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How-To

How to Start a Vegetable Garden: Selecting a Site

Steve Aitken, Danielle Sherry, Gary Junken, and Kate Geruntho Frank

So you’re wondering how to start a vegetable or kitchen garden? Not to worry. Our seven-video series, “How to Start a Vegetable Garden,” will help you get your first veggie venture off to a good start. We’ll cover the basics: choosing a location, preparing the soil, building raised beds, starting your seedlings, and planting your garden.

1. Selecting a Site

Fall is the best time of year to pick a spot for a vegetable garden since any work done will help you be ready to plant come spring. However, you can follow these steps for siting a vegetable garden any time of year.

The sunnier the spot the better for a vegetable garden because sun is the most important ingredient for growing hearty vegetables. Most vegetables need full sun (at least six hours of direct sunlight per day) to grow to their maximum potential, so avoid spots that are shaded by trees or buildings during the heat of the day.

To determine if your site has the right light conditions, stand facing the south with your left hand pointing east (in the direction the sun rises) and your right hand pointing west (in the direction the the sun sets). Now take your east-facing finger and follow it to the southern sky and then down behind the western horizon. This is the course the sun will take throughout the day. If there are no major obstructions then you have a sunny spot.

In addition to sun, your garden should be located as close as possible to a water source. Easy access to a garden hose means less lugging-around of watering cans, and it also helps if you decide to install soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system.

See more videos in this series:

1. Selecting a Site

2. Testing Your Soil

3. Removing Sod and Vegetation

4. Building Raised Beds

5. Starting Seeds Indoors

6. Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds

7. Planting Out

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