Vegetable gardens are a fun and simple way to grow your own food and save money while doing it. Vegetables can be started from seed; you can find vegetable seeds in packets at garden centers and many other retail stores. Planting vegetable seeds in the garden requires a series of steps done in proper order to ensure a successful crop.
Prepare the Ground
Plant the garden on the southern side of your house if possible so that it gains the most sunlight during the day. Avoid planting near trees or shrubs so the area will not be too shady. Situate the garden away from areas where standing water collects, to avoid root rot.
Break up the soil in the garden area. Use a claw rake or rototiller for best results. Turn the soil so that it is loose to a depth of 6 inches minimum. This will ensure the roots can grow and get air and nutrients. This will also aid in planting the vegetable seeds.
Remove the grass from the area. Dig up clumps of grass and shake them vigorously to get the soil loose from the roots. Discard the grass.
Use the leaf rake in a gently pulling motion, pulling it towards you to remove any remaining weeds and rocks. This will also even out the ground, making it easier to plant the vegetable seeds.
Use the shovel to add two inches of compost or mulch on top of the soil. Make sure the entire area is covered. Do not add more than this as it will over-fertilize the ground. Use the claw rake to work the compost or mulch into the soil thoroughly. Aim for a mix of 20 percent compost and 80 percent soil.
Plant the Seeds
Read the seed packets before opening them. The planting directions on the back of the packets will tell you how deep to plant seeds, how far apart to plant seeds, how many seeds to plant together and how long the plants will take to grow. The packets also tell you when the optimal planting time is.
Create the planting space. Build hills up to 3 inches high for vegetables such as cucumbers, potatoes and squash. Use a hoe to create a row for vegetables such as carrots, peas, radish, onion and herbs; dig the rows up to 2 inches deep depending on the directions on the seed packet. Dig holes with the garden shovel for vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, peas and bush beans; use this method for plants that are already started.
Plant the vegetable seeds in the hole, row or hill created for them. Plant the seeds according to the directions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds with the soil left around the hole. Tamp down the soil so the seeds do not get eaten or blown away.
Water the soil, using the sprinkler or watering can, until it is moist but not wet. Don't over-water because this can drown the seeds before they can germinate.
Place a stick at the beginning of each row, in the center of the hills, or in front of the bush plants. Set the sticks deeply enough so they'll stay put. Place the seed packet for each vegetable over the stick so that you'll know what you've planted.