Selecting the best vegetable garden site

by teddletonmr

Selecting the best garden site makes it easier to grow your own tasty nutritious vegetables.

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.

More than a Labor of love

vegetable garden wheel  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.

the best vegetable garden site

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.

Well-drained soil

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.

importance of direct sun

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   

vegetable garden  and direct sun
Updated: 04/07/2013, teddletonmr
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teddletonmr on 09/25/2012

Sheri good luck with the new home, working in the lawn, gardens and landscape is fun and rewarding.
Express yourself, be well and happy gardening :) Mike

Sheri_Oz on 08/25/2012

This is all great advice and very well put. I'm moving soon to a new home where I will finally (again) have a yard. It is small, but once I trim the overgrown trees and hedges I am sure I will find the perfect spot to plant vegies.

teddletonmr on 02/28/2012

Pinkchic18 glad to meet you, gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors. I to mis my grandfather sharing his wisdom.
Be well, and give gardening a go, you will be glad you did.

Pinkchic18 on 02/28/2012

My grandpa always had a huge garden that he had strategically planned out. I wish I would have been old enough back then to learn a little something from him. You have some very good tips here, thank you for sharing your knowledge!

teddletonmr on 02/17/2012

Ah shucks, glad you like it. Envolving the kids in the garden is a good thing. My eight year old Abby has her strawberry patch she takes care of. Oh, by the way gets the first picking of tasty strawberries.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Katie.
Happy gardening, Mike

katiem2 on 02/17/2012

Very nice, the changes you've made to your site pages are very appealing. It is time to think about planning the gardening routine, soil prep and vegetable choices. My kids love being involved in the gardening process and love changing it up from year to year. They love planting a wide variety of new and interesting vegetables and fruits. You know gardening is a great way to get kids interested in eating healthy. Great piece!

teddletonmr on 02/15/2012

Having a vegetable garden in a small yard with lots of shade is doable. Just select several small sites around the back and front yard where a few veggies will grow.
Companion planting is a great way to controll pests, and offer a bit of a surprise. Especially when we plant a couple tomatoe plants in a flower bed that recieves direct sun the biggest part of the day.
Dustytoes, best of luck in the garden, and thanks for stopping by, Mike

dustytoes on 02/15/2012

Finding enough sun to plant a garden at my new home will be a challenge for me. A small yard and lots of very tall trees doesn't help, but I will have a vegetable garden!!! I may do some container gardening as well.

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