Growing vegetables can be a great way to save money, improve your diet, get exercise, and enjoy the outdoors. And the best part about vegetable gardening is that you can do as much or as little as you want – from one happy tomato plant to a row of squash that will have you sneaking baskets onto neighbors’ porches in the dead of night.
Location, Location, Location
The first and most important step to planting a vegetable garden is choosing a location that will allow the plants to flourish. Fruiting plants must have adequate light, water, and nutrients in order to produce fruits and vegetables. Here are a few tips to help you plan and prepare the perfect site for your vegetable garden.
Choose a sunny, well-drained area for your vegetable garden.
Most vegetables need about 8 hours of sunlight a day. That usually requires an open, relatively flat area that is not shaded by buildings or trees. Since summer vegetables require heat as well as sunlight, south-facing slopes work well. Sunny patios and balconies can make great locations for raised beds or containers.
A young broccoli plant soaking up the sunshine.
As a general rule, your vegetable garden requires about 1″ of water a week (containers may need a drink every day or two), so unless your area has plenty of rainfall, you’ll need a convenient water supply nearby. Consider installing drip irrigation or soaker hoses to target water to the roots and reduce waste. The time spent on installation will pay off when all you have to do is turn on a faucet!
Drip irrigation is an efficient way to water a vegetable garden.