A Complete Guide to Digging & Planting Your First Vegetable Garden: Tomatoes, Peppers & Herbs

welcome to the rustic garden this video

is all about digging and planting your

first vegetable garden I'm going to show

you how to plant tomatoes peppers a

couple of herbs it's a long video so

it'll be a digital table of contents and

you can jump around to the parts you

want to see I'm gonna take you to

Nashville Tennessee where I was this

weekend where I dug the garden for my

son and got it planted up before we get

to that I want to show you a quick tour

of the space here give you an idea of

some of the sizes of the different beds

I have so you can decide what you want

to put in your yard and then I'm going

to show you how to blend any bagged soil

you get from stores with your earth bed

soil it's an important principle that

once you understand it it makes perfect

sense so let's get to the beds and then

we'll get to Nashville and I'll show you

all the steps needed to dig your first

garden and plant your first garden so

these are raised beds you don't have to

build raised beds if you want to build a

raised bed you can go to Home Depot or

Lowe's and ask them to cut the wood for

you and you just basically put screws on

the side I have plenty of videos on

building raised beds but let's just

pretend this is an earth bed because

that's what I want you to start with is

just go right to your ground that's a 4

by 4 space right there you want it to be

4 foot by 4 foot or you want a 4 foot by

8 foot by keeping it those dimensions

you can reach into your garden and tend

it without walking in the space but

that's a 4 by 4 this is an 8 foot by 4

foot garden and this is the space we're

going to fix up it's also an 8 foot by 4

foot space essentially what you want to

do is pick the space watch the video

it'll tell you where to pick the best

spot for your garden remove the greenery

you can either put down cardboard and

kill it off over a 6 week period you can

whack it down with a weed whacker but

remove the greenery and then turn the

soil sounds simple but when you don't

know how to do this you don't know how

to do it so let me just show you so

we're gonna clear this out and start

turning the bed and then we're gonna add

in the garden bags so I'm just turning a

4 foot by 4 foot space that's plenty of

room to get in 2 Tomatoes 2 pepper

plants and even a couple of herbs so you

get a clear off the grass you

can you know cut it down with the weed

whacker just turn it over and once you

cut the grass down turn it over full

length of a shovel loosen it up now of

course this beds been prepared so if you

have you know soil that looks like this

you may not have to amend it a whole lot

but most of the time you could have soil

that might be too sandy maybe a lot of

clay so you're gonna want to add in some

bagged product and I'll talk about what

to buy but in a 4-foot by 4-foot space

you want to have about 2 to 3 cubic feet

of material that goes into here

this is 1.5 so you might need two bags

of this about 2 to 3 cubic feet of some

bagged material and you can use garden

soil you can use raised bed soil you

don't have to use potting mix or

anything really expensive so this is 1.5

cubic feet and you would just spread it

out over the top now this is a

completely different material then my

earth soil so you want to spread it out

just like that and then go turn it over

and chop it up and the reason you want

to do that if you want to mix it up

nicely because you if you have layers of

different soils different products when

it rains it could be problematic we're

not going to fertilize this whole space

I'm going to show you how to fertilize

just the planting hole of the plants

it'll save you some money but you go

ahead you turn it over all just like

that and I actually then like to get my

hand in there and really mix it up break

up the clumps

and get your new space set up now I'm

recommending you can just go ahead and

do this in the ground when you're doing

it in the ground you don't have the

raised bed edges so go ahead and just

dig a trench around the whole space just

like that

take out the clumps break it up

and you would do that all the way around

your space that will let water run off

to here you can also water using the

trench but this is a basic way you would

set it up nothing fancy

I just encourage you to get started

apply this basic principle and I'll show

you how to do the rest okay let's get

over to Nashville Tennessee

as I mentioned welcome to Nashville

Tennessee I am here visiting my son

helping him get set up in his new place

and I always wanted to do a first dig

first plant garden when I started the

rest of Gard and those beds are already

made up so I'm going to show you how to

do the basic setup to get garden plants

in that you buy as transplants certainly

you can use your own transplants but

this is really for the first time

gardener but you can adapt the

principles as needed you're going to

