Now is the time for site selection and preparation of your fall garden

September 13, 2013

Image courtesy Walton County Extension office.
Image courtesy Walton County Extension office.

Vegetable garden placement is a crucial part of the garden planning process. Proper site selection will be a determining factor in its success. The Walton County Extension office has a few suggestions to help plan a successful garden:
• The garden should be placed in a convenient location near the house so it will be easier to tend. It also needs to be located near a good water source
• The gardener should determine how well drained the soil is in the area and make sure that the soil is not compacted
• If it is compacted, the gardener will need to add an extra step: Tilling will be needed to lessen the compaction of the soil and help the plants’ root zone reach out into the soil to get necessary nutrients
• The garden needs to be located in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily
• Vegetable plants may be placed in the landscape with ornamental plants
• Sites along coastal areas are also suitable places for gardens
• When possible, rotate the placement of specific vegetables from place to place to prevent soil diseases and other pests of specific crops from becoming established
• Develop a vegetable garden plan which includes the plant names, their location, and the dates they were planted
• Consult your local UF / IFAS Extension office to obtain the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide, which lists specific planting dates, row spacing and preference of direct seeding or transplanting for most crops
• If direct seeding the garden, start seeds 4 to 6 weeks  before planting date to allow time for them to grow before transplanting.

Eddie Powell is the residential Horticulturalist at the Walton County Extension office.  He educates residents of Walton County who are unfamiliar with growing certain landscape and vegetable plants that grow in north Florida. The Extension office provides homeowners with information about why a good looking healthy lawn is important. Teaching proper fertilization and irrigation practices for successful backyard gardening and container gardening. For more information, go to: http://walton.ifas.ufl.edu