How to Grow a Vegetable Garden From Seeds

Overview

Vegetables from seed are great for beginning gardeners, and they not only satisfy that hunger to plant but also provide healthy sustenance for a hungry belly. Some dirt, sunshine, water and seeds are the simple ingredients needed to get started growing your own vegetable garden from seeds.

Step 1

Choose a spot for your garden. It is important to choose ground receiving a minimum eight hours of full sunlight. To determine the size of space needed, a good rule of thumb is to read the backs of your seed packets for spacing information. Depending on the number and type of plants you wish to grow, this will help you determine the size garden needed.

Step 2

Remove grass and other vegetation from your chosen spot. With a spade or shovel, remove any turf to reveal bare soil. Some gardeners choose to apply an all-vegetation-killing spray approximately two weeks before breaking ground. Once this kills any grass and weeds, it is time to remove the remnants and any obvious roots and rocks.

Step 3

Till the soil to a loose, non-clod consistency. This is important as it creates a conducive foundation for the plants' roots to thrive. A minimum depth of six inches is preferable, while some gardeners prefer to "double dig." This 12-inch deep fine soil gives the new roots plenty of elbow room. If you do not own a mechanical tiller, rentals are available at local garden centers and hardware stores. If you prefer not to use motorized equipment, then a hoe-rake and shovel may be used.

Step 4

Amend the soil, then form parallel rows in the garden soil. Before planting, taking a soil sample to your local agricultural extension office to be analyzed will allow them to recommend exactly what amendments your garden may need. If that is not an option, a good rule of thumb is to mix half original garden soil with matching amounts of organic matter such as sphagnum peat moss, bagged manure, planters mix or potting soil. Mix in timed-release fertilizer such as popular sprinkle-from-a- bottle types found in local garden departments. Do not use weed and feed-type fertilizer, advises the University of Minnesota Extension service because "they contain weed killers that will kill vegetable plants." Blend contents to a rich-brown, fine texture and spread evenly over the entire planting area.

Step 5

Make mounded, straight rows from one edge of the plot to the other. Plant seeds according to packet instructions for spacing and depth, as each vegetable has its own specific needs. Perform this in as uniform and organized a manner as possible, so that it will be easy to take care of plants as they grow through various stages---especially as they reach full growth. Most seeds are planted by simply making an indention with your finger into top-center of the mounded rows, dropping the designated amount of seed into the indention and carefully back-covering with soil. Tamp down extremely lightly to secure top soil.

Step 6

Poke label markers into the end of each row, identifying what veggie is planted there--include plant name, variety and date planted. This will help you gauge when to watch for emerging plants according to seed packet germination times and approximate harvest date.

Step 7

Water your garden thoroughly at this stage. Do not drown your newly planted garden, but it will need a thorough deep watering to settle everything into the ground and begin to grow. As per seed instructions, make sure you water as needed. Most plants prefer to be watered at their base as opposed to leaves.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use feline or canine manure to fertilize gardens. They may contain unhealthy organisms. It is best to use commercially packaged manure products from garden centers. When working with any garden tools and implements, be cautious and wear adequate footwear, hand and eye protection to avoid injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable seeds
  • Shovel or spade
  • Tiller or hoe-rake
  • Organic matter for soil amendment
  • Fertilizer
  • Water source

References

  • UTK Agricultural Extension: Growing Vegetables From Seed
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Carrots and Other Root Vegetables in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Your Own
  • Ohio State University Extension: Master Gardener-Vegetables
Keywords: grow vegetables, vegetable gardening, growing edible gardens

About this Author

Sheri Lacker has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, photographer and multimedia artist. Her work has been used by Warner Brothers, Barber/Langley, and Casey Kasem Presents, among others. Her awards include Theatre Excellence Scholarship, Guest-Artist-in-Res, and work with Great Lakes Shakespeare Company while attending Ohio's LCC College. Lacker studied journalism, Web design and historical research at the University of Memphis.