need some basic items what I like to

call the small shovel the big shovel a

couple of steaks at least five feet tall

you're going to need your plants I got

these at Home Depot the bigger ones are

on sale right now three for $12 those

are different kinds of bell peppers

maybe a jalapeno so I got three tomatoes

for peppers back there is an oregano

plant that's fine to buy as a transplant

you're going to need one bag of any

organic fertilizer try and stay around a

5 5 5 and P and K for this project I'm

going to use two bags of garden soil and

I'll talk about that as we go along you

can get any kind of garden soil and in

this case definitely upside down but

it's a garden soil because this is going

to be all done right here in the ground

a couple of tips to save you money when

you go to the store you're gonna see

cilantro transplants dill transplants

basil dance

he had transplants don't buy those buy

the seeds these are annual plants in the

United States in general they grow in

the warm weather although cilantro can

grow nicely in the cool weather but they

all grow to grow flowers and reseed so

when you're buying them in the stores

you're paying three dollars a plant

they're at a good size already by the

time you get them in the ground they're

good to go to flowering and they're not

going to

really produce for you so start as seeds

they'll grow really quickly and you can

keep doing this over and over again

because there's so many seeds in there

it'll save you a lot of money you will

get tons of basil tons of Dylan's tons

of cilantro now let me go over to this

space here it's about 8:00 in the


it looks like the previous owners tried

having a garden here so I'm gonna assume

that this gets the amount of light that

it needs and what's the right amount of

light minimum minimum minimum is six

hours of full Sun that means the Sun is

going directly from the sky

directly to your plant not just bright

light but direct Sun and the way that

you figure this out is to check out the

area before you plant so you come out at

8:00 a.m. see where the Sun is the Sun

is over here to my left and I already

know because I did this yesterday and

then you come out of like 10 12 2 p.m. 4

p.m. and you see where it tracks and the

Sun here tracks from the left all the

way over to the right and I'm going to

slowly go up here and it ends up over

those trees so plenty of light comes

straight down from there right into this

space now the other tip is is when

you're doing this you sort of want a

plan you saw that the leaves are on the

trees you may have trees near you you do

this in a spring before the leaves form

you think you have plenty of Sun the

leaves come block the Sun from your

garden so you have to take that into

account too now the other thing that

they're doing here is they raised up the

ground a little bit there's a lot of

stone around here so we're going to go

with raising this up a little bit and

I've already repurposed this space I

want to talk about the size now if we

come up to here and we step right at the

edge you can easily reach in and get to

what you need sometimes people will use

a corner it'll dig it way out here and

then once you dig it way out here if you

try to reach there if I went all the way

over that way you can't get in this way

the bait the bed is raised you don't

step in it you can put all your

resources right in here and you can't in

your garden without walking where the

plant roots are growing about two weeks

ago my son put down some cardboard you

can cover your space up let it block out

the light it'll die

you won't have that many weeds and then

you can go ahead and turn your soil

under so we're going to do this a couple

of ways now certainly right here I could

pull out some of the greens in there get

rid of them turn the earth over with the

Spade but I'm gonna actually drop the

cardboard there right on top of here and

then kind of pull this dirt on top put

any extra garden soil I'll show you how

I do it and then when we plant because

this is the first garden we're gonna dig

specific holes for the tomatoes and

peppers and plant that way I'll show you

all of those steps because it's really

important you can learn a lot from this

video all right and then the final tip

use your imagination a little bit

because the Sun is over here most of the

day if we put the tomato plants right

here and they grew 6 8 feet here what

are they gonna do they're gonna block

the Sun from getting over here so the

smaller plants would go here the bigger

plants will go back here so the peppers

are gonna go right there because this

area gets a little bit more Sun and

they're gonna stay low they're probably

get maybe three feet tall if they're you

know they're a bigger variety as we come

back here I'm gonna put in the cilantro

the dill and the basil actually basil

because it's a little smaller cilantro

and dill right in here maybe a cucumber

plant through here I'm gonna decide

