backyard gardening

Backyard Gardening Basics

If you have a backyard at home, you have probably already thought about starting a garden. Gardens are great because you can not only have fresh vegetables at hand but gardening is also a rewarding hobby. If you are not sure how to start a garden, I have good news for you! Today, we will talk about backyard gardening basics.

I remember when I bought a house back in 2013, after getting married and a job, and couldn’t wait to start growing my first garden as an adult 🙂 I bought all the gardening books and studied what I wanted to do all winter. I tend to overcomplicate things and take on a perfectionist attitude- ha. So needless to say, you really don’t need anything but a patch of dirt and a few seeds or plants to get started 😉 So I’ll share with you what I’ve learned as someone that never has a green thumb in the past- but had a totally thriving garden!

When you are done reading this article, you will be aware of the main benefits of gardening, and you will know how to get started and which vegetables are easy to grow for beginners. So here we go, let’s dig a little deeper into gardening. I hope you’re as excited as me!

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Benefits of backyard gardening

Having a backyard garden has several benefits. To begin with, when you have your own garden, you will be more likely to eat healthier, and it can make you, and even your kids, love eating veggies. I’m always amazed when my daughter grazes on food in the garden in a way that never does from store bought food.

Plus, gardening can be considered as an exercise, as you use all your muscles while doing it. Therefore, it can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Moreover, if you garden regularly, it can help you reduce stress as well. But that’s not all…

Gardening is beneficial for your heart, saves you money and it can work as a mood booster too as it can make you happier.

If you would like to know more about the surprising benefits of backyard gardening, check out our previous article on this topic.

Simple ways to get started

If you would like to start a garden, first you should assess how much space you have for a garden at home. Depending on the available space, you have multiple options to choose from. You can get into container gardening, you can start a raised garden bed, or if you are out of space, you can even make a windowsill garden.

Container gardening

backyard gardening

Container gardening is a great choice for beginners because you don’t need too many things to start it. The 4 main things that you may need are containers, seeds or plants, garden soil, and then water. Doesn’t sound so complicated, does it? 🙂

Plus, container gardening has its own benefits:

  • The containers are moveable, so you can change the outlook of your garden any time you want. Also, by moving the containers, you can take more advantage of the sun. Simply move the containers to where there is sunlight. 🙂
  • Planting your vegetables in containers makes it possible to have a garden even if you don’t have a backyard. You can have a container garden on your terrace or if you live in an apartment, you can start one on your balcony.
  • When the weather starts to be cold, you can move your plants indoors.
  • Container gardening allows you to change the soil mixture. Some plants have special needs, so it can be a great advantage!

If you want to start a container garden, choose some nice containers and buy potting soil. Then decide on which plants you would like to grow, and buy the seeds or seedlings you need. I personally loved experimenting with organic and non-GMO heirloom seed kits on Amazon. And finally, plant those seeds (look up your heartiness zone and growing season to know when to start) or move the seedlings to the containers, and take care of your plants by paying attention to their needs.

In general, the following vegetables grow well in a container garden: peas, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, carrots, peppers, and leafy greens.

Raised bed gardening

Nowadays, raised garden beds are very popular and they may work well for beginners as well that want a backyard vegetable garden. This is because raised garden beds are super easy to maintain.

If you are not familiar with the concept of raised bed gardening, it means that you are growing your plants in soil that lies higher than the ground. You can create a raised garden bed with some kind of enclosure, or most often a wooden frame (cedar raised) is placed around the soil.

Here are a few reasons why it is a good idea to make a raised garden bed:

  • You don’t need to bend and kneel so much while doing gardening chores to reduce strain on the body.
  • Your plants will be more productive as the drainage is better in a raised garden bed and the plants can root deeper.
  • Raised garden beds are in fashion now: Plus, they look more organized than a traditional row garden.
  • You will have significantly less weeds in your garden.
  • If the soil is too hard in your backyard, with raised bed gardening you can still grow vegetables there.
  • The growing season will last longer as the soil warms up faster above the ground.

If you would like to build raised beds in your backyard, you can do that by using a few boards. Here is a great guide on how to do it. Once you have your raised garden beds, plant your seeds and enjoy the view of your organized garden.

