new garden placement

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Old 01-13-01, 12:20 PM
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We have dug up our entire yard, re-landscaping so to speak and this year will be the first year I can have a true garden. My questions are. . where on the property is the best place to put this garden, how big should I make it, and do I go traditional 'in-ground' or a raised bed? I do not have the time or conviction to weed a garden so does anyone have hints for this as well.
 
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Old 01-14-01, 02:05 PM
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It depends on a lot of things!

What kind of garden do you want? Vegetables? Annuals beds? Perennial beds? Shrubs? Trees? All these things can be in a garden.

I'll assume for the moment that you mean vegetable. For this type of garden, you will need full sun (southern exposure). In my yard, I would pick the sunniest spot. The size is entirely dependent on you. Some people have tiny gardens, some have huge. To decide what you want, you'll need to do some research. I would try to plan out a garden that you will find to be typical for you. List the plants that you want. Look them up and find out how far apart they have to be. Decide how many of each plant you would like. Chart all this out on paper. They don't have to stay exactly where you decided on paper (in fact it's best to rotate every year), but you're trying to get the size here. Once you have that estimate, you can dig. It might be good to leave the edges of the garden such that you can expand later if you see fit. Or, you can also incorporate your veggies into your other landscaping (I've seen this done with a very nice effect - who knew eggplant could be so dramatic!)

To reduce weeds (and watering too), you'll need to cover with some sort of mulch. Many people put down the black material available at home centers, but I don't like that because it doesn't add anything to my soil. This is what I do: After killing/removing all weeds, I cover the soil with a few layers of newspaper. Then I cover this with a few inches of wheat straw. The straw does have a few wheat seeds in it that do come up, but they are easy to pull early in the season. Thereafter, I just add new straw every year, as the old straw gets broken down into the soil. This has eliminated the need to weed, and really cuts down on the watering (and looks nice, too!)

Whether you grow in the ground or use raised beds depends on your style. Raised beds are a little more formal. However, you have to add topsoil (a not nice thing for mother Earth - it has to come from somewhere, you know), and the frames can get in the way if you want to get in there with machinery or wheelbarrows or expand your garden (which I seem to do every year).

You can ammend your soil just as well in (if not more easily) the ground, and you won't worry about damaging frames as you work.

An in-between look is to use some sort of edging. In my garden, I offset it from the lawn with wooden edging that I made myself using 1x6 boards, screwing them to small wooden stakes that I hammared into the ground. I did this to keep the mulch/straw in the garden and the creeping grass on the outside. It does add a bit of a formal effect, too. If I need to get through with a wheelbarrow or something, I can just pull them up without losing my soil. You could also use stones, bricks... the list is unending.
 
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