The rising cost of produce, use of pesticides that may be harmful to your family's health, and the unmatched taste of freshly picked vegetables are just three of the reasons you may be considering starting a home vegetable garden. When you garden at home, you control every aspect of vegetable production. An added bonus is that you can grow varieties of vegetables that are found in grocery stores rarely, if ever. If you live in a place where the climate is mild year-round, you can count on fresh produce from your home veggie garden year-round, too.
Start warm-weather vegetable seeds indoors in a flat, about 6 to 8 weeks before the final frost date in your area. Sow according to packet instructions in starter mix in a flat. Water with a spray bottle so you do not disturb the soil or seeds.
Select a sunny location for your vegetable garden. Dig compost in a ratio of 1-to-1 with the soil to a depth of about 12 inches as soon as the soiled has thawed.
Sow cool-weather crops as soon as you are sure there will be no more frost in the spring. Follow seed packet instructions precisely, as all seeds have different planting depth suggestions.
Transplant the warm-weather seedlings outside once the daily low temperatures are consistently 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Gently squeeze the sides of each cell to loosen the plant and soil. Then place in holes in your garden about twice as wide as the width of each root ball. Pat soil into place over the root ball and gently water.
Cover the soil around your seedlings with 3 inches of mulch. Mulch should not come in direct contact with seedlings. Instead, leave a 1- to 2 -nch gap around each seedling that is mulch-free. Using mulch helps retain moisture, maintain constant soil temperature, and deter weeds.
Use stakes, poles, or trellises for climbing, vining plants such as tomatoes and peas. Tie the vines to your chosen support device using old pantyhose cut into strips. Not only are you recycling something you would otherwise throw away, but the used pantyhose is very gentle to your growing plants while still being very strong.
Water your new vegetable garden as consistently as possible. This ensures consistent plant growth. When the days are very hot in your area, you may even want to water twice a day. Never water during the midday hours, as the sun could scorch the dripping plants.