The Best Places for an Outdoor Garden
Outdoor gardens have numerous benefits, such as a lower overall cost and initial investment, an increased crop yield, a more natural product, and a diminished carbon footprint. There are a few factors to consider when choosing a spot for an outdoor hydroponic garden: power availability, accessibility, and the local climate are some of the most notable aspects to think about. Here, you’ll learn how to pick the right place for an outdoor garden.
Think About What You’re Growing
When choosing a site for an outdoor garden, the first thing to do is to decide which vegetables and plants to grow. While certain species need full sunlight, others need partial shade. Some plants are susceptible to wind damage, while others aren’t.
Before getting started, research your favorite plants and their habitats. For novice gardeners, it’s best to choose plants that the entire family can eat and enjoy. This makes the hydroponic gardening experience more useful and rewarding.
Finding a Safe Place
Depending on the plants you’re growing, it may be necessary to choose an out-of-the-way location. If certain crops are discovered by others, they may be lost entirely.
For those planning to have a hydroponic garden on their own property, it may be best to put it in a place where they can deny knowledge of its existence. If the crop is grown remotely enough, plausible deniability may play a role. Some cultivators use DIY greenhouses to hide their crops. Though this makes it hard to deny the presence of the plants, it does make them harder to find.
Although it’s more exposed to outsiders, public land is a good choice for an outdoor garden. This may keep others from tracing the crop back to its source. Even if the plants are found and confiscated, you’d be safe from enforcement action.
Keep your garden hidden by choosing its location wisely. Don’t put it in a high-traffic location such as a hunting ground or a walking trail and avoid places where psilocybin mushrooms may grow. Anyone harvesting these mushrooms would gladly keep your crops for themselves.
New development presents another significant problem. Many times, growers have chosen locations and prepared hydroponic systems, only to return and see that their efforts have been wiped out by construction equipment. Those who live in areas where certain crops are legal have more freedom to focus on other aspects, such as plant nutrition.
In the sections below, we’ll discuss some of the best places for an outdoor hydroponic garden.
Great Places for a Garden
Though few of us are lucky enough to have the room for a personal garden, it’s the best option. You’ll always be close to your plants, you can feed them accordingly, and it’s easier to keep nosy neighbors away.
- Growing a garden on a balcony makes it easier to access the plants. Unlike some backyard gardens, balcony gardens can be seen from the street or by those who are on their own balconies. For some crops, it may be best to use an opaque film that keeps them out of sight without blocking the sun. If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere, let the plants face south so they get more sun during the day.
- Growing plants on a roof terrace also has its advantages. Roof terraces give crops a day’s worth of sunlight, but strong winds and pungent odors may be a problem. Though a slight wind may help the plants’ stems become stronger, constant winds aren’t very conducive to plant health.
- Putting a garden on the roof of a vacant building is a great solution for those who aren’t lucky enough to have their own gardens, balconies, or roof terraces. If there’s a nearby vacant building and it’s not easily accessible to others, it may provide the right environment in which to grow your garden.
Now that we’ve offered a few suggestions on choosing a garden location, we’ll discuss some of the other factors that go into the selection process.
Sunlight and Climate
Most people believe that a tropical, hot climate is required for an outdoor garden, but that’s not always the case. Some plants come from mountainous areas with cold, harsh climates, and certain strains are bred to grow well in these areas. Selecting the right strain is a critical part of a successful outdoor hydroponic garden, because you have less control over the outdoor growing environment.
As long as the location gets about ten weeks of sunny weather and has an average temperature of 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s possible to grow plants outdoors. However, if the growing season is short, you can begin the process indoors and transplant the seedlings after they’ve hardened for a bit. Those in warmer climates can start their seeds outdoors after the season’s final frost.
Many plants love sunlight, and the land you choose should receive a minimum of three hours of sunlight each day, if not more. Your plants will grow much faster, and crop yields will be more bountiful, with about five hours of light per day. Certain species prefer morning light, so remember this when choosing a location for your outdoor hydroponic garden.
It’s important to consider nearby buildings, trees, and other objects, and how the sun’s angle changes as the growing season progresses. Because of these factors, areas that get a day’s worth of full sun in the beginning of the season may be partially or fully shaded at the end. The ideal outdoor garden site will get plenty of sun throughout the season. With some hydroponic systems, it’s easy to move containers around if the garden’s sunny spots change during the growing season.
Access to electricity is a priority when building an outdoor hydroponic system or processing crops on site. Though it may be possible to run an extension cord or two, the right site will come with the ability to plug in water pumps and other components.
