Beginning a Garden - Choosing the Location

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Welcome to your very first step in planning for your garden, choosing the location! This is an exciting place to be, the beginning of your adventure into gardening! For some, this task is relatively easy; for others, it can be a challenge in simply committing to a particular spot.  Most of the questions we see are, Is it sunny enough?  Do I have good soil?  And, most frequently, How do I even start?  Although several factors need to be considered, we are going to try to keep this as simple as possible and provide some key elements of consideration.

vegetable garden

First, pick a location that has an abundance of sunshine.   Many plants, particularly vegetables, need plenty of sun throughout the day.  The overall recommendation is an average of at least 8 hours of full sun.   Keep in mind that the sun sets in varying locations throughout the year, and once trees leaf out, more shade may fall upon your garden plot.  Keep a watchful eye on different areas that you have in mind in helping to decide the optimal location.  Also, watch your shadows, mainly if it is close to your house or a tree line as the sun can be blocked as the sun is in different positions throughout the day. 

Next, and although this can be critical, so many don't realize the importance of this factor.  But, it's the factor of convenience.  If your location is not within sight - out of sight can become out of mind.  When your garden is easy to get to and see, you will naturally spend more time tending to it lending to its success. 

garden location blue clouds

garden location

backyard swingset


Third, soil quality is imperative.  Healthy soil = healthy plants.  To grow an abundance of nutritious vegetables, you want the perfect combination of fertile soil that drains well.   One thing that is always recommended is obtaining a soil test by your local extension office.  They are often free or offered at a relatively low cost.  This will assess the soil and provide recommendations on amendments if needed. 

vegetable garden

Then you must consider a water source.  There are several ways to help keep your plants thriving and hydrated, including mulch - however, between rain showers, you will more often than not need to spend time watering.  Having a water source nearby is imperative.   The more convenient, the easier it will be to utilize. 

water hose

water sprinkler

These are some key but very simple steps.  Next up in our series will be what type of garden bed will work best for you.  We will be exploring traditional in-ground beds, raised garden beds, and even containers.  

Beginning a Garden

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Mansfield, AR 72944, USA
For years, we have worked with numerous customers during the purchase process of our greenhouses; all had a similar goal in mind, but all were coming from different levels of gardening experience.  Some simply wanted a greenhouse to hobby garden and over-winter their plants.  Some utilized it for their business by growing seedlings to sell, or seedlings to plant either by way of vegetables or cut-flower farms. And, some found themselves wanting one to be more self-reliant, some with and some without gardening experience. 

carrots vegetable gardening

We have had an influx of calls and questions from those wanting to start a garden over the past few weeks - so, we are launching a series here on the blog for beginning gardeners.  Today, we will touch a bit on the history of the garden and why we see such a resurgence.   Over the month, we will cover all things gardening - from selecting your location, soil, seedlings, and everything in between, ending with a garden harvest.  But, then, expanding your garden inside your greenhouse to provide fresh vegetables throughout the winter months.

A lot has changed in our world recently and at a fast pace.  We have witnessed an explosion in the gardening world.  "Our country and the entire world are being challenged in a way we have never experienced.  In response, many Americans are taking appropriate measures by cocooning at home and are striving to be more self-reliant for as much of their own fresh food as possible," stated Tom Johns, President of Territorial Seed Company.  

vegetable garden

We personally grow our seedlings in our greenhouse and then harden them before planting into our garden.  Now more than ever,  people are eager to grow their own food.  And, often, this will be the first time they've endeavored to do so.   

Whether it's out of a need or want to grow their own food, or simply a new hobby to busy themselves while being at home more, the gardening world is active. Even before the recent events with COVID19, we have witnessed this old idea and practice resurfacing.  Schools have been implementing gardening classes as almost a lost art and essential life skill.  States and businesses are recognizing a need for this and are providing grants. Families are learning that a farm or huge garden plot isn't needed;  food in abundance can be grown in containers scatted about a patio.  There are so many ways to make this dream a reality. 

tomato vegetable gardening

Currently, there is a massive pull toward family gardening.  Seed suppliers are reporting record-breaking sales. Online seed and garden suppliers have had to shut down online ordering systems to replenish and keep up with the demand.  The reports are numerous; people want to start a garden as soon as possible.   

While life has slowed a bit for some of us, gardening is proving to be relaxing and recreational, but also therapeutic. It's allowing such a positive experience for families to work together when so many are home together now.  And, the reward can be bountiful in more ways than one. From a historical perspective, gardens have been an essential foundation for our country during trying times. From the Liberty Gardens of WWI and the Victory Gardens of WWII - gardens have been something Americans have turned to time and time again.  "As the war ended, and gardens took over American backyards, those earnest posters of cheery home gardeners and fierce-looking vegetables became a relic of wartime scarcity - until a few weeks ago." said the New York Times the first week of spring.  

According to Tamasin Pemberton, from Perennial Harvest, she admitted that enthusiasm had been a little lackluster until now.  "The pandemic seemed to have prompted an overdue revival," she said, and a chance to share her passion with an audience who were really listening.  It's a lot of people in their 30s and 40s with young families.  People who are really keen but haven't got any experience whatsoever.  It has touched on people's fears about food security - they've seen how bare the shelves are."  

For those raised on farms or with parents or grandparents who were avid gardeners, growing a garden may be in your DNA.  But, with our recent influx of questions from beginning gardeners, we wanted to give you a basic plan to start your garden for the first time in this series.  Our next post will cover selecting your location and getting it ready.   We hope you will return and follow this series!   

tomato vegetable gardening

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