Where you position you vegetable garden, patch, allotment, or whatever you want to call it is very important for a few reasons. Firstly, most food crops need a good amount of sunlight to produce well and grow strong – food plants need a lot of energy to produce and it's the sun that provides most of it; secondly, if your plot isn't positioned in a handy area easy to access then it's less likely to be used as often as it should.
Some people think of the soil first and believe this is the most important part when it comes to growing fruit and vegetables but the truth is soil can easily be improved whereas the sun or physical location can't be changed at all. Therefore, whenever I'm sighting a new vegetable garden or food garden bed I think of sunlight and access – everything else is secondary.
How many hours of sunlight (minimum) should your vegetable garden get?
6 hours of direct sunlight per day is seen as the minimum for food plants to grow reasonably well. Personally, I would aim for 8 hours at least and this usually means creating your vegetable patch in an exclusive place on your property central and on its own away from large trees or other large sun blockers.
Less than 6 hours is possible for certain crops to grow ok but they won't usually thrive unless the sunlight they do get is really strong and perfectly positioned. In most cases, food crops exposed to limited or dappled light grow weak, get more pest and diseases, and just don't produce well enough to justify the effort.
I can usually tell if a person is serious about wanting to grow their own vegetables by where they insist their garden should go and if after I explain the above they still prefer "the shady spot out of the way behind the shed" then I know their heart's not really in it.
After all, growing your own vegetables is a lifestyle choice and although it's easy to do it still does take commitment if one is going to have reasonable success.
Why is easy access to your vegetable garden important?
There are several reasons why you should sight your vegetable patch where it can be accessed easily. We have our veggie patch right out the back door and central to the backyard – it's almost our showpiece just like a big family swimming pool would be… The main reason for this isn't for looks however, it's for convenience so crops can be easily harvested for mealtimes and it's not far out of our way to work in the garden because every good vegetable garden needs a little regular maintenance. Also, psychologically knowing your vegetables are growing close by means you'll be more inclined to eat them and this is particularly true with kids whereby it has been shown those children familiar with vegetable gardens tend to eat healthier than those who aren't.
Another reason for sighting the vegetable garden close by the house is security – animals and birds are less likely to frequent the garden if you are around or nearby and if they do venture in to steal your greens you'll have a better chance of seeing them. Having said that, close proximity to your house won't guarantee animals will keep away but it does help a little… Let's face it a garden full of crunchy, fresh, organic, tasty produce is a pretty tempting place for a critter!
So that's about it – short and sweet – the best place to position a vegetable garden is where it will receive a lot of sunlight (preferably over 6 hours) and also where it can be easily accessed, which ideally is right out your back or front door.