we'll also cut down all this greenery

and then when I was checking to see

where the Sun was coming from this space

gets a lot of Sun too so I expanded out

to here and at least two tomato plants

will go in here we can probably fit in

three but I'll get to all that but you

really want to pick the right area when

you get started and keep in mind that if

you have trees around you make sure you

check to see how the Sun tracks in your

yard and onto your garden imagining the

trees have leaves all right let's get to

the planting a lot of times when you're

thinking about gardening you think you

have to do a lot of digging and you

don't have to do as much as you think

especially if you're preparing a little

bit of a raised bed or just start with a

small space just like this this

is plenty to get a lot of tomatoes

peppers cucumbers and different

vegetables and herbs you know to your

kitchen table so I just turned this

space over I was just gonna leave it but

just turn it over a couple of inches you

know three four inches turn the greenery

over and you can see that their soil is

naturally like this it's a nice looking

soil and they've already added a lot of

different potting mix you don't have to

use potting mix in here you're going to

use the garden soil and the differences

garden soil will cost you less money

when you go to Home Depot are places

like that and then you're just gonna

press and you can see all the black ants

that have been living in here if you do

put down cardboard a lot of insects will

be under there you know it's not a

problem once you disturb it they go away

but you could really go to a fresh area

cover it up with cardboard weighted down

you know wait four weeks six weeks it

will kill out all the grass before you

make turning the ground over much easier

so we're going to actually just put this

straight down pull earth onto this and

then we'll do it like a tomato right

here we're just gonna dig a hole put the

resources there put the plant in same

thing with another one over there and

when this is wet you can cut through

this like nothing and it will suppress

the weeds it will decay it will go into

the earth just make sure you use a basic

cardboard they usually have no chemicals

or problems or anything like that and

then next year when you come back here

you'll turn over your ground and you

know mix it together that way so let me

get to that I move the stones a little

bit to space them out better so this is

technically a raised mound raised bed

and it was actually potting mix in there

all those white specks are perlite so

it's really good soil in there I just

had to kind of fluff it up and spread it

out might not even need to put straight

bags of the garden soil into there to

raise it up you might have to so if they

didn't put in all this really good

container mix you might have to drop in

two bags those are two cubic foot bags

maybe three bags into your garden area

and just mix it all the way through mix

it in about four to six inches you

always want to blend any new garden soil

you bring to your garden with the garden

soil that's there and you just

blend it together and that's so that

when it rains the water flows evenly

from the top of the soil all the way

down into the earth sometimes if you

layer different soils the water runs off

in a funny way so I'm going to use this

garden soil because there's so much

there for the specific planting of each

plant and I'll show you how to do that

and that's again a way to conserve

resources weeding was really easy just

go and pull out any clumps that you feel

like our best pulled out by hand I just

tossed them over there and then just

turn the rest under it's okay let's get

to planting the peppers so these are two

bell peppers that are good to go and

actually one of them is the jalapeno the

other one is an orange bell in the back

and then behind there will be a green

bell pepper and you can mix hot peppers

and sweet peppers next to each other

they don't cross-pollinate for this year

creating you know a bell pepper that

you're gonna eat that's gonna be hot

that really comes for the seeds for the

following planting so feel free to plant

sweet and hot peppers next to each other

so we dig a hole about that wide eight

inches deep and as I got past the

potting mix I got down to the regular

soil it's kind of heavy so that's what

we're gonna want to loosen up it also

found a lot of stones so that's why they

are kind of raising the bed up this is a

five for six NPK you really just want to

stay around the five five five if some

of the numbers are lower that's

perfectly fine

one tablespoon two tablespoons that will

set up the depth of the hole for the

root systems to grow into and this is

what you're really doing is you're

taking the time now to prepare the whole

well and just get in there and then mix

that into the top three inches or so and

this is where because they have

container mix that could certainly bring

that in but if you had a heavier soil or

