“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn
Here Comes the Sun!
If you decide to grow most types of beans or artichokes, for instance, you’ll need a spot that is sunny for most of the day. On the other hand, if you want to grow lettuce or spinach feel need a spot which offers some shade.
But how do you know which spot is sunny at 12 pm but shady at 4 pm or vice-versa? By checking the light and shadow patterns during the day.
Place wood stakes in the areas you’re considering for your garden. Record the times when each area is fully covered with sunlight and the times when shadows appear. In general, you’ll want an area that receives at least six hours of sun. Again, your choice of plants will play a role in the amount of sun your garden should receive.
Examples of plants which require full sun:
• Artichoke • Asparagus • Beans • Beets • Broccoli • Brussels Sprouts • Carrot • Cauliflower • Celery • Corn • Tomato • Pumpkin
Examples of plants which do well in partial shade:
• Arugula • Cabbage • Endive • Horseradish • Lettuce • Spinach • Peas • Swiss Chard • Radish • Rhubarb
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Climate will influence your selection of the fruits and vegetables you can grow successfully. Most areas in North America are located in a temperate zone which is unaffected by the extreme heat of the tropics and frigid cold of the polar circles.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of North America has the same weather conditions, as you already know. There are areas that are drier and hotter, and others with cooler, wetter conditions. Your plans should always reflect your local weather conditions.
Most plants have a range of air temperatures in which they thrive. Most common vegetables are divided into two categories: cool season and warm season. Obviously, these vegetables vary in their planting requirements and in the conditions they will tolerate.
Examples of cool weather crops:
• Arugula • Beets • Broccoli • Brussels Sprouts • Cabbage • Cauliflower • Collard • Kale • Lettuce • Onion • Spinach Turnip
Examples of warm weather crops:
• Cantaloupe • Carrot • Corn • Cucumber • Eggplant • Lima Beans • Pumpkin • Potato • Snap Bean • Sweet Potato • Tomato
Map it Out!
It sounds like a lot of work, but again, preparation is key. Now, that you know which areas receive the best sunlight for your planned crops, and where you have the best access to water and good soil, you need to do a little more groundwork.
Your site has to be free from underground utility lines. Local utility companies will happily locate and stake out their underground lines if you contact them.
Create your map, by first taking a photo of the site to map out the garden. Shoot the photo from a point which allows a full view of your entire garden area. Now, you draw a design of the area and mark the shady areas or any areas which have obstructions such as roots, large rocks, or slopes.