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Where to place a garden

 
greenhorn
Posts: 70
Location: West Central Georgia
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We're looking at new properties, and things being what they are, likely a small garden will be all I can manage for now.  If I have a clearing in the middle of tall, mature hardwoods, do I want a plot off to a particular side?  Downhill?  Uphill?

Property 1 is raw, long (236ish ft. x 811ish ft.), western facing slope at about 30 degrees.  5 acres--the world is your oyster.  But you have to build a 4 bedroom, 2000 sq. ft. house on it...
Property 2 has about 1/2 an acre cleared, but part of it slopes 45 degrees, west by northwest.  There are high and low spots that are relatively level, though.  It has an small existing plot at the highest point, which is the southeast corner.
Property 3 has a little .1 acre clearing on the eastern side, relatively level, high ground.  There's also about .5 acres in the back, that is on a lake, but pretty gently sloping.  

We're in Georgia, so I think we typically want morning sun and afternoon shade, right?  So isn't putting plots along the northwestern side of a woods-edged clearing best?  
Is low ground a big deal as long as drainage continues downhill?

So for #1, I'd want to terrace a plot in the middle?
For #2 a plot in the northwest part of the clearing (which is also downhill)?
For #3, it's harder to tell.  The little clearing seems pretty shaded, so maybe the northern edge of the property?  It would get eastern sun for sure, but maybe a little western shade.

Am I thinking about all of this right, or do I have it all backwards?  I welcome any input!
 
sheriff
Posts: 3594
Location: West Tennessee
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Hi Emily!

Being a long time gardener, my suggestion to you is plan the garden in an area with maximum sunlight exposure. I'm going to make a guess that your garden will include common garden favorites like tomatoes, squash, peppers and melons to name just a few, along with perhaps some perennials like maybe berry bushes or raspberry canes. All of these do best in full, all day sun.

I once had a couple 8 foot tall bean and pea trellises running in a north/south direction, which meant they cast a large shadow in the morning and afternoon, and my short garden vegetables that spent half a day in these shadows did not grow very well compared to being in full day sun. I since re-oriented my trellises to run in an east/west direction so they only cast a skinny shadow now. It's just one of those little things I've learned thru experience and won't do again.

If you do plant some things like spinach and lettuce or brassicas which can be less tolerant of full sun, especially varieties sown in the springtime that are maturing in May or even the beginning of June when the sun is getting high in the sky, it is easy to provide localized shade for such crops to prevent sun scald.
 
sheriff
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Tree roots sap the moisture and nutrients from a garden. I would site a new garden as far away from trees as possible. Right in the middle of a clearing for example. And, no closer to trees than the height of the tree. So if the nearby trees are 50 feet tall, then I wouldn't put a garden within 50 feet of them. I concur with James regarding getting maximum sun exposure.

 
greenhorn
Posts: 38
Location: ne kansas
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dont have any experience with your climate , however here in ne ks. any sun after 2 or 3 in the afternoon is not good. the july august sun will cook the tomatos on the vine.
 
Emily Smith
greenhorn
Posts: 70
Location: West Central Georgia
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Tree roots sap the moisture and nutrients from a garden. I would site a new garden as far away from trees as possible. Right in the middle of a clearing for example. And, no closer to trees than the height of the tree. So if the nearby trees are 50 feet tall, then I wouldn't put a garden within 50 feet of them. I concur with James regarding getting maximum sun exposure.



This isn't possible on property #2.  The trees are TALL and on all sides.  The clearing isn't wider than the trees on each side are tall (put together).  Hope that makes sense.
 
Marshal
Posts: 2465
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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"We're looking at new properties, and things being what they are, likely a small garden will be all I can manage for now.  If I have a clearing in the middle of tall, mature hardwoods, do I want a plot off to a particular side?  Downhill?  Uphill? "

Here, we have soaking rains at spring and fall planting times. In my situation, my home is up slope from the garden. While leaching fields above a garden are not toxic for it, the contour of the land causes the soil of half my desired site to be too wet for growing during the planting seasons. My seed just rots.

