For some time now, you have been dreaming about vegetables grown, harvested and eaten from your own little plot of land. To make this happen, first think site selection.
To be productive, most vegetables require lots of sun, a minimum of six hours per day; eight hours is better. Take the time now to study your yard and record the amount of direct sun each area receives. A flat space is better than a slope but if the slope is sunny and flat areas are shaded, it is possible to work the slope to your advantage.
Beware of a location at the bottom of a slope. Water runs downhill and your nice, sunny, flat garden plot might be flooded before spring is over. Frost tends to be more severe in low lying areas so be prepared for an early frost. My good news is that for the past 15 years, my vegetable garden has thrived in a low lying area. I have built up my beds so they are no longer a muddy mess in the spring and the benefit is I rarely have to water my garden all summer long.
Vegetables do not like a lot of competition from weeds or tree roots. Roots from a tree will extend well beyond the drip line (the outermost circumference of the tree canopy). They are greedy feeders and will take the nutrients planned for your garden. Once established, your vegetable garden will be producing for a long time and trees continue to grow. Weeds will be an ongoing problem.
Size is important. How big do you want your garden to be? The answer to this question depends on a lot of things. How much land is available? How much time and effort is available for the garden? What types of vegetables and fruits do you want to grow? How many plants do you want to grow? My advice to a new vegetable gardener is to start small. It is better to have a garden that is too small than to have one that is abandoned because of all the work involved creating and maintaining it. 10-20 square metres will produce a lot of food!
Enjoy The Edible Garden Newsletter published monthly by Lanark County Master Gardeners and available on our website www.lanarkmg.blogspot.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @lanarkmg.