How To Select A Perfect Veggie Garden Site!

I find gardening and growing anything thoroughly exciting, challenging and satisfying because every aspect of it can bring something new to discover. Gardening is also a great activity that benefits body (physical workout), mind (stress relieving) and soul (tranquility of the great outdoors). Its perfect for all; children, adults and seniors alike. Also in this day and age of money crunching, growing some veggies and fruit can help with the grocery budget.


Looking for and deciding on an ideal spot to plant is invaluable and often overlooked by experts and beginners alike. Creating any type of garden starts with a few basic questions:

  • What do you want to grow?

  • Where to put the garden?

  • How do I choose a perfect site for my garden?

The characteristics of an ideal garden spot need to be determined first of all. Well, an ideal location for a vegetable or flower plot needs to have well drained, fertile soil and needs to be exposed to sunlight for more then 8 hour per day. Also it needs to be within easy access to water. (This in a smaller yard won't be a problem but in a larger acreage lot can mean one heck of a long hose) I learned this the hard way, the first garden I dug here I paid attention to most everything except the water. It's 278 feet away from the well house so I had to join three 100foot hoses together which then was always in the way when the grass needed to be cut. I use that large plot only for Romano field tomatoes and cucumbers now.

An inferior garden site can often be improved on, but taking a little time before-hand thus maping out the right spot from the get go can save a lot of work and money.


If you have plenty of space for possible gardening plots it can still be a challenge to find the optimal spot, however it's even more important if there is limited space available.

I found that it is helpful to start with a plan of the property. This plan doesn't have to be a surveyors map or anything as formal as that. Just outlines of all that's in the yard drawn roughly to scale, including the house, shed, driveway, decks or patios, walkways and all other permanent features such as shrubs, trees, hedges etc.

* * * An easy way to draw things to aproximate scale is measuring by footsteps (you know--- heel to toe) and then transferring those 'sizes' onto a grid or graph paper. Naturally depending on the size of your paper determine that maybe every four foot-steps be represented by a square. Again it needs only to be a rough outline.


Once you have created your 'master' make a few of photocopies so you do not have to keep repeating this step. Or laminate your base plan but remember to only use erasable markers on it. This kind of outline is always handy especially in the winter when you might want to do some new plot or new site planning.

Now with a copy of your 'map' in-hand its time to go outside and determine you four directions north south east and west. ***Maybe it's been a while since the boy scouts or girl guides. So if you position yourself with your right side or arm pointing towards where the sun rises, that's EAST, then directly opposite where the sun sets is WEST , you're looking straight NORTH while your back is towards the SOUTH).


Now take a good look around. Observe and mark down the shade pattern cast by the buildings, trees and shrubs. You should repeat this at least three times lets say at 10 am, at 1pm and 4pm for example. This will give you a good idea and will let you assess how many hours of full sunlight the different areas in your yard get accurately. Ideally, this exercise should be repeated in the spring, summer and fall. The shade patterns will alter... once the trees are in full foliage etc.

To have this much advance planning is hard to follow through with. Most of us do not want to put off deciding on where to situate a garden plot until next year so it will have to be a work in progress and some changes can be made for the gardens of the future.

To get down to the nitty gritty of things a spot that receives full sun more then 8 hours a day gets enough light to grow a wide variety of veggies, herbs, berries, fruit and flowers. But to be honest there are a lot of plants vegetable and flowers alike that will grow well with a bit less sunlight , they might just be slightly smaller in structure and will produce less flowers and therefore fruit. Areas that have less then 6 hours of sunlight daily can still be used for garden plots but you will need to be more selective with the plants you choose. For example the full variety of 'Impations' will love and thrive in an area that's shaded for 14 hours a day and so will most hostas too.

Next check out the ground. Mark down the spots on your map where puddles form and remain for longer times after a heavy rain. This information is also vital to determine which plants to plant. Spots that are soggy underfoot are poorly draining bits of area and less then ideal. Wet and soggy soil conditions tend to rot the roots of most garden plants (unless you're planting rice).

Another important factor to consider is how the wind blows through your property. It is good to have a certain amount of wind as this will give air circulation around the plant leaves and stems. The wind drying the rain away quickly will discourage disease and rot. On the other hand too much wind and gusts can draw moisture out of plants and cause them to wilt or topple over especially taller plants. Some plants are more sensitive to wind then others. A strong high wind on a regular basis is a problem that can partially be solved by planting the sturdier plants around the more sensitive ones.