needed to here's the bag stuff you're

just gonna pull that into there again

always mix

your soils together your earth soil your

bag products just blend them nicely and

again I'm doing this right-handed so you

can see next step is dropping the pepper

you can go to about here on the pepper

plant peppers will actually root out a

little bit and the spacing we're giving

them is 1 foot I've done a lot of videos

on the spacing of peppers and they can

actually be planted a lot more closely

together than you think so that will

actually set up that pepper plant just

like that let me get to this setting it

up the same way the peppers are in about

12 inches to 18 inches apart and

actually thought that I got two green

peppers I mean one green pepper but I

actually got two jalapenos so the

peppers in the back of jalapenos the

peppers in the front are the orange bell

on the right and the sweet banana and

you can see the sweet banana that I

bought actually had two plants growing

out of there you can do that with

peppers you can put two plants actually

in one space so they'll get a nice mix

of sweet peppers and hot peppers coming

over here I'm going to try and put in

three tomatoes and if you're just

starting to would be fine the two right

there are cherry type Tomatoes they're

indeterminate varieties indeterminate

varieties mean these Tomatoes will grow

until frost or disease takes them so

they're going to get six seven eight

feet high so if you're just getting


probably one cherry tomato right in

there and then another indeterminate

varieties over there now what's the

difference the cherries are the small

you know cherry type Tomatoes you get in

salads this is an indeterminate variety

also it's good to grow as tall and it's

a better boy but these are about a

little smaller than baseball size some

more for slicing and that would go right

there so you put one tomato there about

two to three feet over another one there

but I'm gonna space them out like this

wanted to show you the hole so if you

put cardboard down and then you put your

purchase soil on top or other earth soil

from your yard this will keep the weeds

out it's good at decay but when I stuck

the shovel in it just cuts really easily

so I'm gonna prepare this hole just like

I did with the peppers when you plant a


you can bury about a quarter of the stem

so these are gonna look a little bit

smaller in the hole and roots will

actually come out of here so let me get

the tomatoes in and then we'll get to

top dressing staking and then also

seeding the cilantro basil and dill

right in you can check out my youtube

channel for more details on planting

tomatoes peppers and other vegetables

but I thought since I'm actually doing

this as the first bed I'd show you how

to do it pinch off the leaves about a

quarter inch down doing this without a

tripod and then gently drop out the

tomato and we're going to plant it so

that the level of the raised bed gets to

about here close to that just like that

we set the soil up the same way two

tablespoons of the organic fertilizer

and just gently fill around it this is

the same way that I did the pepper once

you put it in there and you got your

tomato in press it down around the root

ball nice and firm bringing some more

soil and that's all you need to do to

get your tomato planted it's not

difficult at all and I really encourage

you to go ahead and try having a small

space earth bed garden you'll really

really enjoy it and even if things don't

go well you're still gonna get a lot of

production out of your garden so I

actually I wanted the sweet million over

there but for the sake of the example I

pulled it over here so this is going to

be a cherry tomato and then I'm gonna

figure out where to put the other two

but I'll get them into the ground and

show you that shortly now it's okay to

change up your plan a little bit so I'm

changing the garden based on the space

and the number of plants I'm trying to

get in there tomato plants will get

large so for instance the tomato I have

right there is it gonna have space

behind it for air to circulate behind it

and all around here so you want at least

a two feet three foot space around it

you can pack them closer if you want if

you have a little more experience and

you're gonna do some pruning and take

care of the plants but I'm trying to

make this how I would set it up if

you're just getting started now this is

called a tidy treat it's a cherry tomato

again and it says compact so it's not

gonna get quite as big I'm gonna put it

here with a little bit less space behind

it but this is gonna be one tomato plant

that's going to take up this whole space

so nothing is gonna go over here but the

tomato plant and again you set it up the

same way this actually split off into

two main stems but I removed the leaves

here and then I'm just gonna plant to

about there to look like two plants

coming out so I have to raise it a

