The threat of frost is [hopefully] in our rearview, so the time is finally here to start your vegetable garden! If you’re new to the gardening scene, this blog post is for you. We help you from start to finish with tips on where to put your garden, how to get it ready for planting, and what to plant. Not interested in gardening? We have a little something at the end for you too!

Where to Put Your Garden

You might not realize it, but where you put your vegetable garden is important to its success. The Almanac offers these great tips on how to pick the right spot for your garden:

  1. Sunny spot: Most vegetables need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. There are a few veggies (mostly the leafy ones) that will tolerate some shade.
  2. Drains well and doesn’t stay wet:If you have poorly drained soil where water pools, plant veggies in a raised bed or raised row for improved drainage. Wet soil means wet roots, which can turn into rotted roots. If you have rocky soil, till and remove the rocks, as they will interfere with root growth and make for weaker plants.
  3. Stable and not windy: Avoid places that receive strong winds that could knock over your young plants or keep pollinators from doing their job. Nor do you want to plant in a location that receives too much foot traffic or floods easily. Plant in a location that would make Goldilocks smile—somewhere that’s “just right.”
  4. Nutrient-rich soil. Your soil feeds your plants. If you have thin, nutrient-poor soil, you’ll have poor, unhealthy plants. Mix in plenty of organic matter to help your plants grow.”
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Woman gardener planting salad and beetroot and putting a straw mulch around it to fertilize and protect it from the drought. Natural living, organic eating, active lifestyle concept.

Preparing Your Garden Bed

Now that you have the perfect location plotted for your garden, it’s time to get to work. First, you need to remove any existing grass or foliage from this area, then you will want to till the newly exposed soil. Now, meet us at step two of the following steps for those who might already have an existing garden that they just need to clean up!

  1. Remove all weeds, and if you don’t have a barrier between your garden and the surrounding grass, it’s a good idea to get one put in
  2. Add nutrients to the soil – check out this blog for free items you can mix into your soil to achieve great nutrient levels for growing vegetables
  3. Till the garden soil – you don’t need an actual till for this step. You can accomplish what you need to with a pitchfork or shovel
  4. Add a thick layer of mulch or straw to reduce the number of weeds and to help keep the soil moist

(Source: Get Busy Gardening)

What to Plant

There’s no denying that we live a tough climate up here in Minnesota, and our growing window can be quite small when compared to other regions in the U.S. Luckily, horticulturists at the University of Minnesota put together a cohesive list of vegetables that grow well in our climate and soil. You can view the whole list HERE, otherwise, here is a quick list of our favorites!

  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

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Other, Local Options

We understand that not everyone has space to garden in their own lawn, but did you know that New Ulm has a community garden you can join? Get all the details HERE. We also understand that there are some people who have no interest in gardening, but still want to enjoy fresh, local produce. Luckily, our amazing community has several options for you too!

These are just a few of the great options we have in our area for locally grown produce. We hope you will check them out and give them your support!