Starting a vegetable garden allows you to grow a variety of fresh vegetables in your own yard. A garden can be as small or as large as you desire and your space allows, though first-time gardeners should usually start small then add more space and plants as they become adept in the garden. Building your veggie garden takes time. It is best to start preparing the planting bed the summer or fall before you plan to start your first vegetable seeds.
Mark out the shape of the garden bed using garden twine and four small stakes. Place a stake in each corner where they bed will be, then tie lengths of twine between each stake. Choose an area that receives full sunlight and isn't prone to puddles or collecting water during rainstorms.
Remove all existing vegetation and debris from the marked garden bed. Pull up any weeds that have seed heads on them and dispose of them, taking care not to spread the seeds if possible.
Lay a 3- to 5-inch layer of mature compost over the entire bed area. Till it in to a 10- to 12-inch depth using a power tiller. Power tillers can be rented from many home improvement and hardware stores. Remove the twine and stakes after tilling, if desired.
Apply 1 lb. of 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer per every 100 square feet of garden bed. Alternately apply 2 lbs. of 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer per 100 square feet. Till it into the soil to a 6-inch depth. Apply fertilizer in the fall prior to the first spring planting in the new bed.
Loosen the soil a final time just prior to planting in spring, using a power tiller or hoe. Sow seeds or seedlings as instructed on the plant tag or seed packet.