Having a garden is such a rewarding experience, and the taste of freshly grown vegetable can't be beat. Having a garden is not as difficult as you may think. With some simple planning and time, you can be rewarded with yummy fresh veggies too!
Today we will begin with some basic things, but very important elements in growing a great garden! These things are: location, soil and sunlight. They are a gardens best friend and the first and foremost considerations when you begin your garden.
1. Let's start with location. You will want to make sure that your garden is in an easily accessed area, but not in the way of foot traffic in your yard. I like to be able to see my garden, and having it visible if at all possible keeps me motivated when it is time to weed :)
Consider how you use your yard and where would be a good place for your garden. You don't want your children's soccer ball to end up in the middle of your tender plants! You also may need to consider putting a small fence around your garden if you have a dog (or even if your neighbor has a dog!). For some reason, all dogs seem to love to trample through a freshly planted garden!
You will also want to consider nearby trees and weedy areas. The trees will tend to drop leaves or pine needles, which can alter the chemical makeup of your soil as well as make a mess.
If you have lots of ragweed or other weeds nearby, they will tend to disperse seeds into your garden, causing lots of extra work weeding. You also don't want to plant your garden where there are tree roots in the way. An especially rocky location may mean more work in your preparation.
You also want to make sure the area you have chosen is not too wet, but if some water drains into that area, that is good. It will keep your plants moist from the roots up and will save on how often you need to water. In my yard, I have an area where the front yard drains into the back. It is perfect for a garden because it doesn't get too wet but the soil is always moist. If you have mud instead of dirt, it is too wet and you shouldn't plant there! If you have dusty dry dirt, then it is too dry. You can still use the dry area but it mean that you will have to prepare the area with some loam or compost.
You may want to mark out your location with stakes so you can an idea of the size and shape you want.
Choosing your location sounds a lot harder than it is! It really isn't! Just keep in mind some basic things and you will have your location chosen in no time!
2. Let's talk about sunlight. Sun is what makes your garden grow, but how much do you need?
Most plants in your garden will need full sun which means 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Afternoon sun tends to be the hottest and most plants love the afternoon sun over just morning or sunset light.
Where ever you choose your location, make note of where the sun rises and sets throughout the day, and how long it will be over your location. This information will come in very handy when it is time to plant.
3. The next best friend to your garden will be your soil. If you live on a previous cow pasture, you are on very prime fertile land! But if not, you most likely will need to work on your soil conditions.
When choosing your location, you most likely will need to work the area by roto tilling out what is currently there. You will also need to remove any large rocks, roots, weeds and grass in the process. If your soil is really poor, you may want to consider doing raised beds, which I will discuss my experience with raised beds in this series.
We will discuss soil more in depth later in this series, it's a big topic on its own!
Now you have your 3 basic elements to a successful vegetable garden.
Stephanie is a homeschooling mother of 3 and owns A High And Noble calling, a blog to encourage and inspire women in their noble callings as homemakers, wives and mothers. You can read articles, find resources, and inspiration for your high and noble calling at http://www.ahighandnoblecalling.com