When I was a kid my grandpa was the gardener, and I would toddle around with him looking at the plants, smelling the plants, and picking the plants…even when I wasn’t supposed to. I never knew how much he taught me until I started my own garden. So, here are a few tips from grandpa through me.
For a garden, the two most important elements are soil and location. You’ve heard it said by stereotypical developers that it’s all about” Location, Location, Location.” In this case, that’s very true. The success or failure of your little green friends is quite heavily dependent upon where they sit.
First – Sun exposure. the best sun is morning sun, it’s that perfect cool morning light that wakes the plants up and gets them growing everyday. The worst light is afternoon and evening sun. That’s the hot baking heat of the summer sun that just fries your plants and stresses them out so they won’t produce.
The best way to deal with sun exposure is a nice easterly facing garden plot, with a good shade element on the west side. This shade element can be trees, just be aware of the roots, a barn or house wall, a trellis or logia, even a cloth screen can be set up. All of these elements work great and give your plants the protection they need.
Second – Space. How much room do you need? All that depends on what you want to do with your garden. If your intent is to feed your entire family for the summer, you might want a little more room than say the individual just wanting some supplemental veggies or salsa. A great beginner garden size in my opinion is 4’x8′. The size of a piece of plywood. This gives you room for the basics, a tomato plant, a squash plant, some cucumbers, peppers, okra, broccoli, and sugar snap peas. All of these grow well together and give you a fresh selection of veggies.
Third – Drainage. Water is essential to gardening, and obviously essential to healthy plant growth. So a garden in a hole won’t work. Plants can actually drown, and this is not good for veggie production. So a great rule of thumb is to set up your garden plot on an east or south facing slope. But if you don’t have a slope just make sure that water isn’t standing in any certain area of your garden, if it is, you might want to add some fill dirt for better drainage.
Finally, if you’ve got these three major points covered, then stay tuned for our “good soil vs bad soil” post coming up tomorrow and you’ll have all the tools for a healthy and rewarding garden.