Folks will sometimes pick their Garden Location without considering several crucial needs for a Productive Garden. What are some of those Needs?
- SOIL QUALITY
- WATER SOURCE
- DISTANCE FROM HOUSE
1. SUNLIGHT- All of us know that Sunlight is Crucial for the growth and productivity in your Garden. Most Gardens should receive 6 hours of direct Sunlight each day. When you select your Garden Site, just watch out for Structures (houses, barns, trees, etc) that would cast a shadow over the Garden Site. Now some of your vegetable crops you choose to grow may like a little shadier spots….in that case plant them beside taller vegetables so they will get a little shade from them. That’s what we do. We have our Garden near a tree line so that after getting sunlight from morning till mid afternoon (3-ish) it finally gets a little shade in the hottest part of the day. This really works for us and the crops we plant.
2. SOIL QUALITY-For a Bountiful Harvest you soil needs to be fertile, loomy, full of Organic Material, loose and easy to dig- Plus it should be good draining soil. Avoid a site full of Clay or one that is too Sandy. If your soil is not of good quality, you can Amend it by adding Compost, Decomposing Manure and other Organic Matter (grass clippings, leaves, mulch, etc) which rots down and improves the soil. (Part III will talk more about soil quality) Take a long hard look at the Soil in the Garden Site you are considering….is it dark, loomy, loose soil? Or is it packed hard, red, clay or sandy! Keep looking unless the not so good soil is something you know how to amend and will have the time and resources to do so. We live on a rock…so we have done a lot of soil amendment. Now it is in good condition. But it is a lot of work…every year. So worth it though, when you finally have that rich, loomy soil you just love to put your hands in. 🙂
3. WATER SOURCE- For Gardens to remain Green, Healthy and Productive, they really need about 1 inch of water per week. Rain is the best way to get that 1 inch quota but we don’t always get that much rainfall every week. Irrigation is a good way to get water to your Garden. So is a water spigot with a garden hose! Whatever method you use-combine it with Mulching (we talk about mulching in Part 1) Your getting a BIG HARVEST depends on your Garden getting enough water… So how easy would it be to get water to the Garden Site you are considering?
4. DISTANCE FROM HOUSE- How far away or close your Garden is to your house itself, isn’t going to make it more Productive. However, if it is too far away you may not be visiting it as often as you should…and that will affect the Productivity. We love having our Garden close to our house because it makes it so easy to walk out and tend to the plants, pick veggies, weed and water. We had the Garden a distance from our house before but it was difficult hauling our harvest in. So consider this carefully! Do you have a Garden Shed in place if it is far from the house, a Tractor and Trailer for hauling in your harvest? It can be and is a drudgery when you have to lug everything back and forth.
5. ELEVATION- WHY be concerned with Elevation of your Garden Site? Because your Garden needs good Air Circulation….plus you want to avoid those early Frosts. Therefore, AVOID low lying areas and GO for a little Higher Ground! Big Plus…Higher Elevated Gardens warm up quicker in Spring and they will have great Air Circulation….and don’t forget frost won’t settle on it as quickly.. We live on a Ridge and we see Frost down in the hollers and valleys and we won’t get any Frost at all and that means…. we have a longer harvest time on those veggies!!!!
We’ve considered many of the factors that will help you select a Productive Garden Site. Part III will discuss the Basic Needs Plants have. After that you should be just about ready to make your Garden a Reality!!
Happy Gardening and Homesteading! 🙂
Mel and Marcia