little bit to do that just set it in and

then move the dirt the soil right to

your plant press it in

you want it to be nice and firm around

the plant so the root system anchors in

to the earth and that's the other one

that's set up now the third one's going

to go right here and it'll grow with the

shed behind it and then the herbs are

going to go right in the run seed

they're good to grow quickly they're

warm weather plants they're good a

flower when they flower you pull them

out and you recede so they're going to

all be growing right in here for you

know easy access for cooking with with

them and then the oregano is a perennial

that's not going to die off that's going

to come back year after year so I'm

going to figure out where I can tuck it

in here where it can just grow year

after year so I'm going to put in the

oregano and actually I was walking

around the yard found this from the

previous owners that those are chives

chives are pretty much indestructible

and you can't kill them so if you heart

just getting started

plant some chives they will come back

year after year and they're absolutely

delicious with your tomatoes and

cucumber salads and I actually thought

for a minute that I was going to be able

to put a cucumber plant in here and even

after doing this for 20 years sometimes

I still get overly ambitious for the

space about two tablespoons right into


this soil is pretty loose now of course

we were kind of blessed there was all

this potting mix in here but you would

do the basically the same thing I'm

doing here for the herbs they don't need

as much setup as the peppers and the

tomatoes but you were putting your

garden soil right into here fill up the

raised bed mix it through and then it's

going to be nice and loose and all you

do is one to two tablespoons of the

fertilizer and then just press the

oregano in really nicely that's all

right if the Lees of the roots get a

little bit smashed but you don't want it

to be too fluffy there's plenty of air

space in here for the root system and

this is where the oregano will grow you

do the same thing

space it out a little bit more for the

chives these plants don't take over you

can always trim them back year after


dig a hole one to two tablespoons of the

organic fertilizer drop it in and you

can see you don't really need to worry

about planting chives they will take off

now that they're in the ground all right

let's get to planting the seeds there

okay that Basil's good to go right in

here it loves the Sun and it's going to

be to the front of the garden because

behind me is where the Sun sets most of

the time now again remember don't go and

buy the basil transplants are gonna be

like three bucks a plant I was like only

a dollar sixty for a bunch of seeds so

to set up the area you don't need to put

in any fertilizer but you want to press

the area down you want it to be nice and

firm all the way across you don't want

the little seeds to drop way down to

deep about 25 seeds 20-25 seeds and just

sprinkle them into this space and then

you're just going to mix them down


half an inch deep the soil is really

loose they're gonna grow up through

there and then just pull in some other

soil every seat doesn't have to come up

you only need about five or six in there

Pat it down and this would get watered

in and again if you check out my channel

I'll talk more about water soluble

fertilizers and how you use those in

your garden but for now these will do

perfectly fine just like that watered in

now once they come up once they break

the surface once they germinate every

two to three weeks

droppin more basil seeds in a different

place because these are good to grow and

then when they get to height they're

gonna flower the flavor changes and

that's when you want to pull them out so

two to three weeks after the germinate

put some seeds in some other places

all right cilantro and same idea for the

dill it's just gonna go in here pressed

it down about twenty or thirty seeds and

just sprinkle them in all over mix

everything up nicely about half an inch

deep quarter-inch deep it doesn't really

matter and then press them in dill grows

quickly now when these all come up if

there's a lot of them about every six

inches you want to plant so just thin

them out but the dill is gonna grow here

and it gets quite tall I like to let it

flower and actually collect the seeds

again and if you just let it do that it

will drop seeds and it will come back

year after year but this will be growing

behind the tomatoes you know as the

season progresses the tomatoes will fill

in this area the dill might get blocked

out a little bit but that's what you do

in small spaces but you'll get plenty of

dill production out of here to use in

your garden and then finally the

cilantro going a lot of cilantro right

into the space and sounds are actually

pods so in each one of these are a

couple of cilantro seeds but we're gonna

fill in this whole space sprinkle it

