So you want to start a vegetable garden?
With inflation roaring out of control. There is no better time.
Spring is coming soon to Prescott, and it’s time to start planning that garden you have always wanted.
If you are a beginner. Wonderful!
Cultivating vegetables can be gratifying for those who garden in their own home and for individuals aiming to make some extra cash.
Whether in pots on a balcony or an acre of land, many steps are involved in starting and profiting from your own vegetable garden.
Let’s dig in.
Table of Contents:
- Choosing the A Location for Your Garden
- Preparing the Soil
- Selecting Vegetables to Grow
- Planting and Caring for Your Garden
- Harvesting Your Vegetables
- Selling Your Produce
- Maximizing Profits from Your Garden
- FAQs in Relation to How to Start and Profit From Your Own Vegetable Garden
Choosing a Location for Your Garden
Location is key to a successful garden.
Choose a spot with ample sunshine for at least six hours daily to ensure your vegetables receive the light they need.
Consider the type of soil you have and the drainage when deciding on where to plant your garden.
The soil in my garden is excellent for planting vegetables. However, for best results, I enrich the soil with compost and fertilizer to guarantee suitable conditions for whatever I grow.
Once you’ve found an ideal spot for your garden, it’s time to start preparing the ground for planting.
If you use container pots, the same consideration for the soil is important and making sure the pots drain well.
Weeds are always an issue no matter where you garden. So start by removing any weeds or debris from the garden area.
You will want to break up large clumps of dirt with a shovel or tiller and incorporate organic material (manure or compost) into the top layer of soil.
I plant the same vegetables yearly but also experiment and add at least one new variety.
The more popular veggies to plant are:
- green beans,
- and lettuce.
Options for vegetables abound depending on the amount of room you have, especially if you plan to market your vegetables.
I am very limited in the space I have to grow veggies. So I make do with large pots and planting beds around the perimeter of my home in downtown Prescott.
It’s impressive how much you can grow in a small space or large pots.
Each year, I cultivate different varieties of tomatoes. I like to have an overabundance so I can them, which I love to do.
Every spring, I go to the Farmer’s Market, where I find excellent varieties of seedling tomato plants.
Whipstone Farms is one of my favorite vendors at the Farmer’s Market. Their tomato plant seedings are always healthy and yield a good harvest.
I also am fond of planting seeds.
Consider researching different varieties before purchasing seeds to choose ones best suited for Northern Arizona’s climate conditions, like high temperatures in summer months and frosty winter nights.
I planted a single Rhubarb plant last year to see how it would do. Remember, I don’t have much room, and it’s a sizeable plant.
The nice thing about Rhubarb is that it is perennial. It will come back every year. I was thrilled that the plant produced enough rhubarb to make a pie.
If you are a beginner, don’t be afraid to try things you think might do well. As you continue to plant every year, you will learn what worked best for you and how to improve.
Once you figure out where your plants do best, you will have gardening success every season.
Plant your seeds at twice their diameter deep into moistened soil (except some for root crops). Proper spacing between rows to allow for adequate air circulation and reduce disease is essential.
I planted peas and green beans last year and was able to train the pea vine up a trellis. Both did well. I had a small harvest; I only planted enough to see how they would fare. This year, I will plant a few more peas and green beans.
You are going to want to supply support structures for tomatoes and peppers. I have trellises around the perimeter of my property, so it’s easy for me to grow these types of vegetables.
I use cages for the tomato varieties I plant in large pots.
We have a heck of a yearly monsoon season, so your plants will need help standing up to the wind gusts.
Hail large enough to damage trees and tender plants can occasionally happen in the summer in Prescott.
Monsoon storms can come fast and furious; if you’re not prepared, they can quickly destroy all your hard work.
Water is, of course, essential to healthy plants, and it is a precious resource. Water bills in the City of Prescott can take a bite out of your budget every month. It is getting more expensive every year. But I love growing vegetables and having green trees and a green lawn. So, I pay the price.
If you care for your plants with the proper water, weeding, fertilizing, and pest control, come harvest time, you’re in for a treat.
There is nothing like eating your own homegrown veggies and fruits (like strawberries and blueberries).
If you have a large garden, earning extra income from all your hard work is a possibility and can pay off.
