When it comes to choosing the site and situation for your vegetable the general rule to follow is to grow edible crops in the best part of your garden. If this is not possible then there are several things you can do to improve your vegetable garden conditions.
Vegetables, and edible crops in general, need to grow fast and steadily without any interruptions. Good growing conditions are absolutely vital if you are to produce a healthy and prolific crop of vegetables.
Good growing conditions mean choosing a reasonably sheltered but mainly sunny position where the soil is well drained and fertile. Vegetables will not grow well in waterlogged soil, nor in very dry soil. As a general rule vegetables also dislike heavy shade and cold winds.
Some vegetables can be a bit fussy when it comes to the kind of soil that will produce the best crops. Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips, for example, tend to produce forked roots if the ground is stony or had been recently heavily manured. This makes them impossible to peel and just about inedible so it’s not worth trying to grow them in this sort of soil.
However, Mediterranean vegetables and herbs such as thyme and rosemary will happily grow in stony soil because it is likely to be fast draining, but they will do best if you can give them a warm, sunny, sheltered spot.
But what if you don’t have a sunny, sheltered spot where the soil is well-drained and fertile, or you garden is surrounded by tall trees and high fences, or is very windy?
Vegetable garden conditions
Vegetable garden conditions
- Choose a spot for your vegetable garden which gets as much sun as possible. It doesn’t have to have full sun all day long. A few hours in the sun at the beginning or end of the day should be sufficient to grow most summer crops.
Tall tress and high fences may provide shelter but they can also be very shady. Pick a spot away from heavy shade but be prepared to improve the soil, mulch regularly andwater frequently if near trees and hedges as the roots rob the soil of water and nutrients.
Improve soil fertility and drainage by digging in well-rotted organic matter, plus lots of grit if the soil is wet or heavy. Mulch the soil with well-rotted garden compost at least once a year to lock in moisture and increase soil fertility,
- Put up a windbreak if its a windy spot. A permanent windbreak might be a row of blackberries on some wire netting. Temporary windbreak netting can be put up to produce shelter whilst the windbreak plants are getting established.
Grow you veg in raised beds. These are ideal for small gardens as you can grow your plants intensively and they can be fitted in just about anywhere.
Veg plants can be grown in all different sort of containers. So you can have your vegetable garden on a patio of balcony. This might be the ideal solution if your soil is very heavy and prone to waterlogging in winter and drying out in summer or is very sandy and you just can’t face the work involved in improving the soil. It’s also the solution if your garden is very small or non-existent.
It’s worth remembering that very few gardeners have the ideal spot or the ideal soil for growing vegetables, so this should not be a reason not to start your own vegetable garden. Even if it’s only a few pots with some herbs or tomatoes on the patio, it’s certainly worth giving vegetable growing a go.