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Cass County Extension

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Selecting a Garden Site

If you haven't had a vegetable garden before, now is the time to start thinking about site selection. Probably the most important factor to consider in selecting a site is good full sunlight. All vegetables do better in sunny locations than they would in the shade. If the only spot you have for a garden is a shady area, remember that leafy vegetables can stand more shade than root vegetables; and root vegetables will do better in the shade than vegetables fruit plants such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.

Locate your garden near your home so you can work in it if you have a few free minutes. Having it close to home also makes it easier to water, if necessary and handy when you need a couple onions or a bunch of radishes for supper. If possible, a garden should not be located near the trees and shrubs in your yard. Not only do these larger plants compete for the sunlight but they will gobble up the food and water necessary for healthy vegetables.

Now that you've selected a site for your new garden, remove all the stones, sticks, litter and general trash from the area. After the frost has gone out of the ground and the site has dried up enough to work, either spray the area with Roundup or remove the sod from your future garden site . If you have any dead or sparse areas in your lawn, you may want to take the sod and patch these spots. The remaining sod can be put into a compost pile for future use as organic matter.

The next step is to add an even layer of organic matter or commercial fertilizer to the garden area. Organic matter may be rotted manure, compost, leaves or grass clippings. A shallow roto-tilling or spading (4-6 inches deep) is the last step in preparing your garden for planting.

Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707

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