Select a location for your garden and soil preparation is most important. Whether you’re starting a new garden or extending an existing one, give careful consideration to where to site it. The right location gives your crops the best chance of success. When choosing a site, note the following environmental conditions:
Select a location for your garden according to the following Facts.
Pick the right site. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Although some crops, such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and other greens will grow well in less sunny spots.
Generally, the more sunlight they receive, the greater the harvest and the better the taste.
Tip: In cooler climates, a suntrap is ideal for tender crops. In hot weather, growing under shade cloth or in the shadow of taller climbing plants, such as pole beans, helps to expand the choice of what you can grow in these conditions.
Besides, avoid planting crops near large trees which will not only cast shade but a contest with your vegetables for nutrients and water.
Identically, good airflow will encourage sturdy growth in your plants and help keep fungal diseases at bay. It also makes the garden less hospitable to insect pests such as a whitefly that prefer a stagnant, humid environment.
Bear in mind that solid walls or fences may provide shelter, but they can also cause the wind to form destructive turbulence on the leeward side. So don’t plant too close to them. Hedges and open or woven fences are more effective, as they filter wind rather than deflect it.
Shelter from winds is helpful for most crops, especially peppers, eggplant, peas, beans, and any climbing vegetables.
Be sure water is readily available. Nothing burns out a beginning gardener faster than having to lug water to thirsty plants during a heatwave.
Additional water is likely to be necessary during dry weather, so locate new beds close to an outdoor water source. The soil near walls, fences, and under overhanging trees tends to be too dry for good plant growth, which is why an open area is best.
Cold air is heavier than warm air so it settles in low points in the garden and near structures such as walls and fences. Therefore, avoid planting in these potential frost pockets; They can delay the time when you can start sowing seeds and they can damage young growth.
SOIL PREPARATION: BUILDING THE SOIL
Having good soil is the key to a successful garden. Soil may be the most overlooked aspect of gardening and the most important. Good-quality soil provides plants with essential nutrients necessary to reap a good harvest.
Hence, the goal is to enrich the soil with compost to provide the needed nutrients. Compost, leaf-mold, or well-aged manure will increase the ability of your soil to both drain well and hold moisture—the “sponge factor.”
Never use fresh manure! Because it may have dangerous pathogens and will burn tender plant roots. Compost it for at least 6 to 12 months.
Here are some guidelines to help ensure your soil is a tip-top:
- Test your soil. So then results will reveal its pH, phosphorus, lime, potassium, soluble salts, and texture. For accurate results, contact your local cooperative extension service office for a free (or low-fee) soil test. They will provide recommendations for any needed amendments.
- On the other hand, you should start with well-drained, sandy loam and add as much organic matter as possible. Then plant roots penetrate soft, loamy soil more easily.
- If your soil is sandy, add humus or aged manure, peat moss, or sawdust. Also heavy, clay-rich soil can also be added to improve the soil.
- If you have silt soil, add coarse sand (not beach sand) or gravel and compost, or well-aged horse manure mixed with fresh straw.
- Also, if your soil is like clay, then add coarse sand (not beach sand), compost, and peat moss.
- If your soil has more rocks or solid clay, consider building some raised beds that you can fill with good soil. Growing vegetables in containers or grow bags are also options.
- Proper drainage is essential; water-logged plant roots will negatively impact plant health.
If your soil needs replenishing, these materials can be of help:
• The ground can be made from various tree barks and it improves soil structure.
• Compost is an excellent conditioner
• Leaf mold: decomposed leaves that add nutrients and improve soil structure
• Lime can raise the pH of acid soil and helps loosen clay soil
• Manure: best if composed; Good conditioner
• Sand used to improve drainage in clay soil
• Topsoil: usually used in combination with another amendment for added soil
Remember: You should build your soil, but also you have to work with nature. If you have cold clay soil, it takes longer to warm up in the spring. Consider raised beds, plastic mulch, and indoor seed-starting to get started earlier. If you have light soil, your early crops will thrive but you may struggle with later crops that dry out, consider building trenches alongside plants and irrigate more often to keep soil from drying out.
Now we are done with a selecting location and building the soil. Next, as a gardener, we need to add manure to our garden. You can catch it with our next article.