How to Plant Vegetables

Three Parts:Planning Out Your Vegetable PlantingPreparing to Plant Your VegetablesPlanting Your Vegetables

Are you a first time gardener? Learning how to grow vegetables can be a satisfying process that may pay off heftily at harvest time. To begin the process, you need to learn how, where, and when to plant the vegetables you want to grow. Planting vegetables requires some pre-planning on your part, to insure that you start your plants off right. In addition, planting vegetables requires two kinds of investments: an investment of money for seeds or starts and soil amendments, and an investment of the time it takes to prepare the soil, plant the vegetables, and care for them as they grow.

Part 1
Planning Out Your Vegetable Planting

  1. 1
    Decide which veggies to plant. Research vegetables that grow successfully in your area. Your location is one of the largest factors in whether you will successfully grow vegetables. You need to do a bit of research about your region and only decide on vegetables that are compatible with the climate where you live.
    • Start out small. You may want to plant a ton of different vegetables but if you are just starting out gardening you should really focus your energy on just a few.[1] Growing vegetables can be more of a time commitment than people expect, so begin gradually so you don't get overwhelmed.
    • Once you are an experienced gardener, you may be able to replicate the climate of other regions in order to grow any vegetables you like. However, when you are just starting out, planting vegetables that are difficult to grow in your region will most likely just be frustrating and unfruitful.
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    Decide where to plant your veggies. In general, choose a spot to plant your vegetables where sun shines at least 6 hours a day.[2] This amount of sun is considered "full sun." If you want to plant a vegetable that does not require full sun all day, then you will need to locate an area of your yard that gets a significant amount of shade.
    • You do not necessarily have to plant vegetables directly in the ground. Planting veggies in pots can be very successful for a wide variety of plants and it does not require a lot of space.[3] There are benefits to container gardening, for instance you can easily move the plants to a new location if they are not happy where you initially place them and the soil in the pot usually develops fewer weeds. On the downside, however, plants in containers usually need to be watered more often and are more vulnerable to cold and hot temperatures, as a pot changes temperature much more easily than the ground.
  3. 3
    Decide whether to plant seeds or starts. Seeds will generally need to start earlier but may have to be started inside, to protect them from frost.[4] Vegetable starts, young plants that have been grown from seed in a greenhouse by a professional, will cost you significantly more to buy, but they will establish easier and can be planted later in the growing season.
    • Some plants are difficult to grow from seed. Plants with long germination periods, such as cilantro, can be difficult for home gardeners to cultivate. Consider investing in the added cost of vegetable starts for plants such as this.
    • Some plants are actually more easy to grow from seed. This is especially the case for plants, such as carrots, that don't do well with being transplanted. For plants like this, it makes sense to sew the seeds directly into the ground or in biodegradable seed starting pots that can go right into the ground once the plant sprouts.[5]
  4. 4
    Figure out when to plant your veggies. Part of deciding when to plant your veggies will be dictated by whether you are planting seeds or starts. In addition, different vegetables need to be planted at different times of the year. There are many vegetables that thrive in the summer sun, but you can also grow a surprising amount of vegetables over the winter months, depending on your location.[6]

Part 2
Preparing to Plant Your Vegetables

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    Buy seeds or veggie starts from a garden center. If purchasing seeds, pick a brand that seems dependable and pick vegetable strains that seem reliable. You may want to do some research before you go to the garden center to decide exactly which type of each vegetable you want. If you are purchasing vegetable starts, pick plants that seem healthy and do not have discoloring or spots.
    • Consider whether you want organic or non-GMO veggie starts or seeds. While some people do not have a problem with genetic modification or pesticides, others do not what these kind of processes involved in the propagation of their food. It's up to you.
  2. 2
    Purchase soil amendments and any other supplies you need. These amendments will depend on the current status of your soil and the needs of the vegetables you want to plant. If you have never planted before in the location you are using, you will at least want to add some compost to the soil. Compost adds organic matter that breaks down and basically becomes food for your plant.[7]
    • Determining what kind of soil you have, in addition to the needs of your plants, will help you decide how you need to amend your soil.[8] There are tests available at any garden center that will tell you the ph of your soil. Soil can go from very acidic all the way to very alkaline, as well as going from very sandy to very clay like. Figure out what kind of soil you have and try to move it more toward neutral by adding amendments.
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    Remove all of the weeds and vegetation where you are going to plant your vegetables. Take the time to weed before you plant your veggies. Weeds will compete for nutrients with your new plants, making their success less likely. Get all the weeds from their roots, as many weeds can regenerate if even a bit of their roots are left intact.
  4. 4
    Break up and amend the soil. You will want to cultivate, or break up, the soil in an area a bit larger than where your plants will actually be. The root systems of many plants will grow to be quite large, moving outward from where the plant was initially planted. You need to break up all of this soil so that the roots can travel easily in search of nutrients.

Part 3
Planting Your Vegetables

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    Dig a hole and place seeds or a vegetable start in it. Be sure to follow any directions on seed packets about how far down to plant seeds. Some seeds can easily grow from a depth of 6 inches, while others need to basically be on the surface of the soil. Vegetable starts, on the other hand, should be planted so that their existing soil is level with the surface.
    • Remember that some plants can only grow in one direction, meaning that a certain part of the seed or clove needs to be facing up in order for it to grow properly. For instance, garlic cloves have a top and bottom. When planting garlic you need to face the pointy side up in order for it to grow.[9]
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    Cover the hole back up with soil. If you are using seeds, pack the soil back in the hole, making sure that it is firm but not totally compacted. If you are planting vegetable starts, push soil in all around the start, pressing the soil firmly so that the start stands firmly upright.
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    Water your vegetables. The first time you water you will want to soak the entire area. After that, keep the soil moist but don't drown the plants. Keeping up on watering is one of the most important things you can do to make your vegetables thrive.
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    Care for your veggies after planting. Don't just forget about them, or they won't grow very well. Remove any weeds that pop up and keep on watering.[10] You will need to keep tending to your veggies but once they are planted properly, much of your work is done!
    • To deter weeds from growing, consider mulching around your veggies.[11] The little bit of effort it takes to mulch will pay off when you are not repeatedly weeding around your plants.

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Categories: Growing Vegetables