Your Light Conditions
Sunlight plays a big part in growing a successful vegetable garden, whether in a pot or in your backyard. One of the most important aspects to growing your own vegetables is sunlight, and often this is the area over which you have the least control. When choosing your garden site, you will need to consider the amount of sunlight the area gets throughout the day.
Most vegetables need an average of six hours of sunlight in order to grow. If you only have a shady spot, do not fret too much as there are a few plants that do okay in a bit of shade; perhaps you can grow other vegetables in containers that can be moved around to follow the sun's path. Choose the sunniest spot in your space for your veggie patch. It can often be your front lawn.
The sun alters its path throughout the seasons, so take the time to jot down when the sun hits your area during the different seasons and how long it stays there. The area may not get any sun during the winter months. But likely you will not be growing anything at that time, so it does not matter.
However, if you get no sun during the spring and summer, you will need to choose another site. When you first start a garden, these are all things you can learn as you go. If things are not working out exactly as you planned, make a note so you can improve on things in your next growing season.
How do I keep pests away from my plants?
When planning your vegetable garden, include aspects that will attract healthy insects and animals to your space such at butterflies, ladybugs, and some birds. Drawing these creatures in can be done by planting certain veggie plants and shrubs, or including a small water feature. Attracting these insects and animals will help to keep at by any harmful pests that may be attracted to your garden.
You also want to consider how the trees or fences in the area affect the amount of sun your site will get. In the winter months, when the leaves are off the trees, you may get full sun; however, the site will become shadier as the leaves come out. Again, find a sunnier spot if you will be growing your veggies during the spring and summer.
Large trees and shrubs will compete for soil nutrients as well, so planning your site near trees will affect how many nutrients your vegetables will get. You always want great soil and it will need to be even more fertile if your garden site is near large trees. Perennial shrubs are not usually that much of a problem as they do not need as many nutrients and as much water as larger trees. Many attractive vegetable gardens use these shrubs as borders to attract beneficial insects to the vegetable patch.
Most gardeners do not have the ideal garden site; however, you can still grow a great vegetable garden with a little knowledge and desire. With the amount of sunlight plants need being such a big consideration, here is some more information on how much certain veggies need.
Here is a list of vegetables that do well with four to six hours of sunlight:
Vegetables that traditionally need more sunlight and warmth are the ones that produce fruit. These need as least eight hours of full sun to grow best:
No matter how large or small your garden site is, choosing an area that will get the most possible sunlight, has good drainage, and reasonably good soil will ensure you will have veggies to harvest.