How to Plant Vegetables at Home

Overview

Growing a home vegetable garden is easy and rewarding. With careful thought and preparation, you can harvest seasonal vegetables that taste better than anything you get from the supermarket or even a local farmer's market. To succeed you need only fertile soil, plants adapted to your region's growing conditions, some water and a bit of care.

Step 1

Select a location that gets full sun, or at least eight hours of sunlight per day, when growing vegetables for their fruit, such as tomatoes. Leaf or stem vegetables can grow successfully with some shade.

Step 2

Clear the site for your home vegetable garden by removing all vegetation using a shovel or garden spade. Turn the soil down at least 6 inches and break-up any clods of dirt.

Step 3

Collect soil from three areas and three depths from the vegetable garden bed. Place in a bag and submit for soil testing--usually done for a small fee by your state's agricultural college or extension service.

Step 4

Use your soil test results to add any amendments necessary to improve your home vegetable garden's soil for consistency, pH, and nutrients. Add composted organic matter and slow-release fertilizer. Rake soil level.

Step 5

Add paths through your vegetable garden bed using wood or stepping-stones so walking through the garden to weed or harvest will not compact the soil around the plants. Alternatively, plan your garden beds in small sections reachable from outside the growing area.

Step 6

Check the best planting dates for your vegetables using a local gardening guide. University extension services are excellent resources for this information. Purchase vegetable transplants or seed packets.

Step 7

Place your plants into the soil with consideration for their mature height and shading. For instance, don't plant tall crops, like corn where they will shade shorter sun-lovers, like peppers. Use a trowel to dig planting holes and broadcast method for seeds. For transplants, dig holes as deep as the plant is in its container. Plant seed vegetables at a depth equal to three times the size of the seed. Firm the soil around the plants or seeds and water.

Step 8

Place stakes around plants that need growing support such as tomatoes, cucumbers and pole beans. Do this right after planting before the roots have spread.

Step 9

Add soaker hoses throughout the vegetable garden beds. Soakers keep water off the plant leaves avoiding some soil-borne or moisture-based diseases. Soakers also lose less moisture to evaporation.

Step 10

Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and control weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Soil collection bag
  • Soil test results
  • Soil amendments
  • Composted organic matter
  • Rake
  • Fertilizer
  • Stepping stone or wood planks
  • Garden planting guide
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Trowel
  • Stakes
  • Soaker hoses

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Starting a Vegetable Garden
  • Earth Easy.com: Backyard Vegetable Garden
  • Iowa State University Extension: Planning a Vegetable Garden (PDF)
Keywords: vegetable gardening, starting vegetable garden, home vegetable garden

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer for four years. Prior experience includes 15 years as a writer, project manager and knowledge analyst in defense systems advanced information. She is acknowledged for contributions to three books: Leadership Elements, Knowledge Acquisition, and State-of-the-Art for KA. Barbara has a masters in psychology from SMU and training in artificial intelligence and project management.