Planting a vegetable garden at home is economical and a good way to know exactly what you are eating. With a popular emphasis on organic foods, if you grow your own, you can be sure that nothing is used in the growing process that you find undesirable. It's also a healthy activity to share with your children and teaches them good eating habits. After all, there is something very special and enjoyable about eating food that you grow yourself. If you get lucky, you will grow too much and be able to freeze the extra for the winter months.
Choose a location that receives a lot of sun and has well-drained soil as your garden spot. Remove loose rocks and sticks. Cultivate the soil in your chosen garden spot by adding organic matter such as a compost mixture or manure as you spade or till the area. Only do this when the soil is dry. The fall season is a good time for tilling in most areas of the country.
Purchase your vegetable seeds. Keep in mind that not all vegetables can be planted at the same time. Some vegetables, such as cabbage, need to be planted in the cooler months while others, like tomatoes, need warmer soil and air. If you have chosen vegetable plants that climb, such as pole beans, it is best to provide a trellis or other type of support system for them to grow up. This also helps to maximize your gardening space, allowing for more planting on the ground.
Plant your seeds in a straight row when possible to make harvesting and weed control easier. The seeds should be planted deep enough so as not to wash away with the rain, but not so deep that they will sprout and die because they're not strong enough to break through too much earth. For example, if a seed is ¼ inch in size, plant it no more than 1 inch deep. Plant more seeds than you need to compensate for the seeds that will not germinate. If too many come up, thin the rows by plucking up every other plant very early. Some of the most popular vegetables for a home garden include tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. All of these should have 18 to 24 inches between each other, but each vegetable is different so be sure to follow the seed manufacturer's recommendations for spacing.
Fertilize your new plants with 1 cup of a starter fertilizer as soon as planted. A typical solution involves 2 tbsp. of a general purpose, water-soluble fertilizer mixed with one gallon of water. If you find that damaging insects such as the Japanese beetle are invading your garden, use an all-purpose pesticide as soon as possible to avoid having your vegetables destroyed.