Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox www.quotegarden.com/gardens.html Last modified 2015 Jan 18 Sun 14:39 PST
Map out your property
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Mapping out your new garden location is the very first thing you need to consider in order to get the best growing results. Natural weather conditions are different everywhere and must be in your thoughts when finding to your new garden spot. My home town of Mesa Arizona is no exception to this rule. Often when discussing this location process a strange story comes to mind. As some of you are aware it can get pretty windy out here on the western desert. Especially with all us bean eaten, gardening cowboys, but I regress. A previous yesterday was one of these windy type days.
The wind was howling and the tumble weeds were tumbling. I was out on my route delivering mail, as you also know besides being the fatboy farmer, I’m a mail carrier. I deliver mail to all types of people. I have an eccentric (crazy) lady on my route. She has a bunch of cats so I call her the cat lady. This lady is nuts! One day during a wind storm she was out with a weed whacker trimming her hedges. The cats were playing all over. The wind was extremely loud as I approached with her mail for delivery. She didn’t notice I was behind her. Startled, she turned around with the weed whacker still running. As she turned the end of the whacker met one of her cats. It slices her cat’s tail right off. It was still wiggling on the ground as she screamed frantically. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She let out a scream saying” You need to take me to Home Depot right away”. As I knew she is a bit crazy I asked “Are you sure you want me to take you to Home Depot?” She screeched yes! I know where I want to go! Home Depot is Arizona’s largest re-tailors! I shook my head and thought, just another day on the job. Hop in!
I know what you’re thinking. How does this tall tail fit in with mapping out your property? Nature’s elements, earth wind and fire of course. More specifically wind for now. I feel wind is an important aspect to consider while starting a garden and arguable just as important as the amount of sunlight a plot gets. Wind often controls temperature and has effects on keeping plants upright. Wind can be broke by trees and other barriers but depending on what type of garden you want to grow, wind can have negative or positive effects. Which way does the wind hit the optimum areas for your future garden bed to add needed pollination air flow? Throughout the day take a look at your available area. Which way does the wind blow? Does the direction change with the seasons?
Other things to consider may be where does the sun rise and set during your growing seasons? If you have a heavy rain, where would the rain water flow? Though capturing excessive rain fall may be a great advantage, avoiding flooding areas and septic tank leach field areas are probably a good idea. These are some things to consider when choosing a garden spot. Starting with a smaller garden area also may be a good idea to help decide if you picked the correct location. You don’t want to have to move a garden that’s too big. Regardless to where you pick, you will end up with micro climates. Micro climates are small areas where it may get hotter, wetter or stay drier. Remembering these areas can be beneficial. You may grow specific plants of your choosing in these spots. Some of your favorite vegetables like eggplant and peppers may like the weather on the hot side; while lettuces’ and broccoli may like their temperatures cooler.
It is sometimes helpful to prepare a garden area the season before you intend to use it. This gives you plenty of time to get things right. However, if you’re like the majority of us, you probably want to get started immediately on that first spring day. After you choose your garden spot, you may find it helpful to rope off the area with an old hose, ropes or stakes. Next, rake any rocks away and make a clear working environment. You definitely don’t want to twist an ankle or risk another injury because you are not taking the time needed to clear your area.
Throughout my gardening years I have found plants usually grow in any type of dirt. Plants always seem to somehow find the nutrients needed to fuel their growth. The ones that grow best in specific areas are specialists for that type of dirt. So called weeds are living proof. As I said earlier, my first garden was in the rocky clay, untreated soils of Staten Island. The vegetables from that old garden as a child were amazing and enough to get me hooked on gardening forever. This being said, I have found my soil to be the most important ingredient in making my garden mud pie. Soil is the life blood to a plants success. Love and pamper your soil and your soil will repay you with nutritious fruit, herbs and vegetables.