The first veggie garden I planted as an adult grew in a variety of pots on our tiny apartment balcony, and it produced tomatoes and peppers all summer long. By contrast, my first “big” garden was an overwhelming 25 x 25 plot that I couldn’t really keep up with. It scorched in the sun, became ridden with weeds and pests, and hardly produced anything.
Lesson learned: How much space you have in your garden matters a lot less than where the space is … and what you do with it.
Once you’ve determined which veggies you want to plant, you’ll need to figure out where to put them. Where your garden will grow best will depend on a few factors:
- Space. You don’t need a lot of space to grow a successful veggie garden, but do research the space needs of the veggies you’ve chosen to determine how large an area you’ll need to produce enough.
- Sunlight. Is there an area of your yard that gets 6 – 8 hours of sunlight each day? That’s probably your ideal garden plot, unless you’re growing mostly shade-loving veggies.
- Soil. Before you plant, you’ll want to test your soil’s pH, nutrient, and moisture levels. If your soil doesn’t drain well or you worry it might be contaminated, building raised beds might be your best bet.
- Comfort. If you have physical problems that make stooping, bending and crouching difficult, keep that in mind while choosing your space. Many gardeners love raised beds because they can be much more comfortable to tend.
- Ease of Access. Planting near your hose or sink makes it easier to keep your garden well-watered. Choosing a spot near your house makes it quicker to run out and grab a couple tomatoes while you’re getting dinner on the stove. If you have small children, consider a space in the yard where you can easily keep an eye on them while tending the garden. Don’t underestimate the power of a convenient location for your garden.
Now that you know where you’ll put your garden, the next step is designing and creating your plot. One foot in front of the other: You’ll be a vegetable gardener before you know it.