image by Quinn Anya: Flickr
Caring for a vegetable garden takes some work, but it is well worth the rewards you can reap. Whether you are planting a small home garden for tomatoes, or plan something more substantial, following a few simple steps will help you get the most out of your vegetable garden. From soil type to sunlight, there is a lot to think about when you plant a garden, but it is a lot easier than it seems. Even if you live in an area with less than ideal growing conditions, it can be done.
Enrich your soil. Most vegetables grow best grown in rich soil. If you have poor soil, add manure or compost and work into the soil to a depth of about 3 or 4 inches before planting anything. Mix high-quality top soil in as well.
Choose vegetables, or varieties of vegetables, that grow well in your climate. Tomatoes can be grown in the desert and in Minnesota, as long as you plant the right kind of tomato.
Plant your garden early in the season. Prepare the soil in advance, and plant just after the last frost for spring planting, and at the end of summer for fall.
Use supports for beans, peas and other climbing vegetables.
Water your vegetable garden regularly. Hot and dry climates need watering more often than wet climates. In a dry climate, water your vegetable garden every other day for five to ten minutes each time. Wet climates need water only about two or three times a week for five minutes each watering.
Pull any weeds as they appear in your garden so they don't crowd out the vegetables. Apply mulch around the base of vegetables to prevent weed growth.
Deter pests from your vegetable garden. Put up fences to keep out rabbits and deer. Pluck off any predatory insects when you see them. Use pesticide as a last resort.
Prepare your garden for winter. Pluck out any short-season plants, such as tomatoes, and cover your garden with mulch to protect any remaining vegetable plants from frost or wind damage.
Add manure or compost to the soil every spring to fertilize the ground and ready it for a new season of planting.