Where Should the Raised Garden Bed Go?

by Schuyler Smith

A common question among many new home owners is: where should we put the vegetable garden? This question is especially important for those of us who have purchased homes that are 40 years old, or older, and the landscaping of the house and neighborhood is well established. This was the dilemma my wife and I found ourselves this spring.

Our biggest question was focused on getting enough light for the plants. Our house came prepopulated with pines, aspens, and a large cherry tree in the back that shade the majority of the front and back lawns. Nevertheless, there are some small areas that appeared to get a good portion of light throughout the day. With the knowledge that we now had spots that might work, we set out to test which spot would receive the most light and narrowed it down to one spot in the front yard and one spot in the backyard corner.

In order to measure the amount of light plants would receive, we employed a SQ-520 full-spectrum quantum sensor with an AL-100 leveling plate from Apogee Instruments and provided power with a Voltaic V44 battery. Prior to the experiment, we logged onto the ApogeeConnect software and setup the following parameters in the sampling and logging intervals and then hit "save settings."

We then taped a plastic bag over the Voltaic battery where the USB connector was to keep out morning dew. Once the sensor was setup and leveled on a brick in the grass in the front yard, the experiment was left alone for two days.

Afterwards, we then went ahead and moved the setup to the backyard for a day. I have to say that luck favored us in this experiment as we had clear days all week, so it was quick to deduce our findings that I have pictured below.

Based off of the data we were able to conclude that the backyard corner would be the better spot for our garden because it provided the most light throughout the day.

The final result: backyard raised garden bed!