University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources while in-person events and classes are canceled.

Extension > Extension in your Community > Douglas > County Horticulture Educator > Articles > Growing Vegetables

print icon email icon share icon

Growing Vegetables

The pride of many a Minnesotan’s garden is their vegetable patch. Carefully tended tomatoes, broccoli, and corn make for a summer feast and often feed families well into the winter months. Planting a vegetable garden is a rewarding experience. With careful planning and preparation, (and a little luck) you can have an excellent harvest.


Timing is everything in the vegetable garden. Planting seeds or plants at the right time is the first step to a bountiful harvest. Each crop has its own needs, including light, water, and temperature. Before you decide on your vegetables, consider the following:

  • Soil: Choose a garden site with deep, medium-textured, well-drained, nearly level soil. If this is a new garden, be sure to have your soil tested before you plant to determine the level of fertility in your garden bed.
  • Light: Most garden vegetables require six hours of sunlight or more per day to produce well. The more the garden is shaded, the slower the vegetables will grow and the lower their yields will be.
  • Water: Make sure your garden site is close to a water supply.  Supplemental irrigation for gardens is usually necessary, especially during the hottest summer months.
  • Temperature: Each crop has its own needs, including tolerance of cold temperatures. Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map ( to the hardiness zone in your location.


For more information about vegetable gardening, join the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners at their spring horticulture education day, Let’s Get Growing, April 4, 2020, from 8:00-3:30 at Discovery Middle School, Alexandria, MN.

  • Not Your Grandma’s Veggies, presented by Master Gardener Sara Thronsedt, will expand your veggie horizon beyond the world of corn, peas, and beans. Learn about interesting and unique vegetables to grow in your garden. 
  • Perennial Vegetables, presented by Master Gardener Bill Cook, Professor of Biological Sciences, SCSU. Most Minnesota gardeners think that other than asparagus and rhubarb, all backyard vegetables must be replanted every year. In fact, there is a surprising list of perennial vegetables, which are hardy, taste great, and are not generally known because they are not appropriate for large-scale production. In this class, we will cover several categories of perennial vegetables including tubers, spring shoots, and leaf crops.
  • Introduction to Growing Vegetables in Containers, presented by Christy Marsden, UMN Extension Horticulture Educator. Who says you need a yard to grow a vegetable garden? Learn how to grow vegetables in containers no matter where you live. Christy Marsden will cover the basics of growing vegetables in containers, including an overview of how to choose the best containers, soil, and plants to grow.
  • Growing and Enjoying Garlic, Leeks, Onions and Shallots, presented by Master Gardener, Carol Strong. This presentation describes the many flavorful and beautiful varieties available. Information includes what to consider when selecting which garlic types to grow, options and best practices for planting, storage and use.


For more information, visit:, or contact University of Minnesota Extension, Douglas County, at 320-762-3890.  You can also register online at . Hope to see you there!