How to Pick the Right Garden Spot

Whether your yard is large or small, sunny or slightly shady, or even if you have no yard at all, you can carve out a garden spot.

In place of grass. Covering an area on your lawn with newspapers or black plastic kills grass and allows you to plant vegetables. Start with a small plot this year; expand next.

As front-yard decor. If your sunniest spot is in front of your home, plant veggies and herbs among flowers and shrubs. Put in a fruit tree or edible shrubs, such as raspberries, blueberries or currants.

Outside the back door. Plant a kitchen garden near the door and include a few favorite herbs and veggies. As you prepare dinner, step out to pick what’s ripe.

On the patio or balcony. Select large pots or a planting system, fill with potting soil or a soilless mixture, choose patio-type plants (tomatoes, berries) and water daily. An advantage: Move the pots to follow the sun.

In a few square feet. Following a square-foot gardening system provides big yields, as you methodically squeeze many plant varieties into a small space. Learn more at

Vertically. Grow plants on trellises, cages, pergolas or up the side of a wall. Think cukes, grapes, pole beans, tomatoes and more. Bonus: Vertical plantings can hide unsightly features in your yard.

In a raised bed. If your soil is poor or compacted, fill the beds with better soil and include good amounts of compost. Build high; you won’t have to bend over to plant and pick.

Indoors. Set out a row of potted herbs or microgreens on a kitchen cart and move to catch sunshine. Puts fresh herbs close at hand.

With your neighbors. Many cities set aside open land for community garden plots. While the city may supply the water, gardeners do all the rest. Weed, trade produce and socialize with your neighbors!

Window and balcony boxes. No yard or patio? Plant a garden in a window or balcony box. Choose compact herbs or vegetables with similar soil and water needs and feed them routinely according to label instructions.

For more information on any of these techniques, check websites for state extension services or local master gardener programs.

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