The very basics on gardening

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    Gardening Basics

    If you’ve dreamed of having healthier, readily available fresh foods for your family to eat whenever they’d like, you may have started wondering how to plant a vegetable garden. Planting your very own vegetable garden allows you to control whether harmful chemicals are used on the foods you eat, allows you to have fresh vegetables for cooking or eating raw during harvesting season, and saves you money both in the summer and winter, because you can freeze or can the vegetables you grow and use them throughout the year.

    Ok, maybe you have dreamed it but now it is time to get educated and learn a few basics of gardening, your life may depend on it.

    Planting a vegetable garden is not difficult either, but there are a few steps involved. First you have to plan the location of your vegetable garden, then you need to prepare the soil for your vegetable garden, then you will plant your seeds or starter plants. From then on, it’s just a matter of caring for your vegetable plants and keeping the weeds away. And before very long you will find yourself outside picking fresh vegetables right off the vine.

    Planning your Vegetable Garden

    The first thing you’ll need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that location is very important. Vegetables need five to six hours a day of full sunlight, so where you place your vegetable garden plays an important role in how successful that garden will be.

    You will also need to plan your space wisely. Depending upon how many vegetables you want to plant, and how much of each vegetable you’d like to be able to harvest, you might find you need quite a bit of room for your vegetable garden. A family of four for instance, generally needs rows of vegetables approximately ten feet long to provide enough harvest for the entire family. So if you want to plant twenty different vegetables, you will need a lot of space. Another thing to consider is to only plant vegetables that you and your family like.

    Vegetable gardens can be planted in containers however, so this might be an alternative option for you to consider. Many vegetables can grow in one container too. Your best bet for the first time planting a vegetable garden is to start small. Choose maybe five vegetables to plant for instance, or try planting smaller amounts of many different vegetables.

    Preparing your Soil

    The next step you will need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that soil preparation is very important. There’s a lot to learn in this area, so we won’t cover it in detail here. But the basic steps involved with preparing your vegetable garden soil involve turning the soil, and enriching it with compost or other organic matter.

    Vegetables need a lot of nutrition to grow well, so the better you prepare the soil before planting, the better chances you have of producing a bountiful crop.

    Planting Your Vegetables

    The third step in learning how to plant a vegetable garden is the fun part. You will plant your vegetable garden seeds or starter plants in the newly prepared garden soil. Make sure you choose your seeds wisely. There are a lot of vegetable seeds out there that have been genetically modified. Try and choose only heirloom seeds if possible. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically modified and you can gather and store heirloom seeds for next years planting saving you the expense of purchasing seeds for years to come.

    Now, if you’re planting your vegetables in traditional rows, you’ll simply sprinkle seeds along the top of a row, then cover then lightly with a thin layer of soil. If you’re using starter seedling plants for your vegetable garden, you will make a slight hole in the top of the row, put your starter plant down in the hole, then pack the mounded soil around it lightly.

    Planting vegetables into raised garden beds is done the same way when you’re using rows. If you decide you’d like to plant your vegetables in square blocks however, that’s easily done in the same ways too. Alternatively, you can randomly place your vegetable plants and seeds, and you will get a more natural growth look from your vegetable garden when the sprouts begin to create leaves and produce.

    Make sure you water your soil well during the seed planting or during the transplanting of seedlings.

    Try and keep the soil moist without over watering your garden and come harvest time you will enjoy all the fruits of your labor.

    re-posted by:


    There are LOTS of options for people with limited space…square foot gardens, as SciFiChick mentioned, a rsimilar method, French intensive gardening, companion planting, container gardening, and even growing “garbage can potatoes” (I have done this, and it makes harvesting SO easy, plus keeps underground “varmints” from eating all of your spuds!) I tend to stay away from using tires, as am not sure about any toxins that might leach from the tires into the soil, and subsequently my plants, but there are a LOT of things that can be substituted for the tires and work just as well. You can even grow things such as tomatoes and peppers indoors, as they are self-polinating.


    as for tires leaching toxins….no prob there. simply give your tires a good scrub with some soap and water and a rinse….and then if you are really worried…cut and flip your tires inside out – you can learn how to do this by checking the Tire Gardening thread here.


