Veggie Gardens 101

Ask The Doctor —

Last month, we introduced you to Arber’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Pam! Dr. Pam covered questions related to plant care routines, spring gardening, and soil acidity. This month, we’re embracing our love of veggie gardens and spring blooms with more help from Dr. Pam.

Dr. Pam Marrone is here to share her expert knowledge in our #AskDrPam series. Enjoy some top tips from Dr. Pam!


What gardening tools are essential to someone who is just starting to grow vegetables?

A few essentials for growing veggies are a good, strong steel trowel, pruning shears, and a shovel. If you have a large in-ground garden, I would recommend a hoe and a cart or bucket for clippings (dead blooms, leaves, stems, etc.) that can be composted.

When and where should I plant my veggie garden?

Depending on your region, the best time of the year to plant a veggie garden is in the spring or in the fall. In warm climates, you can plant leafy greens and root vegetables in the fall.

Where to plant your veggie garden? Just about anywhere! Typically, you can make a traditional raised garden bed or convert part of your lawn to become your veggie garden. Although, the trend nowadays is to tuck plants in with your flower gardens.

What kind of soil is best for growing vegetables in?

Sandy clay loam! Also, I would recommend adding in organic matter such as compost, composted manure, leaf mulch, etc.

Should I grow my vegetables in a raised garden or a traditional in-ground garden? What is the difference?

Both options work great! However, your decision depends on how much space you have to work with for your garden.

A raised bed is a great option for small yards. With a raised bed, you can add any kind of high quality soil and amendments to create the bed. However, note that you do have to water a raised bed several times a week in dry climates as they dry out very quickly. A huge bonus of a raised bed is that they are great to prevent back injuries!

On the other side, with a traditional in-ground garden you won’t need to water it as much as you will with the raised bed. However, with the traditional in-ground garden you will need to work with the soil you have, which means you will need to amend it with compost and other organic matter.

What can I do to protect my vegetables from extreme heat and/or drought?

Protect your vegetables from very sunny, hot areas by adding a shade cloth over the top of your vegetable bed and keeping the plants well irrigated. Also, I would recommend piling on 6 inches of compost, mulch, or hay to cooldown the soil and to reduce water loss.

How do I keep pests and animals from eating my vegetables?

For furry animals, a fence works best. For birds, I would recommend using a netting system. For pests, Arber Bio Insecticide is your perfect solution to control pests before they become a big problem in your garden.

Want to learn more? Have questions of your own? Follow along at @growarber and send in your questions to Dr. Pam.
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