Summer is the time to grow fresh vegetables in your back yard. It's easier than you might think to plant and grow seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, onions, peppers, squash, green beans, corn and much more. Growing a vegetable garden is also a good learning experience for children and a way to meet your neighbors when your efforts produce a large harvest of zucchini and other fresh produce you can't eat yourself. The health benefits of eating more fresh vegetables are undisputed and the many dishes you can prepare with your veggies will please everyone who comes to dinner.
Planting and Growing Seasonal Vegetables
Plot out the area that you want to turn into a vegetable garden. Start small: you can grow several plants of several different vegetables in an 8-by-12-foot area. Create a path down the center of your new garden---you won't need to dig amendments into this area and a path will allow you access to your garden without having to step on your amended rows.
Dig compost, peat moss, fallen leaves and other organic materials into your planting area as early in the spring as you can work the ground. For every 10 feet of garden row, add about one 5-gallon bucket full of soil amendments.
Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, spinach and many other vegetables from bedding plants you can purchase at your nursery. To plant seeds, such as green beans, squash, corn, cucumbers, radishes and onions, make a shallow trench with your hoe. Be sure to follow package instructions for the correct depth you should plant various types of seeds.
Water your newly planted bedding plants and seeds thoroughly by running a sprinkler in the garden area for at least 30 minutes. After your initial watering, most vegetables need at least an inch of water about once each week.
Fertilize your plants about one month after planting, using a balanced plant food according to label instructions. Repeat your application of fertilizer once each month until about mid-August.
Treat insect pests such as aphids with a spray of insecticidal soap, available at nurseries. Control tomato hornworms by hand picking or dust your plants with a product called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is a natural soil bacterium sold at nurseries.