Growing your own vegetables is a healthy way for you and your family to get the nutrition you need. It is not only convenient to have fresh vegetables readily available, it is also economical and safe. If you prepare the garden site by removing debris such as rocks, sticks and weeds in a level area that receives ample sunlight for the vegetables you plan to grow, you are well on your way.
Break the ground with a tiller or hoe. The fall season is the optimal time for this action due to drier soil. If you are breaking ground in the spring, make sure the soil is not wet. Tilled wet soil will become too compact when dry and make growing plants difficult. Add organic fertilizer such as composted cow manure to your freshly tilled soil and work in with a hoe. Ideally, this should be done at least a week prior to planting to allow the nutrients of the fertilizer to absorb into the area.
Choose vegetable seeds over the Internet or at a local nursery. You will have the most success with fresh seeds, so check the cultivar date on the seed package. Chemically treated seeds are a good choice to avoid organisms that can cause the seeds to rot in the ground.
Determine a planting schedule by reviewing the information on the seed packaging. For instance, cabbage, broccoli and asparagus should be planted in cooler months such as March and April. Other vegetables such as tomatoes need to be planted after the danger of frost is over. Use a monthly calendar to keep track of your schedule.
Sow your seeds in either rows or raised mounds. The individual seed packaging provides a good reference for which is better, as well as the spacing requirements. For example, cabbage plants grow best in rows, while squash is best suited to raised mounds. Although the actual plants may need to be approximately 18-24 inches apart, plant the seeds thicker at first just in case they all do not germinate. Thin the excess later. Insert each seed no deeper than three times its size. If you plant too deep, the sprouts may not be able to push through the earth. If you plant too shallow, watering may wash them away.
Fertilize your newly planted garden with a water-soluble starter fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is designed to work directly on the plant or seeds and gives them an extra boost to facilitate growth. Follow the manufacturer's mixing instructions, which is normally 2 tablespoons per one gallon of water.