A Beginner's Guide to Vegetable Gardening

Whether your dream vege patch is bursting with salad greens for summer barbeques, or carrots and leeks for hearty winter soups, nothing beats the satisfaction of ‘growing your own’.

This guide is designed to help beginner vege gardeners on their way to harvesting a bumper crop of homegrown vegetables in 3 simple steps: Prepare, Plant, Nourish.


Choose a spot that is sunny, sheltered from the wind and easy to access for harvesting and watering.

Space doesn't need to be a barrier to growing your own fresh homegrown food. If you don’t have a garden bed already, get creative with what you already have available. Small concrete planters, troughs, flexi tubs, wine barrels, terracotta planters, old baths, and wooden planters are all options to consider. You can easily grow your own with a container on the deck planted with salad greens and herbs - these types of plants can be packed in more closely.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. Soil is the backbone to any good garden, the better the soil, the more successful your garden will be.

Starting with an existing garden

Starting with a new garden

Planting in pots and containers


For first time gardeners, it is generally easier to grow from seedlings, rather than seeds.

Across New Zealand there are differences in climate and soils, so some plants are planted at different times of the year depending on your region.

Our Planting Calendar has a handy list detailing what to plant each month, based on your region.

Easy 'beginner' crops

  • As a rule of thumb spinach, lettuce, radish, rocket, leeks, broccoli, bok choi, cabbage, cauliflower, silverbeet, celery, spring onions and parsley are all good ‘beginner’ crops.
  • When planting, allow at least two hand spaces apart for lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and silverbeet. 

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away, and be sure to always water plants well before and after planting.


Plants need nutrients and water to grow and thrive, just like us. If you don’t feed your plants you can’t expect to reap the rewards.

Once growing, fertilise your vegetables every four weeks during the growing season for repeat growth and a continuous supply.

A well watered, well nourished vegetable garden will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Tui Tips

  • Your veges are ready to harvest when they are about the size you see them in the supermarket.
  • The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden. Protect your plants from the colder weather with layers of mulch like Tui Mulch & Feed. Keep your garden weed free.
  • Leafy crops like spinach can be harvested a leaf at a time – so you can pick as you need.
  • Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants. Apply Tui Quash slug & snail control every few weeks to protect your seedlings from slugs and snails munching on your seedlings.
When should I plant
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 60-120 Days

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A Beginner's Guide to Vegetable Gardening Comments

  • you have covered the basis ideas to stating with the garden based on vegetables and have covered the basic to sow and grow the seeds. One should also focus on adding the decorating items in the garden. These items may include fountains, stepping stones, fences etc. Thanks for the tips

    Katy Molnar

  • This Blog talks about gardening tips and what kind of vegetables to grow. Thank you for sharing the knowledge.


  • Awesome site and wonderful information thank you so very much. Keep safe and well

    Suzanne Shaw