Just as we select the best possible school to send our kids when purchasing a home. We also should select the best garden site for our vegetable garden. Let us face it, growing our own fresh fruits and vegetables need to be a bit more than a simple labor of love. Granted there are steps we can take. That will reduce the amount of time we spend watering, weeding and controlling all the nasty vegetable eating pests. However, the absolute first thing we need do.
Selecting the best vegetable garden site
Selecting the best garden site makes it easier to grow your own tasty nutritious vegetables.
More than a Labor of love
Select the best place to put our vegetable garden and ensure plants will grow in the first place. Regardless which gardening method we use. Be it a traditional garden plot tilled in the bare earth, raised beds, or container garden. When we select the wrong place to plant our tomato plant, onion sets or sew our green bean seeds. All our labor will be in vain, much like junior failing to study for an algebra test, so too will our vegetable garden meet with predictable results, let me just say less than stellar and leave it at that.
Garden site selection
The things to keep in mind, our favorite vegetables require good well-drained soil, plenty of water but not too much, and a master gardener will argue. Veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and strawberries require at least eight hours of direct sun on average each day of the growing season.
Many newbie and master gardeners in the Midwest U.S. find themselves starting with a garden site that consists of heavy clay soils. Clay soils suffer compaction problems and require a lot of work adding critical soil amendments. Sand, Pete moss, organic compost improve drainage and proper moisture retention. For this reason, many backyard vegetable gardeners rather use raised beds and containers. Where they simply fill them with good garden soil, sow seeds, transfer seedlings, watch them grow and pull the occasional weed.
Plenty but not too much water
Before a vegetable garden site will produce our favorite tasty nutritious tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli and the like our garden will need at least an inch of rain, or the equivalent watering each week to make the garden grow.
Oh, by the way here is an FYI. Vegetable plants will not thrive in a garden where they must compete with trees, bushes, and other plantings for water, sunlight and nutrients in the soil critical to plant growth.
The importance of direct sun
Fertilizers and water are important elements for plant growth in the garden. Without the proper amount of direct sun, plants simply cannot convert the water and nutrients into the energy they need to produce fruits and veggies.
I know and hear what you may be thinking. Large shade trees do make it cooler when working in the garden. However, large shade trees do rob our garden plans of soil nutrients and moisture, not to mention too much shade will have an adverse effect on vegetable plants producing all our favorite fruits and vitamin packed vegetables.
The best vegetable garden site will provide at least eight hours of direct sunshine.
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Where is the best vegetable garden site?
For those of us living in the United States, or the northern hemisphere we should look to the south. Yes, you are correct the sun will rise in the east, and sit in the west. What we need to keep in mind is as the earth rotates. The sun is more or less directly above the equator. Which is south of the northern hemisphere. Selecting a garden site on the south facing side of a house, shade tree or other large building our gardens will benefit most from the direct sun.
Conversely, for our gardening friends that live in the southern hemisphere say places like Australia. Look to the north side of large buildings, hillsides and the like for the best vegetable garden site.
Selecting the best vegetable garden site is the first gardening decision newbie and master gardeners need make. When based on optimal hours of direct sun, proper well-drained garden soil. Let us not forget, the all-important one-inch of rain or equivalent irrigation, will go a long way to guarantee a successful harvest.
Enjoy much gardening success, Mike