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CHOOSING A LOCATION FOR YOUR GARDEN

Whether you’re starting a new garden or extending an existing one, give careful consideration to where to site it. The right location gives your crops the best chance of success. When choosing a site, note the following environmental conditions:

Sun

Pick the right site. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, although some crops, such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and other greens will grow well in less sunny spots. In general, the more sunlight they receive, the greater the harvest and the better the taste. Tip: In cooler climates, a suntrap is ideal for tender crops. In hot climates, growing under shade cloth or in the shadow of taller climbing plants, such as pole beans, helps to expand the choice of what you can grow in these conditions. Also, avoid planting crops near large trees which will not only cast shade, but compete with your vegetables for nutrients and water.

Air Circulation

Good airflow will encourage sturdy growth in your plants and help keep fungal diseases at bay. It also makes the garden less hospitable to insect pests such as whitefly that prefer a stag-nant, humid environment. Bear in mind that solid walls or fences may provide shelter but they can also cause the wind to form destructive turbulence on the leeward side, so don’t plant too close to them. Hedges and open or woven fences are more effective, as they filter wind rather than deflect it. Shelter from winds is helpful for most crops, especially peppers, eggplant, peas, beans, and any climbing vegetables.

Moisture

Be sure water is readily available. Nothing burns out a beginning gardener faster than having to lug water to thirsty plants during a heat wave. Extra water is likely to be necessary during dry weather, so locate new beds close to an outdoor water source. The soil near walls, fences, and under overhanging trees tends to be too dry for good plant growth, which is why an open area is best. Frost Cold air is heavier than warm air so it settles in low points in the garden and near structures such as walls and fences. Avoid planting in these potential frost pockets; they can delay the time when you can start sowing seeds and they can damage young growth.

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