David Cantrell

David Cantrell

With vegetable gardening season just about a month away, now is a great time to select that perfect garden site.

Choosing a garden site is as important as selecting the vegetables to grow in it. All vegetables need sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil, and they will contract fewer diseases if the site has good ventilation. Another key aspect of site selection is to place the garden so it will be convenient to plant, care for, and harvest.

While very few of us are lucky enough to have the ideal place that provides all of the needed conditions to grow a successful garden, we can find the best site in our landscape by following a few simple guidelines.

First, select for sunlight. An open, south-facing, gradual slope is best, but if you don’t have that, look for a shade free-place. All vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine. Next, get to know the soil in your yard. Good gardening soil warms early in the spring, is loamy enough to provide oxygen to the roots of growing plants, holds enough water for several days, and is fertile enough to grow a good crop of weeds. An indication of general fertility of your garden soil is its natural vegetation. As a thumb rule, the healthier the weeds or grass already growing on the site, the better the soil will be for growing vegetables. Also, try to locate your garden away from trees and large shrubs. The roots from nearby woody plants will take nutrients and water away from your vegetables.

And finally, avoid placing the garden where there is little air movement. A natural breeze helps prevent foliage diseases, where as stagnant, humid, warm air creates ideal conditions for development of problems such as tomato blight, powdery mildew and other plant health issues.

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