You might consider keeping a journal on your garden and recording what worked for you and what didn’t. This will help you next year when a new cycle begins.
Don’t forget to plant some winter vegetables.
Planting periodically all summer long will keep you in veggies right up until the end of October or when the hard freezes come.
Your plants need at least six hours of sunshine daily for optimal growth. If you’re planting in an area that receives less than this amount, you may consider adding artificial lighting or relocating your garden bed.
Bear in mind that gardens facing the south typically experience more daylight than those situated to the north, which may be partially obscured during certain times.
My garden does excellent on the north and south sides of the house. However, the western side of my home gets nailed with sunshine all afternoon, and few things will survive the heat.
The deer and the other critters love to eat my veggies as much as I do, so planting in my front yard is easy pickings for the deer that frequent South Mt. Vernon. People are surprised that we get visits from deer on such a busy street, but we do.
Protect your crop from Javelina. These buggers will root up your plants and bulbs and destroy your garden.
The quality and composition of your soil can make or break your vegetable garden.
Sandy soils provide excellent drainage but don’t retain nutrients very well. In contrast, clay soils hold moisture and nutrients better but can become waterlogged if not properly aerated with organic matter like compost or manure.
Poorly drained areas can cause root rot due to excessive moisture buildup around plant roots, preventing them from getting enough oxygen for healthy growth and development.
Make sure there is adequate space between plants for air circulation so they don’t suffocate from overcrowding. Choose raised beds if necessary since these allow excess water to drain away quickly without drowning delicate root systems below ground level.
Preparing the Soil
Breaking up hard-packed soil to create a loose, aerated environment for plants is achieved by tilling with a rototiller or shovel.
To ensure your vegetables grow healthy and strong, nourish the soil with a fertilizer designed for vegetable gardens or an organic option such as composted manure.
Watters Garden Center is a great place to pick up the nutrients you need for your garden. They also have a great selection of vegetable plants for purchase.
Choose a fertilizer specifically designed for vegetable gardens, as these products are formulated with higher nitrogen levels and other minerals beneficial for vegetable growth.
An organic alternative to chemical-based fertilizers is composted manure (which is what I use). Your choice of fertilizer will depend on whether you are going organic or inorganic.
Organic matter should also be added when preparing the soil for planting vegetables, as it helps improve drainage while increasing water retention capacity and nutrient availability.
Manure from bovines or equines is an outstanding selection, as it has abundant nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other trace components necessary for plants to thrive.
Composted leaves or grass clippings can also be used but may require additional nutrients depending on their composition, so read labels carefully before purchasing any product.
To ensure success, the soil for your veggie garden needs to be ready and modified adequately; this will give your veggies a greater opportunity of flourishing.
Selecting Vegetables to Grow
You must first decide whether the vegetables you intend to grow in your garden are suitable for the climate.
For small gardens, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets are great options as they don’t take up too much space but can still provide plenty of nutrition.
Growing potatoes in a grow bag is a great option if you are short on gardening space like me. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Last year, I had great success with Kale, spinach, lettuce, and celery. I had so much celery that I harvested and dehydrated it.
I also love Basil. They grew into monster plants. I had such a bumper crop of this herb that I decided to make homemade Pesto and freeze it for later use. Yum!
Other herbs I planted that I can’t do without are oregano, thyme, and rosemary. These plants come back every year. Don’t you just love plants that keep on giving every year? I love cilantro and dill, so I plant many of these herbs.
It’s so great to have an herb garden, and much cheaper than buying them in the grocery store. You may want to throw in some mint varieties in the ground as well.
Herbs only take up a little room and pack flavor into everything you whip up in your kitchen.
If you’re looking for something that stores well or is suitable for canning or preserving, then cucumbers (pickling), squash (summer & winter varieties), beans (green & wax), garlic & onions should all be on your list of must-haves.
Canning is one of my favorite activities, and it’s a great way to preserve all that lovely freshness to be enjoyed all year long.
Tomatoes will always be a staple no matter what size garden you have; remember that different varieties require different amounts of water, so choose wisely.
When it comes time to plant your vegetables, remember that timing is everything.
Certain veggies do better when planted early in spring, while others prefer cooler temperatures closer to fall, so plan accordingly.
