Starting your first garden begins with planning in the off season. Decide what you want to grow, where to grow it and how to prepare the area for planting. Your first garden will be a success if you take the time to nurture it throughout the growing season. Growing your first garden is a rewarding experience.
Make a list of what you want to grow in your garden. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans are staples in many kitchens. Grow what you know you use frequently.
Purchase seeds for your chosen vegetables, ideally in packets that include planting instructions on the back. Some seeds like tomatoes and peppers should be started indoors several weeks before the last spring frost. The majority of your other vegetable seeds are planted directly in your garden after the spring frost.
Locate an area in your yard to make your garden---and determine how much sun your plants need by reading the planting instructions on the seed packets. Most vegetable gardens are located in an area that gets full sunlight during the day. Determine how much space you will need based on the planting instructions for your seeds.
Prepare the soil for your garden by tilling the earth at least 2 feet deep. Tillers are available for rent at most hardware stores for the weekend or by the day. Loosen the packed soil so that your seeds will sprout and plants can develop strong root systems.
Add a 2-inch layer of compost or other organic soil to the top of your garden plot. The compost contains nutrients vital for your new plants.
Start seeds such as tomatoes and peppers indoors before the planting season begins. The seed packages outline exactly how to start seeds and sprout them for planting outside later. Most seeds are placed in starter pots and set inside a windowsill.
Watch the weather reports and review the seed instructions for when you should plant outdoors. Usually most seeds are sown after the last frost of spring. The actual time of year will vary depending on your geographical location and the weather.
Sow seeds and seedlings into the garden as indicated on the seed packets. Some plants are sown in rows while others require mounds. Use your garden hand tools to dig and cover your seeds and plant seedlings.
Water your garden on a regular basis. All garden plants need an abundant supply of water to maintain health and promote growth. Do not over-water your garden, as this can cause root rot. Generally, the soil should be moist about 1 inch down. Spray the garden using a water hose or a garden-hose sprinkler. Water plants in the morning before the sun is directly over the garden. Watering at midday tends to burn plants and watering at night invites insects.
Remove weeds weekly from your new garden. Weeds take nutrients away from your garden plants. By pulling the weeds out and discarding them, your garden will stay healthy and bountiful.