How to determine the best location
Now that you have decided to start growing a vegetable garden your first task is to find the best location to designate for your garden which will allow you to grow the best tasting and most abundant vegetables. Keys to determine the location of your garden.
I picked this location between my neighbor’s house and ours since it gets sunshine for about 10 hours a day during the summer even though it is not protected from the wind. I usually need to use more stakes to keep plants from being damaged by the wind. Soil has been built up for great drainage and I have added organic materials.
- The area protected from the wind
- Protection from predators
- Proximity to a water source
- Design of garden
How much sunlight is needed for garden
- The site needs the longest exposure to sunlight available. Ideally, you want a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sun exposure for the garden to grow the best. Leafy greens can grow in an area that only receives 4 hours of sunlight or has filtered sunlight for part of the day.
- To measure the length of sunlight you can purchase instruments to accurately measure the best amount of sunlight for your plants. Otherwise, you can watch and note the beginning time that the are starts receiving direct sun exposure and the last exposure time for the specified area.
- The location of each type of vegetable you will grow in your garden will depend on how much light and heat from the sun the area will receive. Understand morning sun vs afternoon sun and where the plants will grow the best.
- Another thing that you can consider is how tall the plants will grow and use the shade of one plant to help the other plants next to them that need less sun.
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What to use for a wind barrier
- The next to consider is the area protected from wind if you have strong winds that blow in your region you will want a protected area.
- There are many ways to protect the plants from the wind, one way is to build a wind barrier with fencing materials, another way is to use taller plants that can protect others from the wind, and lastly, you can build a wire structure that you can plant vining plants that can grow up the structure and block out the wind.
How to build up the soil for best garden results
- The soil build-up for the garden needs to be a free-draining area minimum of 2 feet. To determine how well the soil drainage is, dig a hole 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide and fill the hole with water allowing it to drain refill it again in 10-12 hours, and fill the hole once again with water. For good drainage, it should drop 1-2 inches per hour. If the soil does not drain very well you will need to add amendments to the soil such as compost or perlite to improve soil conditions. I will have further articles on the best way to amend the soil with natural fertilizers to improve soil conditions.
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How to protect garden from predators
- Do you need to protect the plants and vegetables from predators? If so you need to know what type of animal you are protecting the garden from to know what your next steps are? An example is protection from deer, which requires building a fence tall enough to prevent them from eating your plants and vegetables. Smaller animals such as rabbits and possums need fencing and mesh to prevent them from gaining access. For birds, you can net plants, use garden pinwheels or materials that will flash in the sunlight to startle the birds. Motion lights will help to keep some of the nocturnal pests from entering your garden.
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Why do I need a garden near a water source?
- To maximize the efficiency of your work in the garden you want a water source close by. Other considerations are where is the water source to water your garden, and how close is the kitchen to your garden since that is where you will be preparing the food to eat? The water source location is important since during the summer months you will need to spend a lot of time watering plants and cleaning the produce to bring into the kitchen so the closer it is to your garden the better off you will be. Also as you plan out your garden it will be much more efficient by having it as close as possible to access the kitchen.
Best design and layout for my garden
- For best design measure the area or areas that you are going to plant your garden in and plot them on paper so that you can map out where your plants will go and how many plants you need for your garden.
- Understand how large each plant will grow to be so that you can space the plants out and not overcrowd your garden.
- Know what vegetables your family and others like to eat and grow those, you do not want to produce food that will not be enjoyed and go to waste.
- Understand how much produce will be produced by each plant as you plan out your garden planting.
Starter Vegetable Gardens, 2nd Edition
- 24 plans for starting a garden
- New information to help you plan your garden
The Essential Garden Design Workbook
- Garden knowledge on designing a garden
- New updated information
The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables
- Location, Location, Location
- Best way to prepare your soil
- What to plant