The environmental requirements for growing vegetables are quite simple. The best vegetable gardens are grown in sunny locations where the soil is moist and nutritious.
In order to maximize the productivity of your garden plot you should first consider which vegetables your family enjoys most. It is senseless to waste valuable garden space on vegetables that no one is going to eat. Plan the planting order of your vegetable garden.
Start with a sketch showing approximately where you want to locate each vegetable crop.Increase your gardens' production potential by planting cool-crop vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage early in the spring. Use these early vegetables when they are mature and then re-plant the same spot with warm-weather, short-season crops such as lettuce and radish. Leave only enough space for development between low-growing vegetables such as radish, lettuce, and onion. Space can also be conserved by growing trailing vegetables such as cucumbers on trellises or other supports. Plant newly developed, dwarf vegetable varieties that require less space to grow than their larger, traditional counterparts. If ground space for a garden plot is not available vegetables can be grown in containers. Vegetables can also be effectively grown in combination with annuals. Be sure to organize the garden so that tall growing vegetables do not shade low growing vegetables.
Spade or rototill the garden soil deeply to break the soil into small clods. Add 454g. (1 lb) of granular all purpose fertilizer per 30sq. m. (37.5 sq. yd.) and turn the soil again. Rake the soil smooth and your garden is ready for planting. Improve the texture of heavy, clay-loam soils with additions of peat moss, compost, vermiculite, perlite, or sand. Do not work garden soil when it is wet.
Due to the short length of our growing season many vegetables are available as bedding-out plants. Vegetable bedding-out plants that can not be planted the same day they are purchased should be watered and stored in a shady location to prevent excessive wilting.
Planting Vegetables from Seed or Bedding-out Plants
Sow vegetable seeds in moist soil, just dry enough to be workable. Vegetable seeds are generally sown three times as deep as their diameter. Cover the seeds with fine soil, compost, vermiculite, or sand. Gently remove vegetable bedding-out plants from their packs or flats. Plant them in moist soil deep enough to bury the root ball and a portion of the lower stem. Plant vegetables started in peat pots or expandable peat pellets in the same way. In these cases also bury the peat pot or pellet. When planting vegetable bedding-out plants be sure to leave adequate room for development.
After sowing your vegetable seeds keep the garden soil consistently moist until the vegetable seedlings are established. Water freshly planted vegetable bedding-out plants thoroughly to give them a good start; use a starter fertilizer to establish a healthy root system. Thereafter, water your garden whenever the top 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) of soil dries out. It is best to water early in the day. Keep plant foliage as dry as possible by watering at the soil level. Water droplets that remain on plant foliage overnight encourage the development of plant diseases. Do not rely on rain to water your vegetable garden sufficiently. It is important to observe the condition of your garden often to ensure continued growth and productivity.
Keep your garden healthy by removing weeds as soon as they appear. Weeding is easier when garden soil is moistened before you weed. This makes the soil looser and more workable. Remove the weeds between the rows by scraping a flat-bladed hoe over the top few centimeters of soil. Pull weeds from within the rows out by hand. This reduces the chance of disturbing vegetable roots and prevents weeds from competing with them.