By Ann Whitman, Suzanne DeJohn, The National Gardening Association

Part of Organic Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you’re planning your organic garden, you have to first take an inventory of your site. Your goal is to encourage healthy, pest-resistant plants, so choose plants that can grow to their full potential where you plant them. Consider these factors when laying out your organic garden:

  • Sun and shade: Duration and time of day and year that the sun shines directly on the site.

  • Soil: Structure, texture, pH, drainage, and moisture.

  • Views: Unsightly views to screen; pleasant views to enhance or preserve.

  • Slope: Steep, flat, valley floors.

  • Wind: Speed and direction at different times of year.

  • Hardiness zone: Average winter low temperatures.

  • Obstacles: Locations of buildings, overhead and buried utilities, roads, and property boundaries.