Now looking at your base map you can see which will be the best places to start those garden plots. One more important step is to check out the soil... specifically the pH levels.

The pH level is the measure of how acidic or alkaline your soil really is. This level really makes a difference to the plants that you might want to grow. Don't panic its not hard to measure and once you have those numbers its not hard to correct the levels. Home test kits are available for sale at your local garden center, they sell for less then 20.00 dollars. This is really a good and cheap investment and well worth it and gets you much closer to a really successful garden compared to a so-so one. The pH levels are measured on a scale from 1-14 with 7 being the center or neutral. A pH below 7 indicates that the soil is acidic and above 7 it's alkaline. As an average most plants like the soil anywhere between 6 and 7.5. (Check each plants preference on their write-ups).

* * *Another option, if you would like, you can also get your soil tested by the local Laboratories. Your local nursery or garden center will have addresses for labs nearest you. The labs will be able to give you a total rundown of your soil and give you recommendations on what you need to do to counteract nutrients and pH level imbalances. These tests cost a few bucks but if you're serious about starting a veggy garden it might just be worth it. (you might want to start growing vegetables or flowers for your own garden stand ....) I've always been able to correct any problem I had with my home test kit however and that saves money in the long run.

You are now ready to garden Yeahaaaa. Good luck and have lots of fun deciding what to plant.

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Comments 30 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hammerj, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


Hammerj profile image

Hammerj 7 years ago from Cebu City

wow nice article..its a nice tutorial..very informative..i will rely on my mom too..


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Oh please no lumberjacks if the trees are making shade everywhere in your yard put some veggies in planters... never never cut out fruit trees...

Thanks for taking a look and for commenting

regards Zsuzsy


Béla Mongyi 7 years ago

Thanks for this advice, Zsuzsy. I love the drawings too. You certainly know how to get the most fun out of this. I do agree that gardening is a physical, mental and spiritual activity in one.

I did plant some vegetables in my garden, but then my fruit trees got very big and my garden kinda passed into oblivion. Reading your hub I think I could put my yard in array, after bringing in the lumberjacks, that is. :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Good luck ReuVera! zs


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

ReuVera! Growing your own veggies can be a very satisfying hobby. Why not start with just a couple of things like tomatoes or lettuce to go along with the dill.

I have a Mennonite organic market down the road from me and everything I do not grow I buy from them. "Healthy foods my motto"

thanks for coming by and for commenting

regards Zsuzsy


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

It sounds like a science....

I should confess, I have lots of patience in different hobbies, but gardening, knitting and crocheting makes me nervous. Besides, the only thing which grows with me is dill and I always put it in the backyard, just next to a shed. I love fresh dill in my salads. Other stuff I buy at Amish markets.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Mary Thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Anything I can do to help let me know. There are a lot of great gardening hubs written by Bob Ewing and other hubbers. If you have any questions though I'll try to answer them for you.

I'm chomping at the bit too to get out into that garden.

regards Zsuzsy


Mary Williams 7 years ago

I like eating fresh veggies right from the garden. I can't wait. I like eating healthy food. I just need help in doing so.


Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

I can hardly wait to plant outside. We want sunshine!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Patty how are you? Container gardening is really a smart way to go because you can move them around a bit here and there.

I always have a couple of tomato planters near the BBQ. for easy access just in case its been raining and its muddy out.

take care

Zsuzsy


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

I like your diagrams very much. This year, I will try some container gardening, I think. Great Hub!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hi Raven I'm chomping at the bit too to get into the garden. It also snowed here yesterday but it was all gone by noon today. It's still cold and windy. Soon soon soon

zs


Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

Hi Zsuzsy Bee. How are you?

As for me, I'm fine. I'm very eager to grow veggies this year and the seedlings sprouted but I have to keep everything inside because it snowed yesterday, and it is too cold and windy today.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

DarleneMarie thanks for taking a look and for commenting. There are so many variables that you can't control when growing things that it helps if they're set-up to the optimum conditions.

kindest regards Zsuzsy


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

Great advice Zsuzsy! Especially for the beginner. A well thought out plan before you get started will give plants a great start.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thanks C.S. I learned over the years that jumping in with two feet first I had to say "I should have...." way to often. So when it comes to gardening I preplan most everything. Now if I could only remember 'that' when dealing with the rest of my life, I should be in good shape.

