Have you ever noticed the colorful maps on the back of seed packets? Those are not just for decoration. They give valuable information about that particular seeds hardiness in different areas of the country. The different colored areas indicate growing zones. Growing zones are based on temperatures, daylight hours and general climate. Favorable planting conditions vary from one zone to another so it is important to consider your location when planting seeds.
If you have gardened before, are you switching your varieties to different locations than where they were in previous years? Crop rotation is usually thought of as important to the commercial farmer. But, it is also important to the backyard gardener. Certain plants are more prone to specific diseases and insects. Crop rotation discourages these from becoming concentrated in your soil. The squash bug is an example of this. Since crops use nutrients from the soil differently, crop rotation is an important step to help prevent soil depletion.
Lastly, I mentioned that when selecting your garden location, it must have water access. Vegetable plants as a rule need plenty of water, especially during germination. Sprinklers, soaker hoses , as well as, underground irrigation are several of the methods or watering your garden plants. Probably the least least efficient yet most commonly used and conveninient are sprinklers. They are inefficient because of water loss to evaporation. We used sprinklers while living in Alabama but did not water during the heat of the day because of the potential for evaoprative water loss. Here in west Texas with such a dry climate, we primarily used soaker hoses last year. This year, we have put in underground drip tape in the garden area.
I have attempted to cover at least the basics of planning your garden. Hopefully, it will help and be thought provoking. While the points covered may seem overwhelming, the time spent planning now can make the difference in a mediocre garden and a prolific one!