If you are planning a vegetable garden around your house, like everybody else with similar aspirations, you’d want to get the most out of your garden. A bountiful harvest at the right time makes all your efforts worthwhile. You have to ensure things are rightly done, not to sabotage your plans.
One variable that would be a major determinant to the bottom line as far as vegetable gardening goes is the direction the garden faces. Everybody knows the amount of sunlight plants get is vital to their growth. This makes what side of the house to plant garden an important consideration before embarking on the project.
This guide is a comprehensive look at all the variables that come into play when choosing the side of the house to locate your garden. So before digging in with your spade or hoe and dropping your seeds in the soil, you need to take time out and take a good look at the factors discussed here as they relate to that patch of land that would soon become your favorite garden.
What Side Of The House To Plant Garden
As you would discover in a bit, how much sun the garden gets throughout the day is just one of so many things to consider. The assumption here is you have enough land to grow a decent amount of vegetables. So let’s get to it.
Amount of Daily sunlight
What you are looking for is the side of the house that gets the most sunlight daily. A minimum of six hours of sunlight daily is the minimum requirement.
When it comes to getting the most sunlight, there is a difference between where a garden should face between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, a South-facing garden is recommended to get the most sunlight. So if it’s possible, the garden should be located on the south side of the house.
Conversely, if you live in a place like Australia (Southern Hemisphere), a North-facing garden or one ( the north side of your house) is the way to go.
The orientation of your garden rows when you are ready to start planting must also conform to this simple principle. The rows must run in a north-south direction to optimize the amount of light the plants get.
Also important is the amount of spacing between rows. You need to allow for proper spacing between the rows. The ‘right’ spacing, though, is usually tied to the type of vegetables or plants you are growing. For instance, if you intend to grow a mix of crops that include tall plants, you’ll need to ensure, with proper spacing, that the full-grown plant doesn’t cast shadows over the smaller plants in the garden.
Shade: Keep the garden away from the house
As a rule, you want to locate the garden at least 10 feet away from the walls of the house. Gardens that are too close to the house would suffer the ill effects of shadows cast by the structure.
As well as being less productive, garden vegetables exposed to excessive shade as a result of being too close to the house are susceptible to insect damage and plant diseases when compared to veggies exposed to more sunlight.
Gardening options for less than 6 hours of sunlight
If it’s impossible to locate the garden were daily sunlight hours tops 6 hours, you don’t have to drop your plans if you really want that garden. But your crops’ profile would have to change to vegetables that thrive with less than 6 hours of sunlight daily.
In a shady location with between 3 – 4 hours of sunlight per day, you could consider planting vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, bok choy, broccoli, chard, and arugula. The output from these greens at harvest time is very reasonable even with the shaded location.
You could also plant root crops that come good with daily sunlight of between 4 and 6 hours. These include beets, carrots, and potatoes.
Other factors to consider
Now you know what side of the house to plant the garden, there are a few more things you have to make sure are in place before proceeding. Actually, most of them are germane to the planning stage.
Availability of water
Plants need water, obviously. Here is the deal, you don’t want your garden to be too far away from your water source. Even if you have a long garden hose, the garden might ultimately become neglected if the gardening chores include dragging your hose over 20 feet daily.
An easier fix is to locate the garden close to a water spigot. If this doesn’t sync with other criteria for garden location, you can go the whole nine yards by running a permanent hose (or pipe) from the water source to the garden. This is a one-time project that takes care of water supply for as long as you have the garden.
Naturally, if you have a well on the property, that makes everything a whole lot easier. Simply plant your garden near the pump so that watering is just a matter of hooking directly into the well.
Adequate Air Flow
Your garden must be situated in a place where the flow of air is not impeded so the garden, and invariably the plants, can breathe. In your chosen side of the house, avoid places with dense vegetation especially if you don’t want to cut down the existing plants.
Air circulation is not optimal in places with dense vegetation. This may feel like a small issue but veteran gardeners know how important this is in preventing the outbreak of mildew and molds. These diseases would kill your plants. And the worst part is, they spread easily.
On the other hand, you might be concerned about too much wind damaging your plants. A simple fix is to build a garden wall. This works perfectly as it prevents harmful winds from doing damage to your crops while allowing enough air for the garden to breathe properly.
Flat ground is very important
Gardeners understand how essential flat ground is to a garden project. The reason is simple; on sloping ground, water runs down the slope when the garden is being watered. This leads to a waste of water while also depriving the plants of adequate water.
It gets even worse during rainstorms. The garden can easily get washed away by running water.
So if your preferred spot is not flat, you’ll have to rectify it one way or the other. Or you can select a different patch of land that is relatively flat.
Do a simple soil test
Soil type can make or mar your garden project. The soil test determines the suitability of the soil for planting. Basically, where you locate the garden must have a decent soil that can support plants.
The test is very simple. Drench your chosen spot with water and leave it for a day. Then, pack a handful of the soil and compress it by squeezing very hard. Open your hand.
If the compressed soil falls apart or disintegrates immediately after opening your hand, the soil is certainly too sandy for decent gardening. But if it falls apart slowly in clumps, then your soil is good to go.
That said, a sandy soil confirmation doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. You could enrich the sandy soil with about 4 inches of organic matter like really-rotted manure. Finished compost is also excellent for enriching soils.
Before you start digging…
You’ll need to call the local authorities for permission especially if you live in an urban area. This is important because you could hit and damage a buried utility line if one was laid through your property. This could be a water line, electric cables, or even a gas line.
And you know how fatal it can get when an electric line is struck while digging a garden.
For a home garden to be at its optimal best, one factor that mustn’t be ignored is its location relative to the house. This is mostly about making sure the garden is exposed to as much sunshine as possible since plants thrive best when they get at least 6 hours of sunshine daily.
In the Northern hemisphere, it is recommended that gardens are situated on the south side of the house. Here the garden is exposed to the largest amount of sunlight daily when the sun passes overhead. On the other hand, gardens in the southern hemisphere must be located on the north side of the house for the same reason.
Also, the garden must be placed at least 10 feet from the house to avoid the shade. If possible, efforts must be made to ensure no tall trees are shading the plants from the sun.