Wondering about growing a vegetable garden but you aren’t sure if you can do it? You can! It’s really much easier than you might imagine and there are many opportunities to get help in growing a vegetable garden.
One of the first concerns many beginners have is how to plant vegetables. The answer depends on a couple of factors, particularly whether you are planting from seed or from starter plants (or both). Here’s some critical information on planting vegetables in both formats:
Planting Vegetables from Seeds
When planting any seeds in soil, you need to make sure that the soil is prepared first (peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite blended make a great starter soil). The timing of planting your seeds indoors depends on when you want to put them outdoors but as a general rule you’ll want a lead time of a few weeks before you plan to put them outdoors. If you are sowing your seeds indoors to begin with, you can place rich soil in small (4 inch) containers and place several seeds in each container, just barely under the soil. Water gently.
Once the seeds have developed two sets of leaves, they can be separated and transplanted into individual pots filled with healthy potting mix that has been watered and allowed to drain. Gently pull apart the soil ball until the roots become exposed. If necessary, used a toothpick or fork to gently separate the delicate roots, or use your fingers. Make sure to give your seedlings sunshine and warmth, or fluorescent lights if there isn’t enough sun.
After the weather has warmed and you are certain that the last frost has come, transplant the seedlings to prepared soil outdoors. If the weather turns cold unexpectedly, have blankets ready to cover your little plants until they are secure.
Planting Vegetables Outdoors
When you plant your vegetable seeds directly outdoors into the ground, particularly for easy to grow vegetables such as carrots or radishes, you need to begin by preparing the soil. Loosen the soil with a tiller or shovel, then add fertilizer and/or compost in order to provide the nutrients that your vegetables will need. Be sure to water the soil a few days prior to planting, unless there is already rain. Perfect soil for planting is not soggy, but should be moist.
After your soil is ready, make little furrow areas for your seeds, based upon the directions on your seed packets. If you are able to lay rows from North to South, you’ll assure that your rows get equal sunshine. Space seeds according to packet directions, scattering pinches as evenly as you can. Then water gently and cover with soil. Keep seeds watered daily (pay attention to rainfall in order to keep from over-watering) and thin out seedlings that seem to be growing too close together. Thinning should happen when plants have two sets of leaves.
Once you have planted your vegetable seedlings in the garden, you’ll want to make sure they are watered appropriately, with about 1 inch of water per week (depending on the climate you are in). At this point, most of your work is done. You just need to keep the weeds at bay and then get ready to enjoy your vegetable harvest!