If you are about to start your first vegetable garden, you are in for a basic satisfaction that everyone should experience at some time in their life. After all, there is nothing more basic than planting seeds, tending vegetable plants, harvesting and preparing vegetables for your dinner table. A vegetable garden gives you the opportunity to experience the whole cycle of life on a different level. The best part of growing fresh vegetables are the wonderful flavors. The fresh-picked vegetables will far exceed the nutritional value of those in your grocery store that were picked weeks earlier.
Choose the location for your vegetable plot. It should receive full sunshine for the majority of the day.
Dig up the soil, to a depth of 1 foot, with your shovel or with a rented tiller. Remove all the debris, rocks, weeds and twigs. Break up any dirt clods. Rake the area even.
Layer 2 inches of compost on top of the garden plot. Work the compost into the soil with your shovel and/or rake.
Create garden rows with your hoe in an east to west direction. This will ensure the least amount of shadowing on smaller plants from larger ones. Use the corner of the hoe to draw a line, along the outside back of the garden, 3 to 4 inches deep. Let the soil fall to the inside. Repeat another line about a foot parallel to the first row, allowing the soil to fall to the inside. Repeat this process for the rest of the garden rows, with 3 foot paths between them.
Draw up a plan of your vegetable garden. The tallest plants, such as corn, should be in the back row, at the north end. Medium-sized plants should be in the middle and smaller ones in the front, at the south end.
Plant your vegetable seeds in the middle of the rows, where the soil peaks up above the moats (hoe lines). Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for seed planting depth and spacing on the back of the seed packet. Each type of vegetable has different requirements. Gently push soil over the top of the seed hole.
Spray the planted seeds, gently. Continue to spray them every day, until germination (seeds sprout) occurs and until the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall. At that time, you may begin to water directly into the moats, about once a day.
Spray the plants with an organic insecticide, if you notice insects are eating your plants (holes in the leaves).
Pull weeds as soon as you see them. Weeds are fast growing and can get away from you in no time. If you let them go, they will be competing with your vegetables for nutrients and water.