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Starting a Vegetable Garden

It can be an immensely satisfying experience to eat vegetables grown in your very own garden. Gardening is becoming more and more popular, and with the great interest today in organic foods, many people are wondering how they too can get in on the act of growing their own vegetables at home. Starting a vegetable garden is an extremely easy thing to do- and comes with big rewards.
The first thing to do is to plan out where to put your garden. The ideal spot for your garden is the one that's as flat as possible and gets the most sun. Pretty simple so far, right? If your choices on where to locate your garden are limited, it's okay. You can work around your particular area's drawbacks- a hilly area can be leveled with a few shovelfuls of dirt; a place that doesn't get much sun can be used to grow vegetables that do best in the shade.
Provided your choice of plants isn't determined by the location of your garden, then your next step is to choose your plants. Pay attention to what season a certain plant is meant for: in the fall, focus on broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and peas; in the spring, you're better off planting things like beans, corn, and tomatoes.
It helps to get a sheet of paper and draw a map of how you plan to lay out your garden. Take into account which plants will need a fence or a stake to climb up, and how far out a particular plant is likely to spread. For all of this information, check out the backs of the seed packets- they should tell you the expected height of each plant, and the space requirements they need to grow.
Now it's time to plant. Place the seeds the recommended distance apart, and water them well. Do the initial planting toward the end of the day, so that the first watering will have plenty of time to soak into the ground without getting dried up instantly by a noonday sun. The newly-placed seeds will need a good soaking to establish themselves in the ground.
It's official: You've started your first vegetable garden. The day you see sprouts coming up through the dirt will be a great day. Within the first few weeks, when your plants are really beginning to grow, it's a good idea to fence the area and provide climbing stakes for the plants that are going to need them.
After that, feel free to start planning the menu- your vegetable garden has truly begun!

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