through just like that if you like

cilantro you're gonna want a lot of

cilantro so don't just grow one plant

cuz when you go to pick it you're gonna

probably take the whole plant so put a

lot into this space half an inch down

quarter inch down again the whole area

was pressed in and just Pat it in

watered in and you have plenty of

cilantro and cilantro again will get

tall it's in front of the plants it's

gonna get about this tall when it starts

flowering the flavor changes so again

two to three weeks after this is

germinated you might want to drop seed

in another place and then when this

begins to flower pull it out now like if

you like coriander

that's what cilantro is you save the

seeds I hope I got the name right I

always forget stuff but you can save the

cilantro seeds and use them too in soups

and as an herb differently than the

leaves all right we have dill in the

back cilantro right here

basil over there and now we will get to

the top dressing and thus taking of the

tomatoes and peppers the steaks are in

I'll talk about those in a second you

want peppers and tomatoes to have

something to climb on because the

peppers are a bit fragile when they get

heavy with fruit they're gonna break and

the tomatoes or vines are gonna want to

sprawl all over the ground

so you stake them to control their

growth so about 1 tablespoon of the

organic fertilizer just sprinkle it

around the plant you want to be about

1/2 inches away from the stem scratch it

into the surface the basil I just

planted there it's good to get a little

food and scratch it in so we've got the

granular type fertilizers which are

insoluble check out my videos for more

about that but that means that the soil

light has to break that down before the

N P and K is available to the plant but

that's what you want to do the plants

gotta grow with what NPK is already in

the soil nitrogen phosphorus potassium

and then organic fertilizer will break

down over the weeks and it'll be

available for the plants to grow so all

the peppers will get one tablespoon

sprinkled around like that same with the

tomatoes probably do it around the

planted chives and oregano you don't do

that for seeds that you drop you really

just want to leave the seeds there and

let them grow water soluble fertilizer

you can check out my channel again like

I said and see how you use that so the

stakes bamboo poles these are about 5

feet this is all you really need for a

pepper plant and notice that I angled it

towards the shed the ones over here I

angled out to the left that's just so

that the plants will go out to open

space more sunlight and air can

circulate right through there as the

plant grows you're gonna just take some

string and tie it big loop around the

don't tie it tight against it but just

loop it around like my fingers are I

usually use jute or some kind of twine

and that's all you need to do and as it

grows just tie it to the post if it gets

bigger dropping another post here and

just support your plant now I guess one

of the benefits of coming to a place

that had a garden I was able to find

these these are for hanging plants and I

just dropped that in and secured it you

know down maybe about a foot and the

tomato plant will grow right up that

they also had a tomato cage this three

circle thing is used for caging your

Tomatoes but this will get bigger than

that so I did drop in a bamboo post no

anytime your plant starts getting bigger

you need another post go ahead and drop

something in but this is the space

planted with four peppers oregano chives

three tomato plants basil cilantro and

dill alright so after it's been top

dressed everything staked everything is

planted you're gonna water it in but I

just wanted to show you by doing it this

way it's not that expensive takes a

little bit of work but we concentrated

all the resources right to the planting

hole plenty of fertilizer left I think

this was six or seven dollars a bag four

pounds and there's plenty of left plenty

left you know for this season and for

next season so once you're all planted

you're gonna just want to go and soak in

all the plants the root systems nicely

now for the plants like that I used the

hose that's perfectly fine for the seeds

if I go and put this stream of water on

there I'm gonna splash the seeds

everywhere unearth them you don't want

to do that you need to get a watering

can and just sprinkle water those and

soak them that way you just want a nice

shower on it you don't want this big

stream of water knocking the seeds did

you just put into the ground all over

the place hope you enjoyed the video

let's get back to Maryland and get to

the conclusion and just real quick

you know about an hour and a half's

worth of work whole garden set up for

the cost and time that you put in you

get to get a lot of produce from the

peppers from the tomatoes

you know herbs are expensive you're

growing your own so this is a great way

to have fun and save money I hope you

give it a try