If you've dreamed of having healthier, readily available fresh foods for your family to eat whenever they'd like, you may have started wondering how to plant a vegetable garden. Planting your very own vegetable garden allows you to control whether harmful chemicals are used on the foods you eat, allows you to have fresh vegetables for cooking or eating raw during harvesting season, and saves you money both in the summer and winter, because you can freeze or can the vegetables you grow and use them throughout the year.
Ok, maybe you have dreamed it but now it is time to get educated and learn a few basics of gardening, your life may depend on it.
Planting a vegetable garden is not difficult either, but there are a few steps involved. First you have to plan the location of your vegetable garden, then you need to prepare the soil for your vegetable garden, then you will plant your seeds or starter plants. From then on, it's just a matter of caring for your vegetable plants and keeping the weeds away. And before very long you will find yourself outside picking fresh vegetables right off the vine.
Planning your Vegetable Garden
The first thing you'll need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that location is very important. Vegetables need five to six hours a day of full sunlight, so where you place your vegetable garden plays an important role in how successful that garden will be.
You will also need to plan your space wisely. Depending upon how many vegetables you want to plant, and how much of each vegetable you'd like to be able to harvest, you might find you need quite a bit of room for your vegetable garden. A family of four for instance, generally needs rows of vegetables approximately ten feet long to provide enough harvest for the entire family. So if you want to plant twenty different vegetables, you will need a lot of space. Another thing to consider is to only plant vegetables that you and your family like.
Vegetable gardens can be planted in containers however, so this might be an alternative option for you to consider. Many vegetables can grow in one container too. Your best bet for the first time planting a vegetable garden is to start small. Choose maybe five vegetables to plant for instance, or try planting smaller amounts of many different vegetables.
Preparing your Soil
The next step you will need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that soil preparation is very important. There's a lot to learn in this area, so we won't cover it in detail here. But the basic steps involved with preparing your vegetable garden soil involve turning the soil, and enriching it with compost or other organic matter.
Vegetables need a lot of nutrition to grow well, so the better you prepare the soil before planting, the better chances you have of producing a bountiful crop.
Planting Your Vegetables
The third step in learning how to plant a vegetable garden is the fun part. You will plant your vegetable garden seeds or starter plants in the newly prepared garden soil. Make sure you choose your seeds wisely. There are a lot of vegetable seeds out there that have been genetically modified. Try and choose only heirloom seeds if possible. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically modified and you can gather and store heirloom seeds for next years planting saving you the expense of purchasing seeds for years to come.
Now, if you're planting your vegetables in traditional rows, you'll simply sprinkle seeds along the top of a row, then cover then lightly with a thin layer of soil. If you're using starter seedling plants for your vegetable garden, you will make a slight hole in the top of the row, put your starter plant down in the hole, then pack the mounded soil around it lightly.
Planting vegetables into raised garden beds is done the same way when you're using rows. If you decide you'd like to plant your vegetables in square blocks however, that's easily done in the same ways too. Alternatively, you can randomly place your vegetable plants and seeds, and you will get a more natural growth look from your vegetable garden when the sprouts begin to create leaves and produce.
Make sure you water your soil well during the seed planting or during the transplanting of seedlings.
Try and keep the soil moist without over watering your garden and come harvest time you will enjoy all the fruits of your labor.
Please Note: This is only the very basics to setting up a garden. Upcoming Online Magazine issues will include in depth articles on seed selection, growing, preserving and benefits of specific vegetables, herbs, and grains.