The first step in planning your vegetable garden is to assess your space and plant growing conditions (light, water, temperature, soil). Once you have an idea of what might be possible, you should set your goals, and I recommend setting your goals for the whole year. The reason I recommend setting your gardening goals for that length of time is because it provides a better time horizon for you to both be successful and optimally plant whatever you decide to grow.
To help get started this article will provide an overview of different gardening approaches or ideas.
Raised Bed & Square Foot Gardening
Rather than planting your vegetables directly into your back or front yard soil, you may opt to build a raised garden bed. The most popular types are typically self-assembled from lumber and hardware from the local nursery. There are also raised bed kits available, and if the size is correct for your backyard, they can save you time.
Square foot gardening became extremely popular with the rise of raised bed gardening; square foot gardening generally begins by marking every square foot on a raised garden bed for the intensive growing of 1 type of plant.
The labor, whether you build your raised bed or buy a kit will mostly be in how you fill it. Ideally, you have a source of soil available to you that can be easily amended for vegetables but if you don’t check out how to cheaply fill raised garden beds.
Planters & Containers
If you have limited space or are like me and just very ambitious you can supplement vegetable growing space cheaply with containers smaller than raised beds. Grow bags have become a popular option for vegetables but many common items can also do well as plant containers. Common items to build plant containers include cinder blocks, clean food containers with added irrigation holes, and old mason jars or unwanted cups.
Xeriscaping & Native Plant Gardening
Xeriscaping is not just for ornamental plants! You can adapt vegetables or if it is really dry at least herbs to your local conditions with some careful planning. Drought tolerant planting is environmental and can help you learn more about your local flora.
The best plants to use when you are looking for drought tolerant vegetables or ones that will do well locally for you is to select an heirloom varietal that fits your season’s growing conditions. By using Heirloom vegetables, you will over many seasons be able to save the best individuals for the next planting.
Herbs also do well, specifically Lavender, Oregano, Sage, and Thyme. Both fast growing and summer vegetables do well in high heat and provided some creativity they require minimal water supplementation.