Using Snow to Place Your Garden

13 March 2012

Having moved into our new house during the winter we weren’t quite sure where to put the garden. Of course, if you’ve been in the same spot for a few years you tend to know more about your yard and which spots get the most light. In our case, it was a bit harder to visualize because of all the trees that surround the entire plot of land. But I had an epiphany that helped me understand the way the light falls.

It might seem obvious, but the snow will melt quicker in areas that have more sunlight, making a near-perfect indicator of which spots might be better for a garden.

Why “near-perfect”?

First, the sun changes position in the sky as the year progresses. So the brightest spots can be different by a small distance from month to month.

Second, melting snow is also a better indicator of morning to mid-day light than it is for the afternoon or evening. That’s because if a small amount of snow fell overnight it won’t usually make it to the end of the day to know for sure how the light will be cast in the later hours of the day.

Third, there are also other things in your yard that may affect the outcome, too. Things like water lines and septic systems could cause the snow to melt differently than regular ground. But of course, that can be helpful too, because you wouldn’t want to plant your garden over those sorts of things anyway.

While it’s not foolproof, it’s a great way to get an idea of where the hot spots are in your new yard. Once you know that, you should be able to pinpoint the perfect spot for your garden.

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