Despite the short New England growing season, Connecticut vegetable gardeners can grow a variety of warm and cool season crops. Prepare the garden for planting in early spring, then plant vegetables in two waves. Get cool season vegetables in the ground before the last frost date, then start warm season vegetables after the last frost date. Start vegetables from seed or purchase plantings to get your garden started quickly.
Turn the soil over with a shovel to prepare the garden for planting. Dig down as deep as you can to loosen the earth. Remove rocks, weeds and roots from the soil before planting. Break apart any soil clods.
Scatter a 2-inch layer of compost or manure across the garden bed. This increases the nutrient content of the soil. Turn the compost or manure into the soil using the shovel. Once you've finished, rake the garden bed to even out the soil.
Plant cool season crops--such as lettuce, peas, onions or broccoli--once the soil is prepared. Sow these plants from seed or by buying a vegetable start; choose varieties recommended for planting in Connecticut. Plant seeds or starts using the spacing guidelines suggested by the seed packet or plant tag. Water the newly planted seeds or plants until the soil becomes saturated.
Wait until all frost danger passes for Connecticut--typically sometime in May--to plant warm season crops like tomatoes or eggplants. Plant these vegetables in the same manner as you planted the cool season crops.
Water your vegetable garden whenever the soil becomes dry to the touch. Since Connecticut gets hot summer weather, water in the morning so plants can absorb water before it evaporates from the soil surface.
Weed the vegetable garden routinely. If you've planted from seeds, wait until you can identify the seedlings before you weed; if you are using plantings, weeds will be easy to identify.
Harvest vegetables when they are ripe; harvest leafy greens like lettuce and herbs as you need them. Continue to expand the garden; plant additional warm season crops once you've removed your cool crops; transition back to cool crops in the fall.