Growing and eating your own vegetables benefits your health by reducing stress through light aerobic exercise and giving you access to fresh food. Spring gardens are grown, tended and harvested during the time of year when the weather is pleasant and the days get longer. The cooler weather keeps pests under control, and most vegetables respond to the extra sunshine. However, you'll need a plan to cover tender warm season vegetable plants such as peppers, tomatoes and squash if there's a late freeze.
Locate an area for your garden that receives at least six hours of sun each day. The area should be level without rocks on top of the ground or beneath the soil surface to a depth of at least 6 inches. For a family of four, a 20-foot by 20-foot area should be sufficient.
Clear area of all weeds and debris and rake smooth. Keep moist and after two weeks remove any other weeds.
Contact your local county agricultural extension office and find out the correct procedure for taking a soil test from your designated garden area. A soil test will recommend amendments such as nitrogen or lime and exactly how much you need to add to have a successful garden. Trying to guess the right amount to add will cost extra money and could damage the soil. The fall is the best time to take a soil test for the spring garden so you have time to prepare the planting area.
Add amendments at rates recommended by the soil test, then cover the area with 2 inches of well-rotted compost. Gently work the amendments and compost into the top 4 inches of soil.
Make rows using the recommended space on the seed packages and plant seeds in each row, keeping soil moist but not wet. Keep garden weed free during the entire growing period until harvest.