Planting and harvesting a bountiful vegetable crop does not require a green thumb or a degree in horticulture. What seems like an intimidating undertaking can be made simple with a few tricks of the trade. Learn a few tried-and-true vegetable-planting tips to make growing a veggie garden easy and enjoyable.
Choosing Vegetable Plants
This is perhaps the most important part of vegetable gardening, especially if you are a beginner. Choose plants that are easy to cultivate and care for, like tomatoes and potatoes. Squash is also an excellent choice for a beginner gardener. Plants like these need little care and attention, and require little more than watering, weeding and an occasional dose of fertilizer. Harvesting these types of plants is also a breeze since they require no tools or machinery and can be picked by hand. Find out which vegetables to plant in your area by checking gardening publications or attending a gardening seminar.
Vegetable Planting Dates
When planting a vegetable garden, it's especially important to adhere to the planting date. Vegetables require planting within a specific timeframe, depending upon where the garden is located. Planting dates can be found by checking the USDA hardiness zones map. This map shows which vegetables grow best in which locations and the appropriate months for planting. The USDA hardiness zones map can be found online and in many gardening publications. When to plant vegetables also depends on whether the plants will be started indoors or outdoors. For indoor planting, the dates will be different. Indoor planting can begin virtually anytime.
Vegetable Planting Conditions
Vegetables require certain conditions for planting. Depending on the type of vegetable to be planted, things to consider include plant spacing, planting depth and sun/shade preference. Plant spacing is very important in allowing the plant the room it needs to develop and grow to maturity. Plants like tomatoes and potatoes grow very bushy foliage and need room to spread. If vegetables are planted too close together, the plants can crowd each other and decrease crop production. Planting vegetables at the appropriate depth allows the roots to take hold and develop a strong hold within the soil. A hardy root structure is the beginning of a healthy vegetable plant. Know which vegetables prefer sun and which vegetables prefer shade. Although this consideration must be taken with any type of plant, it is especially important for vegetable plants. Vegetables are especially reliant upon the sun for proper plant production. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are sun-lovers and grow best in the hot, steady sun. Swiss chard, arugula and endive are shade-tolerant vegetables that do not require full sun and do well in the shade. Most plants purchased from a garden store or center come with instructions detailing the best planting conditions.