Edible gardening guide

How to grow delicious vegetables, herbs, and fruit at home

Where to grow your vegetables

How to choose the best location for your vegetable garden

Choosing a location

Vegetables planted in wide beds produce bountiful crops.

Charles Mann

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Vegetables grow best with at least 6 hours of full sun each day. To avoid both shade and root competition, locate the vegetable patch away from trees and large shrubs.

Don't have much space? See how to grow vegetables anyway

It's also important to choose a spot for your vegetables protected from cold winds in spring and hot, dry winds in summer. Steer clear of "frost pockets", low-lying areas that may experience frosts later in spring and earlier in fall than other parts of the garden.

Watering and other routine tasks are easier on a level site; if only sloping land is available, try to find a south- or southeast-facing slope to take full advantage of the sun.

Rows, hills, and wide beds

Most vegetables are traditionally grown in rows separated by paths that give you access to the plants and let you till or hoe the soil. This plan works well for tall-growing plants (such as corn) and for those that need support, such as tomatoes and pole beans.

"Hills" ― a term that refers to a grouping of seeds or plants in a cluster, but not necessarily on a mound ― are useful for wide, sprawling plants such as some kinds of squash.

Many vegetables, especially smaller kinds such as beets, carrots, lettuce, and spinach, can be grown more efficiently in wide beds. In this arrangement, you prepare a bed about 3 feet wide, then broadcast the seeds over it rather than planting them in rows.

Paths on either side allow access to plants, but all in all you'll waste much less space on paths than you would in a row-planting plan ― and that gives you more room for vegetables.

More: Growing veggies in pots

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