woman collecting brussel sprouts in her garden
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Find the Right Site

To grow well, vegetables need good soil, the right amount of water, and sunshine. You can amend poor soil and deal with too much or too little moisture by building raised beds (bottomless frames that hold soil above the grade line) to keep vegetables above muck, or by irrigating in dry weather.

But there is no practical work-around for deep shade. Thus, sunshine is the Number 1 site requirement. Fruiting plants like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and pumpkins need sun at least 8 to 10 hours a day. If your garden gets a few hours less sun, you can still grow peas and also plants that have edible parts underground, such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets. If your garden gets only 4 to 6 hours of sun, focus on greens: lettuce, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, collards, and kale can all still do well.

Shown: Homeowner Michele Rast collects brussel sprouts and other goodies to fill a basket for friends.
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