Planting and Caring for Your Garden
Proper watering is essential for a successful vegetable garden. Water deeply, but infrequently, to encourage strong root growth and discourage weed growth. When the top layer of dirt is dry, it’s time to provide water.
You can use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system for the best results.
I have a drip system for all of the areas of my garden, including pots. This way, I know that if I am gone for a few days, my plants are being watered sufficiently.
Keep weeds at bay by regularly pulling them out by hand and applying mulch around plants to prevent their return.
Weeds are more of a problem for those that have large gardens. Back when I had more than two-acres for my garden, weeding was a constant concern.
I don’t like using chemicals to kill weeds, so weeding was a chore, but it was worth it.
Mulch also helps retain moisture in the soil while keeping it cool during hot weather.
A thick layer of organic material, such as straw or wood chips, will help keep weeds down and conserve moisture in the soil between waterings.
Make sure you spread your mulch evenly over an area that extends beyond the base of each plant – this will ensure that all parts of your garden receive adequate coverage from its protective layer.
Keeping your plants as pest free as possible can be a challenge. It’s important to inspect your plants frequently for damage or insect infestation.
Use whatever is necessary to keep your plants healthy and free from pests.
Crop rotation can help to reduce the presence of pests, too.
You can also reduce pests by choosing vegetable varieties with natural pest resistance.
I plant marigolds to help keep pests away.
Harvesting Your Vegetables
This is where all that hard work pays off.
Harvesting vegetables at the peak of ripeness is essential to maximize their shelf life.
To do this, inspect your garden regularly and pick fruits and vegetables when they are ready.
It’s such a pleasure to harvest your first veggies of the season. Raising your own vegetables is so satisfying.
Harvesting in the morning is best, as temperatures are cooler then.
Tomatoes should be gently pressed to check for firmness with a slight give.
Cucumbers should have no white spots or streaks, appearing in a deep green hue.
Bell peppers should be a vivid red or yellow without any soft areas.
Squash should display an even coloration.
Once harvested, handle your produce carefully, so it doesn’t bruise or get damaged.
When transporting them from the garden to the farmer’s market or storage area, use shallow containers that don’t overcrowd them. You don’t want to risk damaging them before they can reach their destination.
To ensure maximum freshness, store each type of vegetable separately in cool dark places (at 45-50°F), such as a basement or root cellar if possible.
I wish I had a root cellar. I don’t. However, I do have a climate-controlled garage which is very handy, especially for the veggies I can every year. Storing my jars of canned vegetables in a climate-controlled area helps preserve them for longer.
Some vegetables need more humidity than others – like carrots and potatoes, which prefer 95% humidity, while onions like 65%.
Check on your stored veggies periodically to ensure nothing has gone wrong. One lousy piece of vegetable or fruit can spoil the whole lot. Discard anything that looks wilted or moldy immediately to avoid contaminating other produce nearby.
My vegetables and fruits don’t last long. They are gobbled up quickly. And what is not eaten is canned.
I also sell and share my vegetables with my neighbors, which is an excellent way of encouraging people in your community to start their own gardens.
Selling your homegrown veggies can be a great way to monetize your gardening hobby.
Selling Your Produce
Generating a return on your horticultural endeavors is achievable by marketing the yield.
You can choose to sell at local farmers’ markets, online stores, or even directly to restaurants.
Selling produce at local farmers’ markets is a common practice for small-scale growers to reach the public.
The Prescott Farmer’s Market is filled with local mom-and-pop growers.
Most organized farmers’ markets have qualification rules and regulations online, setting forth what can be sold, booth rental, and city and state requirements. Be sure to check with your local farmer’s market to determine what is available and required in your area.
If you don’t feel comfortable setting up shop in person or if there aren’t any local farmers’ markets nearby, consider creating an online store for your produce.
Many eCommerce platforms, like Etsy, are available today that allow anyone with an internet connection and a credit card processor to open their virtual storefronts with minimal effort and cost.
You will want to research what is required to sell produce online and whether there are any federal, state, or local requirements to do so legally.
Once your store is set up, list each item with its corresponding price tag attached and let customers pour in.
