Good advice for first-time vegetable gardeners

Never grown vegetables before? Here's what you need to know.

This is the year when more people than usual are expected to break ground for vegetable gardens. But many of them are new to gardening or new to growing vegetables and may wonder the best way to get started.

If that describes you, what do you need to know? Questions you'll want to answer are:

Where's the best place for the garden?
How big should it be?
How do I prepare the soil?
What do I want to grow in the garden?
When do I plant?

Over the next few weeks, we'll help you figure out the answers to those questions -- they'll be different for everyone.

But to get started, you may want to head to the interactive Kitchen Garden Planner at Gardener's Supply Co. It shows you how to grow what you want to in a 3-foot by 6-foot raised bed.

You can choose from preplanned gardens of various types or design your own, all on your computer screeen.

Then you can switch to advice on preparing the bed, planting, and handy tips and tricks.

It's a neat little device and I enjoyed playing around with it and getting good advice on vegetable gardening. I rarely link to commercial sites , but in this case, I'm making an exception.

This is useful, and I think you'll enjoy it.

(Editor's note: We invite you to visit the main page of the Monitor’s gardening site , where you can find many articles, essays, and blog posts on various garden topics.)

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