    The hardest part of planting a new garden is getting the grass off it and turning/breaking up the soil. I plant things in containers every year even tho I have a huge garden.
    Container plants are like pets for me, not like I don’t have enough of those already. I also do pretty well with winter indoor growing, it’s much simpler than it appears.


    Excellent post!

    I’m not promoting me, I’m just sharing. I used to have a small business teaching folks how to vegetable garden. Read about it here.” onclick=”;return false You may find the information useful. [Remember the motto of APN: Freedom through teaching others self-reliance.]

    In my humble opinion, THE most important part of growing your own is planning. If you don’t have a plan, you will have way too many cucumbers (there’s a limit to how many pickles you can eat in a year) and not enough tomatoes (there’s no limit!). Without a plan you will waste valuable time & energy. Fortunately, you have time to devise a plan– that’s what January is for! And if you need help, all you need to do is post your question here. 🙂


    Great Topic folks.. I do french Intensive/squarefoot/my won creation natural gardening. There is no one way to grow food, just do it.. Learn your Local planting dates, find sources for seeds and plants, and have at it. Better to plant to little that to much. I grow in raised beds and get them started each year indoors in February with a planting table made from Plywood 2X4’s and shop lights. I also have a sand warming table to get the seeds uo and growing before I move them to the planting table. There are several sites where you can learn what to plant when. This one is my favorite..

    Spring:” onclick=”;return false
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    great post – thanks cityh!


    i am a super big fan of the “just get out there and start planting” method of gardening. i only started growing our own veggies and berries 2 years ago – have been quite amazed at how successful i have been – but the biggest thing that i have learned is that you can freak yourself out by to much worrying about all kinds of niggly things that you won’t come natural until you just do it! because we currently live in the city (but have a fair-sized yard) and have terrible soil – i do container gardening (tires) but plan to do raised-bed when we move to our homestead (1-2 years).

    i am also a big fan of the “MMpaints starting seeds in a baggy” method. if anyone is interested you can read about it here:” onclick=”;return false

    a big shout out to MMpaints for sharing this info with me way back when!


    It’s my pleasure Kymber and we’ll be doing a whole new set of posts on it again this spring. I’m gonna try a couple new things with them too.


    oh MM – good stuff! i have linked that stupid article on several topics now because everyone wants to know about the “MMpaints baggy method”! it has been a sure success for me and i will broadcast your baggy method to the world. thanks so much for taking the time to share it with me. you reallly are the quintessential prepper y aknow?


    does anyone have good directions on how to actually build the raised beds? I’ve never built them before but plan on doing it as my lawn soil is aweful. I want to make sure the things can hold right and not fall apart on me or something lol
    Right now, i’ve also been looking into where i’m buying my heirloom seeds from too, as I’m finding some suppliers have no clue where all of them actually come from and cannot vouch for them all being heirloom for sure.
    Monsanto just bought a facility in my area too- oh joy! 🙁 Sadly, I’m sure tons of the farmers here in my lil area of Ohio are just all too happy they are here, as many people i’ve spoken to seem to be oblivious about Monsanto’s dealings.


    oh!..forgot to ask. has anyone tried lasagna gardening before? I just heard about it recently,regarding soil preparation and wondered if anyone has tried it and found it successful for them? If so, lemme know how it went.


    See the post on lasagne gardening here. I think there are links.” onclick=”;return false

    Will post a new topic on raised beds in just a minute.


    Oh my! I feel like I am in over my head! I tried container gardening last year with NO success. I had like 6 string beans, 10 tomatoes and a mess of herbs out of a deck FULL of containers. I am so glad to finally have some concrete info to go by. I am going to all the links and the other gardening posts here in a minute. I feel like I might have a chance this year. I tried starting in April last year – bad move!


    Hey All,

    Looking for some help with my vegetable garden. I live in a very warm area and would love some advice on how to set up my garden to be ready for the warmer months coming up. I read that its important to check the hardiness zone chart for environment tips. Does anyone have experience with this? Here is where I read that:

    Looking forward to hearing from all of you.


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