Tips on Locating Your New Vegetable Garden
When planning the location of your kitchen or backyard garden, remember, realtors have it right; location is everything. Ideally it should be convenient enough to your house so that to you can visit it easily and as often as necessary. The old adage – Out of sight, out of mind … applies in this case
Other considerations would be:
* Access to a water supply, such as a water spigot or hose bib is absolutely necessary.
* It should receive at least six to eight hours of full sunshine daily. Some crops can tolerate partial shade, but no amount of food, water or care can replace needed sunshine. Avoid nearby trees, not only because they will shade your plants, but they also absorb huge quantities of the soil’s moisture.
* It should be fairly level with a slight slope of about one and a half degrees to the south if possible; this is particularly helpful in colder climates as it will help early crops get started.
* The plot should be well drained, and not in a location where water collects after a heavy rain. Drainage may often be improved by installing agricultural tile, digging ditches and sometimes by plowing or digging deep into the subsoil.
* Air ventilation is also critical with clean air flowing over your site to keep the danger of early spring or late fall frost damage to a minimum. A windbreak, however, such as a fence or a row of shrubs, will help if your site is subject to strong winds.
Fertile, deep, friable and well drained soil is necessary for successful gardening. The exact type of soil is not as important as that it be well drained, well supplied with organic matter, retentive of moisture, and reasonably free of rocks and stones. The kind of subsoil also is highly important. Rock ledges, gravel beds, very deep sand, or hardpan under the surface soil is likely to make the development of high-grade arable soil extremely difficult or impossible to obtain. On the other hand, infertile soil that has good physical properties can be made productive by using organic matter, fertilizer, compost and other soil amendments.
If the space available does not meet all of the above criteria, consider the many advantages of the raised bed system of gardening. By utilizing a modular raised bed gardening system, you can create a system of beds that are not as dependent on subsoil conditions and can be located where drainage and growing conditions are better. Other advantages are smaller beds can be worked on with less bending over, the smaller scale makes weeding and upkeep more manageable and by eliminating the need to walk on the bed, the soil will not compact and will promote larger and better yields.
Dick Murray is a retired urbanite who keeps his passion for gardening alive with pots of herbs on the window sills and the creation of
web site dedicated to vegetable gardening
basics. It is not the same as digging in the soil, but it works for him.