When selecting a site for the your home vegetable garden, drop the idea that the garden must be the ugliest spot around the house.
When thoughtfully planned, carefully planted and thoroughly cared for, a home vegetable garden may be made a beautiful, peaceful feature of your homestead that no shrubs, trees, borders, boulders or beds can ever produce.
For many people the only place for the garden is – it must be out of sight! Sometimes you don’t have much choice because of the size of your property – you just have to do the best with what you have.
When you have choices look first at exposure, and second, convenience. When possible select a spot that is close and with easy access.
Watching the garden grow all of its vegetables is almost as important as the the convenient access. All those “forgot this” time-wasting trips makes you a believer and soon realize the impact.
The Importance of Exposure
When picking a home vegetable garden spot look at the sun exposure and all those delicious vegetables, but think long term and building on the garden for years.
A spot with a little sloping with a south or east exposure that can catch the early sunshine and hold it late but stays out of the direct path of the chilling north and northeast winds. A building, or an old fence can offer protection.
If that isn’t an option a hedge, a simple board fence, or even some low-growing shrubs or young evergreens, can help protect the vegetable garden. The importance of protection or shelter is greatly underestimated by “new gardener.”
The chances are slim you’ll find the ideal garden soil ready to go in your yard. Just about all soils can be improved for better production especially in the small areas home vegetable gardens require. Don’t be discouraged about the “current state” of your soil.
Soils usually are made or built – not found! The ideal garden soil is a “rich, sandy loam.”
Other All-Important Soil Factors
“rich, sandy loam”
“Rich” in gardener’s vocabulary means full of plant food; meaning the plants can use of the nutrients, in one word, “available” plant food.
Soils are “made” rich, or kept rich, in two ways; first, by cultivation, which helps to change the raw plant food stored in the soil into available forms; and second, by “elements” or adding plant food to the soil from outside sources.
“Sandy” means a soil containing enough particles of sand so water will pass through without leaving it sticky and pasty a few days after a rain; “light” enough, so a handful, under ordinary conditions, will crumble and fall apart readily after being pressed in the hand.
It is not necessary that the soil be sandy in appearance, but it should be friable.
“Loam: a rich, friable soil,” says Webster. It is soil in which the sand and clay are in proper proportions, so that neither greatly predominate, and usually dark in color, from cultivation and enrichment.
Such a soil, even to the untrained, just naturally looks as if it would grow things. It is remarkable how quickly the whole physical appearance of well cultivated ground will change.
So when picking your “home” vegetable garden spot – look at exposure and then “building” some good soil.