Before you can commit your seed or seedlings to the soil in your vegetable garden, it is essential that you ensure that the nutritional base of the soil is of such a nature so as to provide optimum results for the vegetable growth. You can accomplish this by preparing and feeding the soil before you plant the vegetable garden. If your soil is clayey, sandy or loamy you will need to make certain preparations. Do make the required soil amendments to ameliorate the garden soil.
First you need to remove the grass, bushes and trees and their roots from the ground you have chosen to use as your vegetable garden area. If necessary you could fence in the area if you have pets that also love to do 'gardening'. Now you can start with the preparations of the vegetable bed:
There is also the matter of deciding on whether to grow your own vegetables from seed or seedlings. The cheapest would be to buy seed as there are so many varieties available from supermarkets, nurseries and garden centers. You are then free to choose the variety that will suit your area and soil type. However there is always the small hassle of seed that might have stood too long on the shop shelf and may thus not germinate or develop stunted growth. The best way to handle this type of situation is then to buy seedlings from a reputable nursery to start off your vegetable home garden.
After the first season of planting and harvesting there is nothing that should prevent you from harvesting your own seed. It is far more rewarding to harvest your own seed by the end of the growth season. Always choose the strongest plant which rendered the best harvest for seeding purposes. Store the seed in an airtight dark, container to stay fresh for the next planting season. Seed can be kept for up to 2 years. After the two year period it is best to harvest fresh seed or to buy new seed.
When sowing vegetable seed make sure to follow the instructions on the seed packet closely as it will provide you with tips on how deep to plant the seed, when the vegetable seed will germinate and when to harvest the vegetables.
Growing seedlings is not a hassle. There are many commercially available seedling trays, but these can be quite expensive. To save money you can also make use of egg trays, or shallow disposable ice-cream containers or yoghurt cups, or whatever suitable containers you can find as part of the kitchen waste. Just punch a few holes in the bottom of these containers and you have a gratis seed-tray. Make use of seeding soil which is also available from nurseries and garden centers, or to keep costs ultra low, use two parts normal garden soil, one part compost and a couple of handfuls of river sand to aid in drainage. For best results sift the soil to get rid of loose stones and loosen the clumps of soil that may be left. Take care to sow the seed as evenly and as thinly so as to prevent overcrowding in your seed tray. (TIP: Shake a few seeds into the palm of your one hand and use your thumb and forefinger of your other hand to dribble the seeds in a row.) Keep the soil moist and warm and sheltered. When watering take care not to flood the seed or seedlings. Push the seeds down slightly with your finger and then smooth and firm down the soil. After planting the vegetable seeds water carefully with a watering can that has a fine nozzle. Water every second day (in hot areas every day) until the vegetable seeds germinate.
Once the seed have germinated reduce watering to three times a week. For good growth water the little seedlings with liquid fertilizer for two weeks after germination and then one a month after that. Once the seedlings have grown to the appropriate size then a kitchen spoon is sufficient to take out the little seedlings together with a little clump of soil to facilitate transplanting the seedlings into its rightful vegetable beds. Then all that is required is to grow and nurture the plants as is necessary for the specific type of vegetable, and soon you will be able to harvest fresh vegetables.