A home vegetable garden does not have to be an ugly spot in your home surroundings. A thoughtfully planned and carefully planted vegetable garden adds a harmonious touch to your home that no shrubs or flowers can produce.

When selecting a spot for a vegetable garden, make sure you take into account the amount of sunlight the spot receives and the convenience. The area should be easily accessible so that when you vegetables start growing, you can access them without the plants without too much ado. In addition, you would not like to have soaking feet trying to get to the vegetable garden.

When selecting a spot, look for space that is out of the chilling north and northeast winds. The best spot will be one that is sloping a little to the south or east so that it catches sunshine early and holds it until late. If there is a fence or building protecting the patch, it will help your garden tremendously. If there is now fence or building, think about putting a fence or a hedge.

When you select a spot for your garden, the chances are high that the soil will not be ready to use. Most soils can be brought to a high degree of productiveness so do not get disheartened. Once you treat the soil with fertilizer and nutrients, you can be sure that you will get a rich yield provided you are a careful gardener.

The ideal garden soil is rich sandy loam. This type of soil is made and not found. When we say rich, we mean that there is plenty of plant food available for the vegetable plants. You will have to cultivate it and use manure to make the soil in your patch rich. Sandy refers to the fact that there are enough sand particles in the soil to allow water to past through without leaving a sticky paste after a rain.

The great importance of the part the soil must play in every garden operation is therefore readily seen. In the first place, it is required to furnish all the plant food elements – some seven in number, beside the three, nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potassium, already mentioned. In the second, it must hold the moisture in which these foods must be either dissolved or suspended before plant roots can take them up.
The soil is naturally classified in two ways: first, as to the amount of plant food contained; second, as to its mechanical condition-the relative proportions of sand, decomposed stone and clay, of which it is made up, and also the degree to which it has been broken up by cultivation.

The approximate amount of available plant food already contained in the soil can be determined satisfactorily only by experiment. As stated, however, almost without exception they will need liberal manuring to produce good garden crops. I shall therefore not go further into the first classification of soils mentioned.
Of soils, according to their variation in mechanical texture, I shall mention only the three which the home gardener is likely to encounter.

Rocks are the original basis of all soils, and according to the degree of fineness to which they have been reduced, through centuries of decomposition by air, moisture and frost, they are known as gravely, sandy or clayey soils.

Clay Soils are stiff, wet, heavy and usually “cold.” For garden purposes, until properly transformed, they hold too much water, are difficult to handle, and are “late.” But even if there is no choice but a clay soil for the home garden, the gardener need not be discouraged. By proper treatment it may be brought into excellent condition for growing vegetables, and will produce some sorts, such as celery, better than any warm, light, “garden” soil. The first thing to do with the clay soil garden is to have it thoroughly drained. For the small amount of ground usually required for a home garden, this will entail no great expense. Under ordinary conditions, a half-acre garden could be under-drained for from $25 to $50–probably nearer the first figure.

Once these requisites for a home vegetable garden are fulfilled, you are all set to produce your own delicious vegetables.

Abhishek Agarwal

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