beginner's guide to start a vegetable garden, planters, tomato cages, seeds, garden supplies, watsonville california ace hardware

How To Start A Vegetable Garden

Starting a vegetable garden is a fun and fulfilling way to keep your household filled with delicious produce. With a little time and effort, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your seeds sprout. Check out this video featuring Lou Manfredini, demonstrating two effective methods to kickstart your vegetable garden.

Guide to Starting a Vegetable Garden

Depending on your location, using tools like pellet starters and peat pots is especially beneficial. Here in Watsonville, where we enjoy a mild climate, these methods can help you get a jumpstart on your gardening season.

Need some extra inspiration for your vegetable garden? Check out some of the community gardens in Watsonville, including the Carey – Davis Community Garden, located at 37 Davis Avenue, Freedom.

Pellet Seed Starters

Pellet starters are small disks made of peat moss with a divot in the center. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Place Seeds: Carefully place a couple of seeds in each pellet.
  2. Water Lightly: Avoid overwatering by using a spray bottle to mist the pellets and seeds lightly.
  3. Indoor Starting: Pellet starters can be used indoors to protect them from chilly mornings.
  4. Greenhouse Effect: Cover the starter with a lid to create a greenhouse effect.
  5. Sunlight: Place the starter in the sun or use a grow light.
  6. Transplanting: Once the plants begin to grow, transfer the entire disk into your outdoor vegetable garden.

Pot Seed Starters

Peat pots are another excellent option. They decompose naturally in the garden, making transplantation easy:

  1. Fill with Soil: Add garden soil to the pot.
  2. Plant Seeds: Sprinkle seeds into the pot and cover with a thin layer of soil.
  3. Indoor or Outdoor: Start the pots indoors just like pellet starters, placing them by a window or under a grow light.
  4. Watering: Pot starters need a bit more water due to the increased soil volume.
  5. Transplanting: Once the plants grow, dig a small hole outside, place the entire peat pot in the soil, and cover the sides with dirt.

Marking Your Garden

To keep track of your plants, slice open the bottom of the seed packages. After planting, slide the seed pack over a paint stirring stick and secure it with tape or staples to label your vegetables.

Beginner’s Plants

Here are a few easy-to-grow plants for beginners:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are easy to grow and yield plenty of fruit. Ensure the soil is loose and plant them 6-8 inches apart. When the plant reaches 12-16 inches, use a tomato cage for support.
  • Jalapeños: Start these indoors if you live in a colder climate. Plant seeds about a quarter-inch deep and space them 6-8 inches apart. Jalapeños and tomatoes can be planted next to each other as they do not compete for resources.
  • Cilantro: Start cilantro indoors using peat pots, spacing them 6-12 inches apart. Ensure the cilantro has hardened off before transplanting outside. Protect young plants from the elements with a screen until they are stronger.


For all your gardening supplies, visit your local Ace Hardware at 451 Main St, Watsonville, CA. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you find everything you need to start a vegetable garden. Whether you need pellet starters, peat pots, garden soil, or advice, Ace Hardware in Watsonville has you covered.

Happy gardening, Watsonville! Get started today and enjoy the bounty of fresh produce from your very own vegetable garden.

For more gardening tips and supplies, visit Ace Hardware’s gardening section.

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