The next part of gardening involves figuring out where to place your bed or beds. Once again there are many things to take into consideration. The last of which is soil condition . That is the one and only thing with gardening that is relatively easy to change and fix. Everything else is pretty set in stone once you decide where the garden is going to be.
The first and foremost thing to consider when planning where your gardens will be is the amount of sunlight the area gets. This is especially crucial if you plan to grow vegetables over the winter. You will want a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. If they don't get enough light, they won't bear as much and they'll be more susceptible to attack from insects or diseases. If you live in an area where the temperatures are milder, then you will want a garden that gets its maximum sunlight in the morning. If the summers are hot where you live, look for an area that gets some afternoon shade. A spot facing south is generally best. After you pick your garden spot, watch it for a few days to see how much sun it gets and that it is a suitable spot. If you don't have a spot in full sun, you can still grow many leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach and if you're in a hot-summer climate, cool-season varieties such as peas may do better in part shade. For help in figuring out the amount of sun an area gets, make a sun chart.
The next thing I would look at is water, not just in the availability of it but also drainage of your garden spot. Plants need well drained soil. They will not do well if every time it rains there is 6 inches of rain water puddling in the bed. This won't just bring you plant trouble but also bug and disease issues. A good way to test drainage is by soaking the soil with a hose, waiting a day, then digging up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil hard. If water streams out, you'll need to add compost or organic matter to improve it as the drainage is poor. As much as plants don't like living in puddles, most also do not do well with drought.If you want your garden to produce in bountiful supply, it will need lots of water, so be sure your plot is close to a reliable water source. The last thing you want to do is to carry many buckets of water to your garden every day. Ask me how i know this .
Success in the garden starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. To get the best idea of what sort of soil you are starting with go back to the soil drainage test and pick up another hand full of soil . Next, open your hand. If the soil hasn't formed a ball, or if the ball falls apart at the slightest touch, your soil is probably sandy. (Add organic matter to improve sandy soil.) If the ball holds together even if you poke it fairly hard, you have too much clay in your soil. (Organic matter improves clay soil, too.) If the ball breaks into crumbs when you poke it, your soil is ideal. I would also suggest soil samples before planting, but will go more into that later.
Now is the time to start composting your own kitchen scraps, making a compost pile and looking for local sources of organic material to add to your gardens. Check with local farms, your municipality and in the newspaper for compost that is either for sale or being given away. Many towns and cities now have composting facilities and you can get the compost for next to nothing. Your garden adventure should not cost you an arm and half of your leg to get going. Place a craigs list ad or a free cycle ad in search of cheap or free if you load, compost. If you have room for a couple of bunnies they can be a great fertilizer source for your garden. Unlike most animal dung, bunny poop can go directly on beds. Setting up a worm bin is also cheap and easy to do and has many great benefits for your garden. Think about ways that you can make your own amendments on site rather than relying on a store to supply them for you . The more you can do for yourself the better off you and yours will be.
Next up will be working on the garden beds.