In deciding on a location for a home vegetable garden, it’s worth discarding once and for all the old notion that garden “patches” should be an ugly place in the home environment. If carefully planned, carefully planted and carefully cared for, it can be made into a beautiful and harmonious feature of the general scheme, providing a touch of cozy simplicity that no shrub, border, or bed can produce.
With this fact in mind, we won’t feel constrained to any part of the building just because it’s not visible behind a shed or garage. In an average medium sized place there will not be many choices for soil. It’s important to take what you can get and then do the best you can with it.
But there will probably be plenty of options for, first, exposure, and second, convenience. Other things being equal, choose a place that is near, easy access. It would seem that a difference of only a few hundred meters would mean nothing, but if one relied heavily on free time to work inside and to observe the garden and grow lots of vegetables, the latter was almost as important as the former.
The issue of convenient access is going to be much more important than one might first notice. It’s not until you’ve had to make a dozen wasted trips for forgotten seeds or tools, or get your feet soaking wet by escaping through soaking grass, will you fully realize what this means.
But the first important thing to consider in choosing a place that will bring you happiness and delicious vegetables all summer long, or even for years, is exposure. Choose the “earliest” spot where you can find a plot of land that slopes slightly to the south or east, which seems to catch the sun early and hold it in more slowly, and appears to be out of the direct path of the cold north and northeast winds. If a building, or even an old fence, protects it from this direction, your garden will be greatly helped, as early start is a big factor to success.
If not protected, a plank fence, or a hedge of some low growing shrub or young evergreen tree, will greatly increase its usefulness. The importance of having such protection or protection is completely underestimated by amateurs.
Chances are you won’t find ideal garden soil ready-to-use anywhere in your area. But all but the worst soils can be brought to very high levels of productivity especially small areas like what a home vegetable garden requires. Large tracts of land of almost pure sand, and other soils so heavy and filthy that for centuries they had not been cultivated, have often been brought, in the space of only a few years, to where they produce a magnificent harvest each year on a commercial basis. So don’t be discouraged about your land.
Proper care is far more important, and a garden plot with average degraded soil, or soil that “never grows” will yield more to the energetic and careful gardener than the richest place that will grow under the flat cultivation method. -flat. .
The ideal garden soil is “rich sandy loam”. And the fact cannot be overemphasized that such soils are usually created, not found. Let’s analyze that description a bit, because here we come to the first of the four most important factors of gardening food. The others are cultivation, humidity and temperature. “Rich” in the gardener’s vocabulary means full of plant foods; more than that and this is a very important point meaning it is full of plant-based foods ready to go all at once, all prepared and sprinkled on the garden table, or rather in it, where the things that grow can take advantage of them at the same time; or what we call, in a word, “available” plant foods.
There is practically no soil in long-inhabited communities that is naturally rich enough to produce large crops. They are made rich, or stay rich, in two ways; first, by cultivation, which helps convert raw plant foods stored in the soil into available forms; and second, by fertilizing or adding plant foods to the soil from outside sources.
“Sand” in the sense here used, means soil that contains enough sand particles so that water will pass through it without leaving it pale and sticky a few days after it rains; “light” enough, as they were called, that a handful, under normal conditions, would crumble and crumble easily when pressed in the hand. The appearance of the soil should not be sandy, but should be loose.
“Loam: fertile land