How to Plant a Successful Garden


A flourishing garden does not just happen automatically, without effort. It takes several very important steps and various factors to plant a successful garden. One that will grow, thrive and produce requires your attention long before you place that first plant in the soil. Taking the required time to plan, ready the soil and learn all you need to know about your specific garden needs will give you much higher chances of having a successful garden.

Step 1

Choose the right location. Find an area clear of trees and buildings with plenty of sun throughout the day. It should also be near a water supply and be well draining.

Step 2

Make your garden an easily manageable size. Consider installing a fence around the perimeter to protect your garden from wildlife and pets.

Step 3

Create an actual drawing of the garden including what types of plants you want and where you will plant each. Understand the spacing required for each plant and plan for it.

Step 4

Ready the soil for your garden in the spring as soon as you can work with it. Loosen the soil and remove any roots, rocks or other debris to a depth of 1 to 1 ½ feet. Do this with a shovel, hoe, digging fork or rototiller.

Step 5

Add organic matter such as compost, manure, rotted leaves, peat moss and alike to the soil. Use a shovel to add 3-4 inches of matter to the area selected. Mix it into the top 4-6 inches of soil. Add fertilizer as needed for your area (see Tips).

Step 6

Know when you should plant each type of plant. Many garden plants require spring plantings, but several others call for warmer plantings. Learn about the specific plants you are growing.

Step 7

Use only high quality seeds or starter plants in your garden. Choose ones from a reliable source and varieties that will grow well in your location.

Step 8

Follow the directions for planting and spacing for each specific plant grown. This varies depending on the plants selected. Understand any special requirements, like cages for tomatoes and plan for it.

Step 9

Use a shovel to add 3-4 inches of mulching around your plants to keep weeds away and to retain moisture. Remove any weeds by hand or with a hoe that grow within a foot of your garden plants.

Step 10

Understand the water requirements of your garden plants. Provide adequate water amounts when rainfall does not cover needed amounts. Supply at least 1 inch per week for most plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Organic matter
  • Fertilizer
  • Hoe
  • Digging fork
  • Rototiller (optional)
  • Fencing (optional)
  • Seeds or transplants
  • Mulch
  • Water supply


  • The Farm Organization: How to Plant a Garden
  • Montana State University Extension: Planting a Successful Home Vegetable Garden

Who Can Help

  • Utah State University: Fertilizing for a Successful Garden
  • University of Illinois: Watch Your Garden Grow
Keywords: Planting a garden, Growing plants, Successful garden

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.