Planning a vegetable garden this year? Here's what you should know.

What to consider before planning a vegetable garden:


- Initial cost of tools and other equipment.


- Time investment of caring for garden.


- Time and other costs of preservation, including refrigeration, canning or freezing.


- Planning a vegetable garden.


- Sun: Leafy vegetables can get by with four to six hours of sunlight, otherwise, the site should get a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight a day.


- Competition: Don't plant near trees and shrubs that could compete for sunlight and food. The distance between trees and the garden site should equal the height of the trees.


- Drainage: The site should have good drainage. To test, dig a hole about a foot deep and a foot in diameter, then fill it with water. The water should drain in about a half hour. If it doesn't, consider raising the bed.


- Water: An adequate water source should be close to the garden site. A garden will need about an inch of water a week. It's best to water in the morning so foliage will be dry overnight.


- Soil: Soil may need to be enriched with lime, fertilizer, compost or other organic materials. Contact your local cooperative extension service for information about soil testing.


- Air flow: If necessary, build or grow a wind break. And remember, frost settles in low areas, making them slow to warm up in the spring.


Pam Adams can be reached at padams@pjstar.com.