There are many things to consider when siting your garden. Ultimately for growing veggies you will want as much sun as possible. This means that you may need to consider putting a garden in a location such as your front yard. That is not always an easy sell to a landlord or your significant other. If you don’t have full sun, don’t worry. Some things will be better suited for your location than others. Gardening is experimental and demands patience. It will take time to get to know your garden, the soil, and the plants. Pay close attention to what is happening and learn!
The following image shows a neighborhood with ok, good, and best options.
OK=Site that gets partial shade throughout the day
GOOD=Site that gets full sun either only the morning or only in the afternoon (6hrs of sun)
BEST=Site gets full sun all day.
The first steps in identifying where to put your garden are:
1. Know where the sun rises and sets.
2. Observe where there are shadows at different times of the day.
Once you understand how the sun travels across the sky and where shadows are you need to consider that the sun rises and sets slightly different each day. On the summer solstice (June 20) the sun rises slightly in the NE and sets slightly NW. From that date until the winter solstice (Dec 21) the sun will rise and set slighlty further south each day. On the winter solstice the sun rise and sun set will be in the SE and SW. You need to understand this because the shadows will shift as we go through the growing season. You need to image where the shadows could be in August and place your garden accordingly.
The next image shows a residence and identifies some possible problem areas.
TOO SHADY=Underneath two trees the site will not get much sun. Some things may grow here, but they probably will not thrive.
TOO HOT=This site is too close to the south side of the house next to a big window. The sun will reflect off the window and heat will radiate off the house and sidewalk. Most plants will not grow well here.
TOO DRY=Underneath and too close to a large tree. The site will receive sun in the afternoon, but digging a garden here you will encounter lots of roots. In addition large trees require lots of water and often times they will suck the water away from a garden. This site would require extra watering.
Hopefully this helps you in your decision making process. Again, gardening is a learning process that involves lots of trial and error. Don't be discouraged. We will keep posting videos and resources to help you along the way. Look for our post on container gardens later this week.