How to Grow a Backyard Vegetable Garden For Your Family

Let’s Grow a Backyard Vegetable Garden!

Based from our experiences growing veggies and yields for four, the backyard vegetable garden should not take up too much of your valuable free time while contributing to your family’s needs. You can do this with a little planning. If you start out right and commit yourself to finding low-maintenance organic gardening methods, you can save time while producing a healthy garden full of vegetables, year after year.


Ahhhh organization!

Whether your garden contains a single bed of salad greens or multiple beds of vegetables in a “backyard food factory”, these tips will help you start out right, before you even start digging.

Sidebar -> I recommend reading our Growing the Best Tomatoes post. It can only help 😉

Garden Size

The size of your garden is determined by how much space is available and how much time you want to commit to gardening. You can produce a steady stream of salad greens for your family in a garden as small as 100 sq.ft. if the plants are grown intensively.

Our garden is 500 sq.ft., which is the ideal size for a family of four. In our 20’ x 25’ garden we can grow a variety of vegetables, and often have extras to share with our neighbors.

Orientation to Sun and Shade

You need to position the plants in your garden so that they are facing south, if possible. Your plants should be getting 5 hours of direct sunlight every day. Before planning your garden’s location, observe the path of shadows from fences, trees, adjacent buildings and tall objects.

Sunlight calculators can give you an exact measurement of the area’s sun exposure which will assist you in finding the ideal location for your garden. The best area to choose should be a location with the maximum amount of continuous light.

Proximity to Trees and Root Systems

In addition to worrying about the shading effect of trees, you also need to consider their roots. Your garden needs to be placed at least 10’ away from the drip line of any trees. If you need to place the garden closer to the trees you may need to dig a barrier around the garden. This barrier will help to block root incursion into your garden. If you need consistent watering? Try a Digital Watering Timer! They are great for hands off watering and vacations… ????☀

Dig a narrow trench until you reach hard clay. Your trench needs to at least be deeper than the existing roots. Place galvanized metal roofing or any type of inert heavy materials in the trench. Then, fill the trench with soil and leave the edge of the metal sheeting or barrier material even, or slightly above, with the height of the soil. Since the roots will not be able to penetrate the barrier, they will not be able to reach your garden.

Envision Your Future Landscape

If you plan on adding fruit trees, trees, fences, objects or other structures you need to consider these items when planning your garden. Envision the 20’ root spread of a future fruit tree, or the shading effect of a planned shed, when planning your current garden location. Adding a herb garden is always easy to do, and it generally grows quickly. We’ve had seasons where we couldn’t keep up our consumption with the growth rate! Plus, you can always populate it with some fairy garden accessories!!! ????

Wind Exposure

If you live in a windy area, you need to add a berm or fence that can serve as a wind barrier.

Sloped Land

If your land is sloped, you should terrace the beds so that they are level. If you don’t you’ll have issues with erosion and uneven water distribution. To create terraced beds, build up the low side of the slope with boards, wood slabs or flat rocks. You may be able to get some of these materials for free at local sawmills.

Anticipate Future Crop Rotations

Reserve space in your yard for the next season, so that you can relocate some of your plantings. While this area is not in use you can use the bed for a “green manure”. ???????? This is a cover crop, which can help build the soil by adding nutrients and helping to keep the bed weed free.