Knowing how to grow a vegetable garden is no tougher than following a few simple techniques.
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden: The Basics
Thoroughly till your soil. This creates an oxygen/nitrogen rich environment, which allows water to permeate the soil. Mound rows to allow excess moisture to run off from seedlings. Flatten the tops of rows to grow straight stems. Plant the seeds and seedlings far enough apart to keep adult plants from crowding and mulch around the plants with dried leaves, straw or sawdust. Avoid pine mulch because insects and fungus in the mulch which will harm your plants. Choose vegetables, which are indigenous, or native, to your climate or ones you can accommodate with extra fertilizers and water. Irrigate with a trickle or gray water method to ensure adequate moisture. Harvest crops and prune plants regularly to lengthen the growing cycle and increase yield. Fertilize soil as necessary to keep plants healthy and productive. As temperatures begin to drop, shelter your last crops with cloches or cold frames. They will allow you a few extra weeks of harvest after the last frost. These basics are how to grow your vegetable garden.
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden: The Seedlings
Three to six weeks before the final frost, depending on your seeds’ emergence rate, plant seeds of your spring vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, summer squash, beans, potatoes, etc. You may choose a variety of containers to start your seedlings. Short-rooted plants, like peppers and herbs, can be seeded in empty egg cartons with a hole pierced in the bottom of each cup for drainage. Vines can be planted in old laundry detergent cups, which have been washed in the dishwasher. Peat planters are great for tomatoes because when the time comes to transplant, the bottom of the peat pot can be removed and crumbled for additional food. Cull plants one week before the last frost. Seed potatoes and other deep seeded, cold crops can be planted a week before the first frost. Once the ground begins to warm, at least a week after the last frost, tender seedlings can be transplanted to the garden.
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden: Midseason Substitution
More tender plants are spent before the summer is over. When yield begins to wane, choose to start a repeat crop or a replacement crop of seedlings. If you are going to repeat a crop, be sure to move it to another part of the garden. The first crop will have depleted many of the nutrients from the soil. Fall vegetables, like carrots and cabbage, are ready to be planted. If it is still hot (over 90ºF) and will remain hot for another month, seedlings for many fall crops will wither. Consider replanting spring vegetables or late maturing plants, like beets or Brussels sprouts. As the last of the spring vegetables wane, plant early maturing vegetables, like chives and spinach.
You can enjoy fresh vegetables all growing season when you know how to grow a vegetable garden from frost to frost.