Vegetables grow almost anywhere with adequate sun and water. Stick vegetables in between perennials and annuals in the flower garden. Some vegetables, such as chard, kale, parsley, beets, lettuce and spinach, can be grown as a border to a flower garden. Vegetables that grow to 4 or 5 feet in height, such as tomatoes, need more space and do well in a separate vegetable garden area. A trellis or wire supports between two poles is needed by vine plants such as peas and pole beans, which grow anywhere there is 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.
Choose seeds or started plants appropriate for the current growing season. In late summer and fall plant vegetables such as lettuces, kale, turnips, beets, herbs, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Plant tomatoes, squash, beans, carrots, peppers, and melons when the soil heats up in late spring. Use organic seeds or plants to ensure environmental safety and reduce chemical contamination. Organic seeds are available at garden centers and by mail-order.
Check the soil. Good growing soil is not hard or compacted. The shovel should go in easily. Add compost to create a healthy, nutrient-rich growing medium. Add 1 shovel-full of compost for each vegetable plant or seed bed area. Compost contains living micro-organisms that provide slow-release food to growing plants.
Companion plant for pest control. Many vegetables provide natural protection against insect pests such as aphids and tomato hornworms. Put parsley near the tomatoes and radishes near peas. Marigold has a beneficial effect on squash plants. Collards keep the diamond back moth away from cabbage. Beans fix the atmospheric nitrogen for neighboring plants. Tall sun-loving plants such as corn provide shade for less sun-tolerant plants such as squash and pumpkins.
Harvest vegetables in 30 to 90 days, depending on the type. Radishes are table-ready in 30 days, beans come to harvest in 50 to 60 days. Lettuces, spinach, kale, chard can be thinned and used in salads when they are 3 to 4 inches in height. Plants such as parsley, basil and zucchini squash produce more abundantly when they are harvested frequently.