Answer: The gardens that produce the most are in the sunniest spots. Plan on providing 8 hours of direct sunlight. You can get by with less, but you'll have to adjust your crops to fit the site - like growing lettuce, cabbage and beets, instead of squash, tomatoes and corn. Also check the amount of direct sun you have on your garden at different times of the spring, summer and fall. Often a shady spot in spring becomes a full sun spot in summer or vice versa.
Soil that is fertile and well-drained is essential for healthy plants and good yeilds. You can have your soil tested by your county cooperative extension office (in the white pages under US Gov't; USDA). Also, over the winter, read up on your chosen crops to find out how much space each one requires. For instance, vining crops like melons and cukes can take up a lot of room, but you can trellis them, or grow bush varieties. Also find out which to sow directly into the soil, and which will perform better when you start the seeds indoors ahead of time (or you can purchase starts at a garden center). Our website has loads of information to help! Seed catalogs are another great source of free information about crops.
Since this is a new gardening spot, don't be afraid to experiment. If your plants are not producing the crops you expect, you can always try growing something else next time. Most of all, have fun!
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