Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Woman with white hair gardening

Save money and save time by producing your own vegetable garden oasis. There’s nothing like plucking a sun-ripened tomato right off the vine to create a BLT sandwich masterpiece. Fresh, quality produce right out your back door? Yes, please! Forget the bi-weekly trips to the grocery for the farm fresh produce! Bring your garden to life with these simple tips and tricks:

Choosing Vegetables for Your Garden

Before starting your garden, think about the products you purchase frequently at the market. Although cucumbers may be an easy vegetable to grow, it may not be a family favorite. Cucumber plants produce quite a bit so be sure to choose veggies that the entire family will enjoy! Look up recipes for ways you can fully utilize your fresh produce, like making tomatoes into pasta sauce or salsa.

Once you’ve decided on your vegetables, be sure to read the seed label to know exactly what you’re buying. One type of vegetable can have thousands of varieties. Ensure that the variety you choose is best for your space, soil, weather, etc. If you’re new to gardening, seed pods and Jiffy Mix are great options to get you started. Although the selection may be limited, the growth process will be hassle-free and your vegetables will be ready to harvest in no time.

Picking the Garden Space

The most important part to picking a garden space is the availability of sunlight. Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of sun to fully flourish. Monitor your backyard throughout the day to find a location that is ideal for these conditions. Be sure to consider the proximity to water as well. The last thing you want to be doing in the heat of summer is lugging around watering cans. If a hose is nearby, be sure to have a nozzle with a low-pressure water option. Too much water at once can be harmful to your new garden.

Preparing Your Garden Space

Once you have your space, clear out all excess weeds or plants. To give your garden a fresh start, add new soil that’s moist and full of nutrients. This will help provide your vegetable garden with the optimal amount of water. Next, plan out rows to plant your seeds. Know that each plant grows differently, with some needing more space than others. It’s best to label these rows so that you know exactly how to plant and care for each type of vegetable. Once your planning and preparation are done, you’ll be ready to start planting those seeds!

It’s easy to want to jump right into starting your new garden, but planning is vital. Remember that every garden and every vegetable is different, so research and preparation is key. Need some extra assistance? Ask one of our friendly garden center experts or view more tips on building a bountiful garden! If all goes according to plan, your patience and hard work will pay off with beautiful, savory produce in no time!

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964. The first store opened in Watseka, Illinois. To date 18 stores have been opened in central Illinois and northern Indiana. We have 11 stores in Illinois including Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Washington, Rochelle, Pekin, Homer Glen and McHenry. Our 7 Indiana stores include Warsaw, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, Elkhart, Marion and Rochester. We recently expanded to Northwest Ohio, adding stores in Lima and Findlay (Coming Soon). The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Joining the company in 1973, Jerry Gibbs now provides family leadership for the company. New generations of the Crabtree family continue to participate in the business. Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name "Big R" to convey the "Ranch" identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with a growing 75 + stores throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.