Starting a vegetable garden is a learn-as-you-go type of experience, fit for any age group. This would be a fun project to start with kids, or even grandkids! With so many helpful gardening books, articles, and websites out there on how to start a vegetable garden, there’s no excuse not to!
How to Start a Vegetable Garden
First, you will need to find an ideal spot to put your garden. The location should get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day, and it should be level (or slightly sloped) for drainage. It helps if it is located close to a water source, or you may want to put a barrel close to catch rain. Make your own rain barrel!
First-time gardeners should start with a small garden – an area about 11′ x 11′ will be plenty big enough. If you start out too big, it will become too much of a chore and you may get overwhelmed by the upkeep (and the weeds).
Prepare your gardening area by using the shovel and clear away all grass and weeds. Once you have cleared the area, you will need to cultivate the soil with a tiller. You can rent one at your local rental center or hire someone to do the job for you. If neither of these is an option, get your pointed shovel out and till by hand (ouch!). You should till the soil at least 12″ deep.
Now, use your rake to level out the soil and remove roots, rocks, and other debris. Break up any large clumps of dirt. Add compost and manure for nourishment and peat moss to keep soil light. You can buy these at a garden center or make your own.
Now you can start planning your layout. Use your hoe to separate the garden into nine areas that are 3′ x 3′ with about 1 inch in between each area.
Plan out what you want to plant. You can plant some crops earlier than others. Onions, potatoes, lettuce, peas, spinach, broccoli, and cabbages are planted early. Tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, beets, and beans are planted late in the season. When you buy your seeds, the package will say when to plant, how close to plant and other important tips. Other tips on gardening are also found in the Farmer’s Almanac.