"We're in Georgia, so I think we typically want morning sun and afternoon shade, right?  So isn't putting plots along the northwestern side of a woods-edged clearing best?"


As for sun, and shade, plants requiring "full sun" only need six hours of it. Will you get this much with your afternoon shade?

"Is low ground a big deal as long as drainage continues downhill?"

It depends. My too wet for planting land continues in about a 3% slope, still downhill. The drier side is closer to 6% slope. Both areas drain into under an 1/8th acre pond which flows out to the watershed.


Ooops! % means DEGREES!
 
greenhorn
Posts: 28
Location: South Appalachia zone 7a
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Emily Smith wrote:We're looking at new properties, and things being what they are, likely a small garden will be all I can manage for now.  If I have a clearing in the middle of tall, mature hardwoods, do I want a plot off to a particular side?  Downhill?  Uphill?

Property 1 is raw, long (236ish ft. x 811ish ft.), western facing slope at about 30 degrees.  5 acres--the world is your oyster.  But you have to build a 4 bedroom, 2000 sq. ft. house on it...
Property 2 has about 1/2 an acre cleared, but part of it slopes 45 degrees, west by northwest.  There are high and low spots that are relatively level, though.  It has an small existing plot at the highest point, which is the southeast corner.
Property 3 has a little .1 acre clearing on the eastern side, relatively level, high ground.  There's also about .5 acres in the back, that is on a lake, but pretty gently sloping.  

We're in Georgia, so I think we typically want morning sun and afternoon shade, right?  So isn't putting plots along the northwestern side of a woods-edged clearing best?  
Is low ground a big deal as long as drainage continues downhill?

So for #1, I'd want to terrace a plot in the middle?
For #2 a plot in the northwest part of the clearing (which is also downhill)?
For #3, it's harder to tell.  The little clearing seems pretty shaded, so maybe the northern edge of the property?  It would get eastern sun for sure, but maybe a little western shade.

Am I thinking about all of this right, or do I have it all backwards?  I welcome any input!






I’m in Georgia (North Georgia). Im on year three of my food forest. My land has a southern sloping exposure (getting the most sun year round) and I have my fenced annual garden terraced into the hill side, in the middle of the 4 acres where there is the best amount of moisture and good drainage. The well is next to the garden and  the house (2b1ba) is terraced below the fenced annual garden. Our soil vaies throughout the 4 acres, very rich organic to rocky dry clay. Choose based on soil quality, and my garden happened to be where the moisture and drainage was optimal.
Shade can be built with canopy trees and windbreaks and hedges even.
We have rolling slopes, and a few hundred acres of creeks and woods adjacent on one side that bring lots of wildlife and diversity on to my property. So keeping the  garden and some favorite blueberry bushes  close to the house is a good idea.
Hope this helped you!
I would focus on soil quality around the area and begin to select native wild trees already established and fill into the spaces with contoured swales to feed the soil  “where water runs make it walk”, and soil building with free local mulch. My telephone company has free wood chip piles.
 
greenhorn
Posts: 25
Location: Nevada City, CA
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Maybe this article would be of help in locating a garden on a specific site:

Choosing the Best Location for your Farm or Garden

This eBook will help you pick between the properties:

Finding Land for a Permaculture Homestead or Farm
 
rancher
Posts: 1388
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I think drawing (hand drawing!!!) a plan of your property is always a good idea. Here's a very easy way to print out a scaled plan of your property: https://mountainherbs.net/blogs/news/how-to-print-a-scaled-base-plan-of-your-property
Some veggies like all leaves need less sun. I would stay away from trees too, you could maybe plant some hedgerow there?
 
Marshal
Posts: 2947
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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This may sound like as known fact ... I would suggest deciding on where to place the house first.  

 But you have to build a 4 bedroom, 2000 sq. ft. house on it...



Then decide on the areas left for the garden.  You would want the garden to be close to your water source.
 
Angelika Maier
rancher
Posts: 1388
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Ann that is a realy good thought. Houses are not planned with the garden in mind. What a pity!
 
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