After you have properly planned your garden and prepared your soil, it is time to plant your vegetable seeds. There are various ways to do this, for example you could start an indoor garden or plant your seeds in a green house or cold frame. But in this article, I will explain how to plant and grow your vegetables in the more traditional way of an outdoor garden.
I recommend planting your vegetable seeds either in wide rows or raised beds or both. You can save space by planting vegetables that mature at different times next to each other. For example tomatoes take 12-20 weeks to ripen while celery takes 20-22 weeks to mature. Thus, you would have harvested your tomatoes by the time your celery starts to mature, thereby giving both these vegetables plenty of space and sun when they need it most.
In the same manner, God has designed different vegetables to complement each other in various ways. For example, some vegetables have long and deep roots while others have short and shallow ones. Some vegetables drive away certain insect pests that attack other vegetables. So all you have to do is know the vegetables that complement each other and plant them together in your raised bed. I have already mentioned tomatoes and celery above. Other combinations include cabbage and dwarf (French) beans, carrots and leeks. You can also have more than two vegetables together, such as lettuce, kohlrabi and red radishes. This is called companion planting.
Just as there are good combinations, there are bad ones, too. These combinations are where one vegetable hinders the growth of another one or more vegetables when planted together. Some of the bad combinations include potatoes, tomatoes and squash, beans with onions, carrots with dill. This does not mean you cannot plant these vegetables in your garden, just do not plant them beside one another.
If you live in a cold or temperate country, you can still plant your vegetables seeds during the non-planting seasons like winter by planting them in a cold frame (or green house if you can afford one). If you utilize a cold frame, make sure the top frame is made of glass or plastic to enable heat and light to enter. If you require additional heating, just install a simple light bulb inside. This will also prevent mildew from growing in the cold frame. Open the cold frame regularly for ventilation.
You can either make your own cold frame or buy it from any garden center. Some vegetables are especially suited to growing inside cold frames, for example, red radishes, lettuce and kohlrabi. Other vegetables, like carrots are suited for cold frames because they have very small seeds. Thus it is more practical to plant them in cold frames before eventually transplanting the seedlings into the outdoor garden.
When planting your seeds or transplanting your seedlings to your outdoor garden, use row covers to protect them from predators and harsh weather. Also, cover the soil surrounding your vegetables with mulch to prevent loss of moisture and deter the growth of weeds. The mulch also acts as compost as it decays.
The final thing to do is to be on constant guard against insect pests and plant disease. You need to watch over your vegetables constantly, at least once a day. Only by doing so will you notice the initial stages of pest attacks or plants developing diseases. If these occur, be quick to address it by using organic pesticides (I don't recommend artificial or inorganic ones, unless absolutely necessary) or cutting off the diseased parts of the plants.
As you take these actions, you will be harnessing the resources of nature to the fullest in enabling your vegetables to grow to their highest potential.