The garden’s space requirements will depend on the type and number of plants you plan to grow. Plants should be spaced at least three feet apart, so they all get plenty of breeze and sun. If you’re planning to grow 1500 plants, at least 4500 square feet of land is needed. When plants are crowded, they’ll shadow each other, leading to diminished sunlight exposure and making it harder to tend the garden.
The outdoor garden site must follow all local regulations and rules. Depending on what you’re growing, it may be necessary to secure the area with a privacy fence and a locked gate. Outdoor hydroponic cultivation facilities may have to be placed within certain parts of a township or city. Check with your municipality, as ordinances can vary from one location to another.
When looking for a place to cultivate certain plants, it’s important to consider whether they can be hidden from view. Is the land sloped in a way that passersby could see the plants over a barrier? In most places where it’s legal to grow these plants, cultivation areas must be enclosed, and the plants must be hidden from the public’s view. The hydroponic system itself will add some height to the plants, so keep this in mind when installing barriers and fences.
When growing plants outdoors, easy access is crucial. Even in hydroponic systems, plants must be tended regularly. Therefore, growers should select locations that can be reached easily and frequently.
A garden’s position should be chosen based on many factors, but convenience is one of the most essential. After all, these gardens are meant for enjoyment. If you must travel several miles to get to your garden, it’s less likely that the plants will get the loving care they deserve.
Certain plant species will need more effort and time than others do. For instance, lettuces are easy to cultivate, and you can get a substantial number of veggies from just a few plants. However, root vegetables need more care.
For instance, carrots and radishes must be trimmed as they grow, which can be an arduous task. It’s important for hydroponic growers to set aside time for general maintenance. An hour or two per week is usually enough for a garden of average size, but in outdoor gardens, certain seasonal maintenance jobs may take a bit longer.
The Best Plants to Grow Outdoors
Though any plant can be grown in an outdoor hydroponic garden, certain species do better than others. A nearby cooperative extension office can tell you which plants will thrive in the area. Small gardens can easily accommodate vegetables such as:
- Bush beans
Depending on the laws in your area, you may be able to grow certain medicinal plants as well.
Having a Great Water Source
Water is an important resource for hydroponic gardeners, and your setup should never be far from a good water source. After all, no one wants to walk a few hundred yards with a five-gallon jug of water! Depending on the system’s requirements, you may need to add water occasionally.
Some gardeners choose full drip irrigation systems, while others mist their plants by hand. Those living in rainy climates, such as that found in the Pacific Northwest, should use rain gauges to track rainfall levels. Too much or too little water can be very devastating to plants, even those grown hydroponically.
Get In the Zone
As you’re setting up an outdoor garden, visions of lush green plants and crisp, delicious vegetables may fill your head. These dreams are fun to have, but there’s a lot of work involved in planning an outdoor hydroponic garden. Growers should research their garden zone information before getting started.
Many new gardeners make the mistake of growing plants at the wrong time of the year or selecting those that aren’t well-suited to their region. Various factors contribute to the healthy development and growth of plants, such as humidity, temperature fluctuations, amount and timing of rainfall, and the growing season’s length.
Significant differences in any of these aspects may affect the quality and quantity of crop yields. To avoid frustration and disappointment while increasing your chances of success, it’s important to pay careful attention to the regional planting guides found on the packaging of most plants and seeds. This information, known as plant hardiness zones, will help you choose the right plants for an outdoor garden.
Face the Garden South for the Best Results
Those living in the Northern Hemisphere should face their gardens southward. South-facing gardens get the most natural light as the sun moves overhead during the day. If it’s not possible to install the hydroponic setup on the property’s south side, put it on the west or east side, as these areas also get plenty of light.
Gardening on the northern side of the property should only be done as a last resort. These gardens get little sunlight because buildings, shrubs, and trees will cast shadows over the plants for most of the day.
Why Outdoor Hydroponic Gardens Make Sense
Outdoor hydroponic systems have numerous advantages, with water usage being one of the most notable. Conventional agriculture requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water each year, which makes it difficult to grow plants in certain areas. The usage of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in traditional gardens contributes to the pollution of the water, air, and land. It also sterilizes the soil, stripping it of nutrients.
By comparison, outdoor hydroponic systems only need 5% to 10% of the water required for conventional gardening. These systems don’t require land clearing or the use of dangerous fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals. Most systems recycle fertilizers and water, which aids in conservation efforts.
Outdoor systems have another big benefit in that they’re highly customizable. Hydroponic setups can be stacked, hung, installed horizontally or vertically, and configured in ways that suit your space and the crops being grown.
When growing plants outdoors, a little knowledge is a powerful thing. Be sure to consider the above factors when choosing a place for an outdoor hydroponic garden. With the right choices, outdoor gardens can be inexpensive to maintain and very profitable.