Grow enough vegetables for yourself and a small family in a surprisingly small area. When you use a method such as the French Intensive double digging technique of creating rich raised beds, you can grow more vegetables in less space. Managing a relatively small vegetable garden can be as easy as spreading a layer of compost on the ground and spraying insects with a spray made from soap. You can save time when you water your vegetable garden by installing drip irrigation or soaker hoses.
Measure beds for your vegetable plot in sunny areas of your yard: they needn’t be adjacent to each other but can add interest to your yard when you build them in various places. A good size for beds is 4 feet wide by 8 or 10 feet long: this allows you to reach into the center of the bed without stepping on the soil. Mark the borders of your beds by sprinkling white flour on the soil. Pull any weeds or other unwanted plants.
Spread about 3 or 4 inches of organic compost and other organic materials such as fallen leaves and grass clippings on top of the soil in your marked beds. Then turn it under with your shovel, digging down twice the length of the shovel head.
Plant your vegetable plants or seeds closer together than you might see recommended for other types of garden beds. Then spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or other mulch around the base of each plant, which will nourish your plants and keep the soil moist. Water the area well with a sprinkler for 20 to 30 minutes and water again when the soil surface begins to dry: this might take several days to one week, depending on the weather.
Fertilize your vegetable plants one month after you plant them and at monthly intervals until mid August. You can use any balanced plant food recommended for vegetables or use organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or worm castings.
Watch for ants on your plants because they carry destructive insects such as aphids, whose sweet excretion the ants eat. Spray ant-infested plants with a sharp stream of water to knock off these insects and the other insects they have introduced. Then spray your affected plants with 1 tbsp. of dishwashing liquid soap mixed with 1 qt. of water. You can also keep ants away by surrounding your plants with cornmeal or diatomaceous earth. A mulch of cedar chips will repel ants.
Construct a drip irrigation system to save time watering. An easy watering method uses soaker hoses that you snake throughout your garden.