When starting a vegetable garden, there are a few things to keep in mind. You first need to find an area that has the right light. Most vegetables prefer full sun, and it is important to ensure that the soil that you will be working with is right for your project. Soil that is too heavy can cause the roots of your vegetables to drown and rot because it does not receive proper drainage, and will not be suitable for starting seeds either. If you find that the soil available in the area where you plan to grow your vegetable garden is too dense, you can add a potting soil mix or a universal potting soil to the existing medium and this will help to break up the soil and allow for aeration and better drainage. The quality of soil will determine the yield of your vegetable garden, and it is equally important to condition the soil in pots and containers if you chose to grow your produce in them.
The second thing you need to consider is the light available for your vegetable garden. Preferably, vegetables for the most part need full sun or a mostly sunny area to grow. When you figure out what vegetables you want to start growing, take some time and map the layout on paper of how your garden will be arranged. Keep in mind that you do not want tall vegetables such as peas and corn to block out the sun from getting to shorter vegetables like your carrots and cauliflower. The best way to avoid this is to place tall vegetables at the back of your garden plot and place progressively shorter plants in front. Also, in the planning stages of your garden, ensure that you have enough space for each of your vegetables. Vegetables that are too close together do not produce as much because they have to compete for light and nutrients with their neighbors, and are more susceptible to disease and rot. Spacing your vegetable plants out allows for them to have proper airflow, which can prevent disease and increase yield.
If you do not have a large yard to work with, consider container gardening on a sunny patio or in a bright location. It is important to choose containers that are deep enough, normally you will need 8-12 inches of depth, and to prepare a soil mixture that is light enough to allow for proper aeration and drainage. The best part about container vegetable gardens is that you can create small gardens of similar vegetables together in the same area. For example, if you love pasta or Italian food, a container with a nice Roma tomato plant in the center flanked by thyme, basil, and oregano plants would be an amazing small garden to have. Another bonus about container vegetable gardening is that you can rotate and move your garden if you need to move it to a more preferable location.
Creating a layout for your vegetable garden beforehand saves time in the long run, and also focuses you. The work upfront with designing a vegetable garden is well worth it, and helps ensure that your garden has a higher yield throughout the summer and fall months. When you plan your garden, you allow yourself to focus on the specific needs of each plant and you are better able to decide if each vegetable is best suited for your space.