Another excellent option for selling your product is directly supplying restaurants in the area with fresh ingredients straight from your garden. Reach out via email or phone call (or both), introducing yourself as a grower looking for buyers interested in locally sourced foods.
Reaching out to restaurants builds relationships between yourself and potential restaurant partners while increasing visibility within the community too.
Be prepared, though; most restaurants will require proof of quality control before they agree to buy anything from you, so make sure everything meets their standards before sending over samples of your produce.
Maximizing Profits from Your Garden
Maximizing profits from your vegetable garden can be done in various ways.
The first step is using efficient growing techniques, such as raised beds or hydroponic systems.
Raised beds allow you to control the soil conditions more precisely and make it easier to access the plants for maintenance and harvesting.
Maximizing earnings can be accomplished by picking vegetables in high demand but with low production expenses.
Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and herbs are all popular choices that can be grown with minimal inputs while yielding good returns.
It’s important to research local markets before planting to know which crops will generate the most profit per square foot of space available in your garden plot.
Adequately tending to your crops is paramount if you wish for them to bear abundant fruit come harvest season.
This involves judiciously watering, fertilizing according to each plant’s requirements, warding off pests organically when possible, and frequently weeding so that the vegetables don’t have to compete with other plants for resources such as water and sunlight.
Price your produce wisely to maximize profits from your vegetable garden.
Familiarize yourself with the local market and what similar items are selling for at farmers’ markets or grocery stores.
Then set your price to remain competitive. Keep in mind that no one likes feeling cheated on price.
You can spread the word about the produce you grow through personal connections and social media channels.
Flyers posted up around town never hurt, either.
After all, getting people interested in buying what you are selling makes all those grueling hours spent tending your vegetable garden worthwhile.
Even if you only make one sale, at least something was gained from all that effort to ensure every seedling got plenty of TLC.
It’s no secret that growing your own vegetables can be a great way to make a little extra money.
Efficient Growing Techniques:
When it comes to maximizing profits from your garden, efficiency is critical. Planting in raised beds or containers allows you to use less soil and water while producing plenty of vegetables.
Planting crops that mature quickly, such as radishes or spinach, will allow you to harvest more often throughout the season.
FAQs in Relation to How to Start and Profit From Your Own Vegetable Garden
How can I make money with my vegetable garden?
Making money with a vegetable garden requires planning and dedication.
First, research the best crops to grow in your local climate and soil conditions.
Consider the most profitable types of vegetables based on demand, growing season, and costs.
Purchase quality seeds or seedlings from reputable sources for good yields.
Create an efficient watering system for consistent growth and health of plants. Again, if possible, I highly recommend auto drip irrigation.
Market your produce locally through farmers’ markets or direct-to-consumer sales such as online stores or subscription services.
Dedication and commitment can turn your veggie patch into a great little business.
How do I start a vegetable garden business?
Begin by selecting the type of vegetables to cultivate and who you would like your customer base to be.
Next, research local regulations regarding licensing and zoning for agricultural businesses in your area.
After that, create a budget for any necessary equipment, such as a cute little greenhouse or irrigation systems.
I have always dreamed of setting up a greenhouse to grow my veggies and trying my hand at flowers. I hope to get there someday.
Finally, develop an efficient plan for marketing your product through online platforms or at farmers’ markets to attract customers and make sales.
Starting a vegetable garden business can be rewarding and profitable with the right strategy.
Is home gardening profitable?
Home gardening can be profitable depending on the scale and available resources. It’s really up to you.
Those with access to the resources necessary for cultivating plants can gain income from selling their products or providing services.
Many gardeners can generate income by offering classes or workshops in their area of expertise.
Home gardening can be a viable source of income when done thoughtfully and with an eye for success.
Can you make a living selling vegetables?
With the proper knowledge and resources, anyone can start their own vegetable business.
The key is understanding the local market and knowing how to price your products competitively while ensuring quality produce for customers.
Maintaining strong ties with providers is important to guarantee a consistent supply of fresh vegetables.
For long-term success, it is essential to create effective promotional tactics.
Vegetable gardening is such an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Not only will you provide delicious, healthy food for your family, but you can also profit from it.
So, how about it? Will you be planting a vegetable garden this year? I’d love to hear from you.