Home gardening allows an opportunity for spending time outdoors, while providing fresh, nutritious vegetables for your table. Since most vegetables grow as annuals, vegetable gardens thrive in the majority of climates across the globe. Like all plants, vegetable plants require certain nutrients and elements to survive and flourish. Vegetable gardens grow in a range of spaces from large, rural acreages to small, patio containers. Enjoy your garden harvest by planting and growing the types of vegetables you and your family enjoy eating.
Plant your vegetable seeds and plants at the correct time for your location. Although some types of vegetables, such as peas and potatoes, survive light frosts, the majority of vegetable plants require warm air and soil temperatures to survive in the garden. Wait until after the final frost to plant these vegetables in your garden soil. If you live in a short growing season, start your vegetable seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last anticipated frost of spring. Check the label on your seed packets or small seedlings to determine their temperature requirements. These labels list the correct planting time for each climate zone in the United States, as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture's plant hardiness zone map.
Prepare the soil in a sunny location of your yard or landscape. Remove all existing weeds and vegetation from the site. Use a garden tiller or a shovel to loosen the top 4 to 6 inches of garden soil. Incorporate some compost into heavy clay soils. Well-rotted manure increases the porosity of heavy soils and adds nutrients to poor soils. Rake the surface of your garden site to leave a smooth bed for planting your vegetables.
Place your small plants and sew your seeds into your prepared soil. Allow enough space between each plant to allow for mature height and an additional few inches to ensure adequate amounts of sunlight and airflow around each plant. Dig a small furrow for planting rows of seeds. Check the label on your seed package for the correct depth of the furrow. Most small seeds, such as radishes and carrots, require a depth of about 1/2 inch, while large seeds, such as squash and beans, require about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of soil above them. Space your vegetable seeds evenly in the row and cover with soil. Press down with the palm of your hand to remove small pockets of air. When planting potted seedlings, dig the holes deep enough to allow placement of the surface of the root balls even with the surface of the surrounding garden soil. Water the soil to dampen the area around the seeds and roots.