Tight budgets and a desire to eat more healthful foods have turned many folks into weekend vegetable gardeners. You can easily join their ranks with just a small patch of dirt, a few seeds or bedding plants, a little compost and a desire to spend more time outdoors in the warmer months of the year. When you begin your vegetable garden in March or April, you'll enjoy the fruits, or vegetables, of your labor as quickly as one month later if you plant radishes. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, carrots and more will ripen by June.
Planting and Gardening Vegetables
Build your garden area by selecting a spot that receives full sun for six to eight hours each day in the summertime. Measure one or more beds that are about 4 feet by 10 or 12 feet by sprinkling white flour on the perimeter of the area. Weed unwanted plants if necessary. Then spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost on top of the soil and dig it in to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Rake the area level and water it for ½ hour or longer with a sprinkler.
Create rows with your hoe for seeds of plants such as carrots, turnips, zucchini, corn, peas and green beans. Make your rows the correct depth and distance apart for the type of vegetable you plant---their seed packets will give you details. Then plant seeds according to seed packet instructions.
Plant bedding plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and others available in pony packs or small pots at your nursery or garden supply store. Do a little research to learn how deep and how far apart individual vegetable plants should go into the ground. Dig small holes large enough for the roots of your young plants with a trowel and then fill in with additional soil.
Water newly planted areas thoroughly---if you set a sprinkler in the center of the area, let it run for at least 20 minutes. Keep the area damp until seeds sprout or you see signs of growth on bedding plants, then allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings.
Fertilize your growing plants with a balanced fertilizer (for example, 10-10-10) about one month after you plant them. Follow label instructions and do not over fertilize.