy garden plan and something I can maintain in terms of soil nutrition? I just need 5ish veggies that are very simple to grow in Michigan, perhaps ones that work well together in a plot.

Ingham County Michigan fruits and vegetables gardening

1 Response

A lot depends on what you like to eat. If I suggested kohlrabi or radishes and you gag at the mere mention of their names, this won't be helpful.

The books that tell people that carrots love onions or hate spinach are not based on research and are more fantasy than reality. They all like each other if you water them, mulch with straw and fertilize periodically. Since they are all annuals, as long as tou have about 120 days for them to grow, you will get a crop. This is why some are put in as transplants

There are approximately 50 kinds of vegetables that could be grown. On the easy list, green bush beans, leaf lettuces, Swiss chard, radishes, bush zucchini and broccoli can be grown from seed. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can be grown from purchased transplants. Do some research on which are cool season vegetables and which are warm season vegetables. For example, leaf lettuces are cool season but if you put them in in June, they will become bitter in the July heat.

These vegetables require lots of room: pumpkins, vining summer squash, winter squash and corn. Potatoes require a more acidic soil than most vegetables. The garden will grow best at 6.5 pH but potatoes needs about 5.5 pH which is more acidic. You may want to get a soil test to check on your garden's nutrients. You can buy one online for $25 at www.msusoiltest.com and you will receive a fertilizer recommendation back online. If you need help understanding your recommendation, call me and can help. My phone: 517/546-3950.

Cucumbers are a risk because of a disease called downy mildew that has been present in Michigan for the last half-dozen years. Plants die rapidly before you get much of a crop.

These are generally miserable even for experienced gardeners: head lettuce, celery and cauliflower.

I hope this answers your questions. If not, let me know.