Always gald when you come for a visit

regards Zsuzsy


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

Nice job Zsuzsy,

informative and a must to think about before planting.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Real Tomato! I'm the same I add a new veggie, new herb and new perennial to my garden every year. Haven't figured out yet what it's going to be this year, it's still in the research stage as I only plant heritage seeds its getting harder to find interesting new plants.

As for garlic, easy peasy lemon squeezy (my granddaughters favorite saying of the week) If you use fresh garlic and find a clove that has a green 'heart' or center sprouting out of it, plant it in a well draining spot. Some say you should plant it in the fall then it grows back in the spring. The only place that that's been working for me is in my cold frame... I was able to keep the kale, and chard along with some garlic growing till the second week of January this past winter. Once the garlic grows you will be able to harvest it from two place; the small little clove-lets that will form at the top of the stalk and then once the stalks dry from underneath. I use shears to chop of the tops about an inch from the top once the small little clove-lets have formed and filled in (by late August in my neck of the woods) then I let the stalks dry out for a few weeks 4-5 then I gently pull them out of the soil bunch 5-6 together and hang them to dry for 3 of 4 weeks in a cool and dry place.

The little clovelets have a sweet mild garlic flavor super in a fresh salad or in a bruschetta mix. Let me know if you have any questions.

regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Raven! How are you? We haven't chatted in a while. Good advice about starting the seedlings under cover. Not only does that keep in the humidity but it also keeps the warmth more even. I'm not too sure about the bugs and sticky tape I've never tried that. I don't see why it shouldn't work though.

take care

regards Zsuzsy


The Real Tomato profile image

The Real Tomato 7 years ago

Only a true gardener would give such great advice. Planning is so important and often overlooked.

I try one new veggie each year. I use fresh garlic almost daily and thought it was time to try my hand at growing it. Have you ever tried it?


Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

Hey Justmesuzanne, maybe the plants need humid air. Just four days after planting seed in the jiffy pot greenhouse Fenugreek seedlings sprouted and about three days after that I had to take them out the tiny greenhouse because they hit the ceiling and then the tomatoes and dill followed.

I planted cilantro in a pot without a cover and they barely grow.

Last June I waited to plant seeds outside and nothing grew past one true leaf. The humidity was about 10%.

As for the bugs you might try sticky tape.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

JerseyGirl, always glad when you pop in for a visit. First time garden...how exciting, keep records of what type of plants you put in and how they turn out, that way next year you can either repeat or try a different sort. If I may be so forward as to suggest one of my other hubs, it might just give you a hand 'Compatible Planting' of what plants like to be near each other and which do not. (the link in above the comment capsule)

I you've got questions let me know, I might be able to help best of luck

regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Suzanne what a shame that you had bad experiences with gardening. It can be a fantastic hobby. I hope you will give it another chance. Try a few tomatoe plants (if you like tomatoes) in the right location they are one of the plants that really give back what you put into them.

Good luck

regards Zsuzsy


JerseyGirl profile image

JerseyGirl 7 years ago from Jersey Shore

Great info. This year will be the first garden that we will grow. With your advise - hopefully - we will get a few edible items. Thanks much. Take care.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

I have given up on veggie gardening. Even my container gardens turn out lousy! If the plants grow, the bugs get them, but most of the time, they don't grow.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Ivorwen! Thank you for taking a look and for commenting.I think that most of us once we made up our minds to start a garden we get excited and just go for it. Also in a smaller yard sometimes there is not much choice of where to put a plot.

Happy gardening

regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Bob I'm always glad when you stop over for a visit. Thanks for taking a look and for commenting. I just now realized that I forgot to add a paragraph about the plot being within easy reach of water... I have to go and fix.

Are you as eagerly awaiting planting time as me?

regards Zsuzsy


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Before you garden, gardening!  Why is most books skip this step? 

I already have the garden plot dug, but this will be so useful in landscaping the rest of the yard.  Thank you for the detailed planning guide.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

Sound advice, a good plan makes all the difference.

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