You can purchase certain vegetable plants at the nursery or garden center, such as tomatoes or peppers. However, there is nothing more rewarding and basic to life than growing your vegetables directly from seeds. For your first vegetable garden, choose vegetables that your family already enjoys eating. Start small the first time out, until you can see how much time you have to spend with your vegetable garden.
Choose an area in your backyard that receives sunshine most of the day. Mark off the area with the pointed edge of a hoe.
Dig up the soil, with a shovel, inside your marked garden area. Go down about 18 inches into the ground. Break any clumped soil. Remove weeds, rocks, roots or any litter.
Rake the broken up soil until it is even.
Pour about 2 inches of compost over the top of the raked soil. Work it into the garden soil. Rake the area even again.
Consider the seeds you've chosen. Most will be planted in rows. However, some will be planted in mounds, such as summer squash or melons. If you have chosen one or more of these vegetables, create the mounds first. The corners of your garden are the best location for these.
Create mounds that are approximately a foot in height and 3 feet across. Pile soil with your shovel to do this. Space any additional mounds, rows or obstructions to be 3 feet away in all directions. Use your hoe to make an indentation of 4 inches all the way around the mound.
Make garden rows with your hoe in the rest of the garden plot. The rows should go east to west, so your vegetables will receive the most sun without shading from other plants.
Use your hoe to draw a line across the garden, about 4 inches deep. Let the soil fall to the inside. Make another line about a foot away, parallel to the first line. Let the soil fall to the inside, making a long mound-type row. Repeat this process throughout the garden.
Plan your garden vegetable planting. The vegetables that will grow the tallest must be on the north end. The medium-height plants should be in the middle, toward the south. The smallest plants should be on the south side of the garden.
Read all the instructions, for each type of vegetable, on the back of the seed packet. Each type of vegetable requires different seed planting depth and spacing. Poke holes in the top of the row mounds with the end of a pencil and drop the seed in. Cover the hole with soil.
Sprinkle the seeded soil, gently, with water. If the sprinkling is too harsh, the seeds could be unearthed and wash away. Moisten the soil once a day. If your location is very dry and hot, the seeds may require additional watering.