Sunday, August 26, 2012

Deciding Where to Put Your Vegetable Garden

Choosing a site is the important first step in planning a vegetable garden. This may sound like a tough choice to make, but don’t worry; a lot of the decision is based on good old common sense. When you’re considering a site for your garden, remember these considerations:

✓ Keep it close to home. Plant your garden where you’ll walk by it daily so that you remember to care for it. Also, a vegetable garden is a place people like to gather, so keep it close to a pathway.

Vegetable gardens used to be relegated to some forlorn location out back. Unfortunately, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. I like to plant vegetables front and center — even in the front yard. That way you get to see the fruits of your labor and remember what chores need to be done. Plus, it’s a great way to engage the neighbors as they stroll by and admire your plants. You may even be inspired to share a tomato with them.

✓ Make it easy to access. If you need to bring in soil, compost, mulch, or wood by truck or car, make sure your garden can be easily reached by a vehicle. Otherwise you’ll end up working way too hard to cart these essentials from one end of the yard to the other.

✓ Have a water source close by. Try to locate your garden as close as you can to an outdoor faucet. Hauling hundreds of feet of hose around the yard to water the garden will only cause more work and frustration. And, hey, isn’t gardening supposed to be fun?

✓ Keep it flat. You can garden on a slight slope, and, in fact, a south-facing one is ideal since it warms up faster in spring. However, too severe a slope could lead to erosion problems. To avoid having to build terraces like Machu Picchu, plant your garden on flat ground.

A bit of science also is involved in choosing the right site. Microclimates are small areas of your yard whose temperatures and related growing conditions are slightly different from the overall climate of your yard, neighborhood, or town. These differences usually are caused by large objects, such as your house, a wall, or a tree. For example, the south side of your house may be hotter than the rest of your yard, because the sun reflects off the walls and the house blocks prevailing cold winds. Or an area under a large tree may be cooler than the rest of the yard because of the shade provided by the tree’s canopy.

How big is too big for a veggie garden? If you’re a first-time gardener, a size of 100 square feet is plenty of space to take care of; I like to tell beginning gardeners to start small and build on their success. However, if you want to produce food for storing and sharing, a 20-foot-x-30-foot plot (600 square feet total) is a great size. You can produce an abundance of different vegetables and still keep the plot looking good.

Speaking of upkeep, keep the following in mind when deciding how large to make your garden: If the soil is in good condition, a novice gardener can keep up with a 600-square-foot garden by devoting about a half-hour each day the first month of the season; in late spring through summer, a good half-hour of work every 2 to 3 days should keep the garden productive and looking good. Keep in mind that the smaller the garden, the less time it’ll take to keep it looking great. Plus, after it’s established, the garden will take less time to get up and running in the spring.

Source of Information : vegetable gardening for dummies

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