If you are new to vegetable gardening, and are to decide on the ideal position in the garden, you have possible advantages over those who already have a vegetable area within their garden. For a start, you can decide upon the best place for you to grow your vegetable garden instead of having to carry on in an established vegetable plot, which for a variety of reasons might not be the ideal place!
There are three very basic things to bear in mind when planning your own – or first – vegetable area. As with all things gardening, there are a multitude of choices to make after you have fulfilled the three basics. More later!
Before deciding on the best place for your vegetable patch, you might want to give some though as to what you want from your from you oasis of edibles also. Why, you should grow your own vegetables! For instance, if salads are your main aim – and why not – you can make do with most areas of a sunlit garden – or even consider container vegetable gardening or a network of small raised vegetable beds.
However, start with the three main considerations for a successful vegetable venture..
The ideal site for a vegetable garden.
Most vegetables prefer a sunny aspect for much of the day; ideally not overhung with trees or in the shade of buildings for much of the day. Also realize that if it is overhung with tree branches, your vegetables are going to have to compete with the tree roots for the all important food and moisture reserves! Trees will suck the moisture – and food from a large area beyond their canopy.
If it is an exposed plot, then try to either plant some windbreak non-greedy shrubs, or erect a non-solid screen on the windward side. Windy sites tend to dry crops out quite quickly - not good for vegetables. A solid fence is not always a good idea, as they can cause problems due to the down-draught of wind coming over the top and scorching the vegetables it was supposed to be protecting.
The far end of a large garden is not always the best! You may need to keep an eye on your crops a little bit more than that. This is certainly a daily task during the peak pest and diseases times.
Vegetable gardens are normally visited far more often than other areas of the garden so good access is important - in all weathers. You may be advised not to do vegetable gardening during wet periods, but the need for freshly harvested goodies for Sunday lunch does not take too much heed of the weather – or ground conditions.
If you have a choice, then go for a well drained part of the garden - as level as possible, because for much of the year, the soil will be exposed to the elements. If you have a plot which slopes, then try to set your crop rows across the slope to avoid heavy rainfall using your drills as water channels.
Important thing to bear in mind, is the physical site position in relation to the availability of water supply. Walking back and forth with a watering can on a hot summer evening is not the best way to spend your time – as healthy as it might seem.
Vegetables need water – lots of it. Most of your vegetable crop’s weight will be the water content. Nice plump vegetable and crispy leaves result from adequate water.
Try to make sure that your plot can be secure if you are near to a road or footpath!
The soil quality is important, but over time can be improved whether sand or clay soils. If you have a choice of a fertile area then so much the better – go for it if it meets the other criteria above.
Consider raised beds or pathways based upon individual rectangular areas. Vegetable gardening in rows – whilst traditional – is not always the best use of space, or conducive to growing crops in variable quantities. Ok for the main crop potatoes, but do you need half a row of lettuce going to seed simply because you have sown a row!
If all this sounds a bit tiresome – and traditional vegetable gardening is certainly time consuming and sometimes hard work – consider growing your vegetables in containers. They can be attractive, less wasteful, and moved about until you get the right feel and assortment.