How should I select a garden?
There are many things to consider when choosing a garden site. One consideration is simply where to place the garden. The answer will vary according to your situation and what you desire to grow. I have seen people who have incorporated gardens into their landscaping. I call this edible landscaping. Edible plants can be incorporated in among many traditional flowers and bushes. Thia interplanting allows for pest control and confusion.
So on to the more traditional gardening types.
One method that I like is the raised bed method of gardening. Raised beds can vary in length to suit a particular situation. They tend to be three or four feet wide, which allows for weeding from either side. A person can weed to the middle of the raised bed from either side. An advantage of raised bed gardening is drainage. Another advantage is that they have a small footprint. This means that they can be tucked into small spaces and catered to fit small areas that are available. Still another advantage is that they have very deep, loose soil. This allows for deep root penetration. In the end, that plants may be healthier as a result of having more extensive root systems.
I modified this system and made what I refer to as strip gardens. I took 50 foot long strips of sod and dug them up in four foot wide sections. I then began to pile on the compost and other soil amendments. This gave me a raised bed type garden. I was able to add soil as I went. In this system, I was able to eliminate the walking paths that serve to compact the soil near the plants. I eventually elected to fill in the areas in between the strips.
Finally, on to a more traditional garden. Our garden is about 60 feet long by 50 feet wide. We elected to go this route as we are now able to plant rows of corn and bean in whatever configuration that we choose. We lay out our corn in rows separated by 30 inches. The beans go in rows that are 24 inches apart. We are then able to grow cucumbers, zucchini, and other plants where we want them.
The ideal site should be sunny (at least 8 hours of sunlight per day). It is ideal for it to be flat or sloped slightly to the south. In our area, it is best to have a wind break to the west and north. This prevents the corn from blowing over later in the summer when the big storms tend to roll in. We have our small orchard and berry patch to the West, which seems to keep the corn upright.