Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 2. Getting Started: Site Selection


Afternoon shadows will help on hot summer days!


So my last Blog post,  Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?, may have led you here. Or you just got lucky and found this on your own! Either way we are glad you have joined us. So you are ready to start a vegetable garden. I am going to walk you through step by step and make it real easy! Feel free to ask any questions along the way.

Site Selection:

So the first thing to do is evaluate what you have to work with. I want you to really look at your yard in a way you probably have not before. Choosing the right garden location in the beginning is going to make all the difference in your success! Determining what your yard has to offer will make a difference on what you can grow and how much. Do you have a small urban yard with limited choices or large acreage in the country? Do you have time to give a large garden the attention it needs or are you limited? If you have plenty of space and time then it will be easier to choose a location and size. Having a small space and limited time can be a great start for supplementing some of your favorite foods! Either way here are some basic points you must consider…

Sun vs Shade?

Most fruiting vegetables like tomatoes and peppers require a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Vegetables grown for leaf or root can tolerate and even appreciate a shadier location. Choosing a good sunny location requires you to observe the light at different times of day and year. So your first task is to spend some time looking at your yard and where any buildings or trees cast shadows. Keep in mind this will shift at different times of the year. Morning sun is very mild for plants and afternoon sun is more intense. Evaluate your prime light spots to narrow down a perfect location.

Moisture/Water Source

So while you are observing your natural light patterns it’s important to pay close attention to how water moves through your yard. When you have a heavy rain does it create a stream trough the middle? Does it puddle in one area? Or maybe you have a dry hill or slope? These will all impact your garden choice as well! Choosing a level location that has a balanced moisture level is key. Too wet and your plants will rot, too dry and you will spend all your time watering. You will need to have a water spigot close by or a natural source you can pump from (depending on your local laws) for a hose or irrigation line to connect to. Watering your garden easily is an important goal.


Do you have a truck that you will be bringing in compost on? How will it get to your garden? Is there a house, fence or tree in the way? Can you access the area with a wheelbarrow for easy clean up and maintenance? Can you walk to it easily on a daily basis for maintenance and harvest? How easy it is to get to your garden will play a role in future maintenance.

So once you take these factors into consideration you should now have a pretty good idea of the perfect location for your garden! This leads us to the next phase of this adventure! Are you ready to get dirty!? Follow along in our next post about Bed Preparation!

About Rose Duncan

I grew up in a homesteading family and have been on many life paths since then. Getting back to my roots has been a goal ever since leaving home. In the past five years I have become closer to where I want to be than ever. We grow and preserve most of our vegetables, have chickens for eggs and sometimes meat, and make most of our food from scratch. I have been a Professional Horticulturist for 15 years, I am also a Master Gardener, and a Certified Landscape Professional. I recently began being a stay at home mom. This big change will allow me to put even more attention into living off the land in a sustainable, organic way. We chose this lifestyle. It makes us feel good. We live closer to the earth and know our food comes from a clean, environmentally friendly, humane, healthy and affordable source. I have a passion for all of this and want to share it with others. So many people are curious about this way of life and want to learn more and my hope is that this blog will help them on their path and we can enjoy this journey together as a community. Feel free to contact me if you need any more information.

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