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Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Choose the Best Garden Site (Video)

garden area full of raised beds

Are you looking to start a vegetable garden, or expand your current garden? Before you dig in, you’ll need to decide on the best garden site to achieve excellent harvests. Consider these factors as you choose your ideal garden location:

Sun and shade. Choose an open, sunny spot for most crops. Not that some, such as leafy salads and chives, are fine in partial shade. In cooler climates, a suntrap is ideal for tender crops. In hot climates, some crops may need to be grown under shade cloth or in the shadows of taller plants.

Airflow. Solid walls or fences can cause the wind to form destructive turbulence on the leeward side. Hedges and open or woven fences filter the wind and provide good airflow, promoting sturdy growth in your plants and suppressing fungal diseases and some pests.

Water. Locate your new garden beds conveniently close to an outdoor water source. Soil can be too dry next to walls and fences, and under overhanging trees, for good plant growth.

Frost. Frost pockets can damage young growth and prevent successful early sowings. Cold air sinks to the lowest part of the garden and pools against obstructions, such as fences.

Garden planning help. Our Garden Planner can help you rearrange objects and plants until you achieve the perfect layout for your garden conditions.

Learn more about choosing the best garden site and optimal garden arrangements in this video.

More Resources

Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.

Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

More Videos

Watch more videos on growing food and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.


Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and also runs Stonegrass Farms Soap Co. in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.