Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: : 7 Things I Learned From A Freshly Planted Garden

Gardening is a blessing and a joy when the weather is nice, and it can be fun too. But if you garden in a location that isn't suitable, you're likely to struggle. That's why we've put together this handy guide to help you find the most suitable gardening spot! The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

When it comes to planning your gardening site, not all gardens are created equally. This is especially true when it comes to laying out garden beds in your yard. Your soil, local climate, and aesthetic preferences will all play a role in how you lay out your garden beds. After all, this is your first garden bed or your fifth? While there are as many different ways to layout garden beds as there are gardeners, there are some things to consider that apply universally to planning a site for gardening. In this article, we will look at the factors you should consider when planning your garden site.
raised garden bed
1. Sunshine

One of the most important factors to consider for vegetables and flowers - if not the most important factor - is sunlight. In order to thrive and do their best, most vegetables need "sufficient sunshine", that is, "at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sunshine every day". In most cases, more light (8 hours) is even better.

Some crops, such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach and other vegetables, can tolerate spots with less sunlight (described as "partial sunlight" or "partial shadow"). Generally speaking, the more sunlight your garden receives, the greater the quantity and quality of your crops.

Tip: In a cool climate, sun visor or cold frame is an ideal choice for tender crops. In a hot climate, growing under shade cloth or under the shadow of higher climbing plants (such as stem beans) will help expand the planting options under these conditions.

2. Water accessibility

Make sure water is nearby and readily available near your garden. Nothing exhausts junior gardeners more quickly than having to deliver water to thirsty plants in a heat wave. In addition, the nearby water means that if you feel a little lazy one day, you are unlikely to skip watering!

Additional water may be required during drought, so place the new garden bed close to the outdoor water source. The soil beneath walls, fences, and overhanging trees is often too dry for plants to grow well, which is why open areas are best.

Water saving should also be considered when planning the garden

3. Windproof

Make sure your location is protected from strong winds. Sheltering from the wind helps most crops, especially those that grow upright and produce a lot of fruit, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, peas, beans and any other climbing vegetables.

Strong winds can dry plants and soil, and may topple super elevation plants such as corn and sunflowers. Wind also causes most plants to reduce transpiration and growth. Cold and dry wind is the worst, because they will absorb water from plants, scorch leaves and cause wind burns, thus damaging leaves and flowers.

Remember that solid walls or fences can provide shelter, but they can also cause destructive turbulence in the wind on the sheltered side, so do not plant too close. Hedges and open or woven fences are more effective because they filter rather than deflect the wind.

raised garden bed

4. Soil quality

The ideal garden location has fertile loam. If your soil is bad or too thin, you are unlucky, or you need to do some work to prepare the soil for growth (see below). A quick way to judge soil quality is to look at your yard, especially if you have a lawn. It is lush and healthy, then you may have decent soil.

"Loam" consists of almost equal amounts of sand and silt, with less clay. A good ratio is 40% for sand and 40% for silt, and 20% for clay. This is an ideal composition for planting most plants. If your soil has too much clay or too much sand, this will be a problem, and you need to correct it with organic matter. Clay, which remains moist for a long time, will suffocate plants, while sandy soil may drain too quickly, drying them up. These two conditions will inhibit the nutrient absorption of plant roots.

Good soil drainage is good. If you want to test the drainage in the garden soil, please dig a test pit that is about 1 foot deep, wide and long. This pit will reveal whether there is standing water under the surface. It also allows you to observe how the soil drains. To test, add 1/2 gallon of water to the wet pit and calculate the time required to drain. It doesn't matter if it takes a few hours, but if it takes a few days, water may accumulate under the surface during summer irrigation, suffocating the roots and creating anaerobic soil conditions.

The best way to determine soil quality is to complete soil tests. Many university promotion services will test your soil at a small cost (or free of charge), so that you can deeply understand its structural quality (sandy, loamy or clay) and its pH value (acidic or alkaline?) And nutrition and health (consider nitrogen, potassium and other necessary elements for plant growth).

Of course, if you grow in containers or raised garden beds, you don't have to worry about the soil beneath the gardening area. However, for garden beds, you should still consider testing the soil because the roots of plants may eventually extend beyond the elevated bed itself. This is particularly important in urban and suburban areas, where lead and other harmful substances may be a problem.

5. Flat ground or gentle slope

The ideal garden location is on flat ground or gentle slope. When selecting a location, avoid any low points that remain wet in spring. Also avoid gardening at the bottom of the slope because the air will form frost bags.

Please pay attention to the terrain (landscape) of your property. The cold air drops and the warm air rises, so the low point is cooler than the uphill. Frost bags trapped by cold air may occur in depressions and extend the frost period. The north facing slope is darker and cooler, while the south facing slope is more sunny and warmer. The hillside soil is shallow, while the valley soil is deep and fertile due to erosion above. Water runoff makes the hillside drier, while the bottom of the slope may be wetter. In addition, higher altitude areas tend to be windier and drier, especially in winter.

6. Microclimate factors

Almost every yard has a microclimate, which is an area with different weather conditions caused by natural or human factors. When choosing a garden site, check your space and consider nearby structures, trees, shrubs, hard surfaces, and other factors.

Nearby structures: structures such as houses, fences, sheds or high walls cast shadows and lower temperatures on their east, north and west sides at different times of the day. At the same time, the area to the south will be warmer. Frost pockets may occur on the windward (facing) side of an object. In warm seasons, the ground in the shadow area keeps moisture longer. However, the leeward (downwind) side of a vertical object will limit rainfall and make the adjacent ground drier. Nearby trees and hedges should also be considered.

Structures can help protect plants from strong winds, but they can also create wind tunnels that redirect the wind, such as at the end of a fence. Enclosed courtyards provide more warmth and wind protection inside. Fences, walls and hedges trap snow in tall piles on the windward side, which may crush plants there.

Shadows: Deciduous trees act like structures, but they also have other effects due to three seasons of shade. The ground under the tree crown is slightly warmer and is not easy to frost, although the tree crown will prevent rain and make the ground below drier. Shallow rooted trees such as maple further magnify this point, and these trees will compete with other plants for water.

Hard surface: The roof and nonabsorbent materials (concrete, asphalt and stone) are impermeable surfaces, and liquid is not allowed to pass through. They will cause water runoff problems, and water will flow to the area according to the slope of the surface. This is not only on the ground; Even roof runoff from blocked drains soaks foundation plants and promotes deadly root rot.

Because it is impermeable and impenetrable, impermeable surfaces can also affect temperature. Sidewalks, driveways, roads, walls or terraces made of impermeable materials absorb and release heat. Even houses can absorb heat during the day and release heat at night, so adjacent areas, especially the south side, will be warmer at night.

garden beds

7. Efforts

When considering the location of the garden, consider how much work it takes to create a garden bed in the space you choose. Remember, you may need to

Tear up grass and topsoil
Dig out big stones or tree roots
If there is too much sand or clay in the soil, modify the soil
Erect fences to keep deer and other small animals out
Set up raised garden bed
Prevent weeds or invasive invaders

Gardening may take a lot of work, so start with a small bed and focus on it to maximize your chances of success!