Note: While garden beds are trending and “sexy”- if you don’t have the budget for them or it feels intimidating then don’t be afraid go for a traditional garden row in the soil. It’s what I did my first year of gardening- I upgraded to garden beds later mostly to get rid of the muddy mess I had with rows. However, it never affected my yield!

Windowsill garden

If you don’t have too much space to create a garden, consider taking advantage of your windowsill. It is very easy to make a windowsill garden, all you need is a few containers, potting soil, seeds or plants, and plenty of water.

Plant your seeds by following the instructions on the package of the seeds, or transplant your seedlings into larger pots. Then place the pots into a sunny window and water them regularly. If you can’t find a sunny place for them, you may need to buy a grow light for your plants to provide enough light for them to grow.

The best is to grow herbs or leafy greens on the windowsill because of the limited space, and because these plants adjust well to the various amounts of sunlight. If you would like to know how to get started with a windowsill herb garden, check out our guide.

Note: Another fun option is going for a hydroponic system with a grow light that yields well all year round.

Easy-to-grow vegetables to start with

backyard gardening

As a beginner, it is better to choose easy-to-grow vegetables to start with. In the following, we collected the easiest vegetables you may consider planting in your garden.


Lettuce is a leafy green that is very easy to grow. It also grows quickly and doesn’t require too much care. Lettuce is ideal for places where there is not too much space, so you can plant it in containers and raised beds as well.

You can start to grow lettuce from seeds- choose from a huge variety of lettuce varieties depending on what your would enjoy eating! My favorites are butter lettuce and arugula.

Green beans

Green beans also do great in limited space. Plus, they are also very productive. You can plant the seeds after the last spring frost date outdoors. Snap peas are also similar in yield and space too!


Radishes are easy-to-grow vegetables, so don’t be afraid to plant them even if you just got started with backyard gardening. What I love about radishes is that after planting they can be harvested very early. You have to wait only about 3 weeks! Plus, you can eat their greens too.

You can plant radish seeds during spring and autumn.


Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables. They are easy to grow, especially cherry tomatoes. You can start planting tomatoes from both seeds and seedlings. And if you’ve ever had a garden fresh tomato- they’re the best!

Luckily, tomatoes grow well in containers as well so you can place them also on your balcony.


In my opinion, zucchini are the absolute easiest veggies to grow out there. And with an insane yield too! I remember as a kid, that even if we failed at our garden one summer because it was hot or we forgot to water one night- our zucchini plants would always survive. They’re very forgiving and so versatile- we used our to make veggie lasagna, sauces, zoodles, bread, and more! Hands down of my favorite options, as long as you have the space.


The next easy-to-grow vegetable is carrot. You can grow carrots in sandy, loose soil from seeds and it takes them around 2-4 months to grow until harvest.

Besides the above-mentioned vegetables, these vegetables are also quite easy to grow: beets, peppers (if they get enough heat and direct sunlight), peas, chard, kale, and spinach. You may also consider planting herbs.

Related read: Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet

A few tips on deciding which vegetables to grow


In case, after reading the list of the easy-to-grow vegetables you are still unsure which vegetables to choose, here are a few tips to make the decision easier for you. You can also chat with someone at a garden center or a friend that loves to garden.

  • First of all, choose vegetables that you like, or your family often eats. Don’t grow plants that nobody will eat! (Unless you want to sell them or give them to someone.)
  • Plant those veggies that are far better when they are grown at home. For example, lettuces and tomatoes are very easy to grow, and your home-grown plants will be free from pesticides!
  • Grow plants that can save you money. For example, herbs are less expensive to grow at home than buy them at the supermarket.
  • Think about what are the conditions you can provide for your plants. If you can’t water your plants every day, opt for those plants that don’t need too much watering.

Related read: Healthy Weekly Meal Plan with Grocery List

Backyard gardening can be so much fun and rewarding. It’s a great complement to healthy living habits too. I hope you are feeling as excited about gardening as I do! 🙂

As you can see, backyard gardening is not so complicated. You need only a few things to begin and some time to plant your seeds and care for them as they start to grow. Now that you are aware of the backyard gardening basics, hopefully, this spring you will also get into gardening and grow your own veggies at home.

Do you have a garden at home? Or are you planning to start one?

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