Now that you’ve decided to start a vegetable garden one of the first and very important questions facing you is, “where is it going to go?” Here are a few points that will hopefully make things easier and ensure your gardening experience is an enjoyable one.
Aim for maximum sunshine.
- Regardless of the size of your property you will need to seek out that spot that receives the greatest amount of sun. The consensus seems to be between 6 to 8 hours per day. The more sun your garden gets the better your vegetable harvests will be.
Before deciding on any final boundaries check out the suns coverage then you can rest easy knowing that your garden will receive enough light and warmth. Take notice of such things as trees, walls and other fixed objects and the effect that these may have.
Your garden won’t perform to it’s peak if your neighbours 100 years old oak tree shades it for half the day. Large trees can also mean intrusive root systems that will rob your vegetables of much needed nutrients and moisture.
I love trees but not near my garden.
Obviously your garden’s location will be determined by the size of your land. As the above photo shows our garden is smack in the middle of a large area which means good sunshine hours every day.
If possible position your garden in an area where it will be sheltered from the wind. Such things as hedging and trellis work can be used to lessen it’s effect but always be mindful not to block out the sun.
All of my gardens have been “out the back” as this gives me privacy and lessens the chance of vandalism or yahoos jumping the fence and helping themselves.
The lay of the land.
- A level or gently sloping site is ideal as this makes for good drainage and easy management. However like the tailor we all have to work with the cloth we’ve been given.
A steep or low lying site shouldn’t stop you from having a productive garden, it just means a bit more toil and sweat building up beds that can be easily cultivated and that drain freely.
Keep it close and user friendly.
- As any gardener worth their salt will tell you the secrets of successful vegetable gardening is to do a little often. It is therefore a wise move to locate your garden within easy distance of your kitchen. Having it as visible as possible also helps with the ” feel good factor” especially if you’re a newbie plus friends and visitors can’t help but notice your horticultural handy work. My family have now grown accustomed to my continual bragging about this or that vegetable.
My garden is the first thing that greets me (after my lovely wife that is ! … ) as I make my way down to breakfast each morning. If anything is amiss such as rabbits or birds up to their old tricks I can sort it smartly. Also having your garden close by means grabbing that tomato or cucumber for that spur of the moment salad is just a easy hop skip and jump away.
Amazingly your children probably won’t even object when asked to fetch something you’ve forgotten.
Finally a word of caution.
Sometimes our enthusiasm can overtake common sense. You’ve now decided to start a garden and can’t wait to get digging. Very understandable as I’ve been there and done that.
My advice especially to first time gardeners is to check out your site thoroughly. Don’t rush in even if it means taking a few days to choose the right location.
Whether you turn your plot by spade as I have or by rotary hoe it’s hard graft therefore getting this aspect right is crucial. You only want to do it once.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. Cree Indian Proverb