Rural settings typically provide large areas suitable for gardening. Gardeners enjoy the freedom of tilling and preparing large beds for specific crops. In many rural areas gardening occupies much of the spring and summer and serves as a community focal point. Friends and neighbors may stop by to view the garden's progress and share gardening tips. When harvested, rural gardeners often share the abundance with neighbors and friends.
Select an area in full sun for the majority of the day. Most vegetables require six to eight hours of direct sunlight but will thrive with more. Check for trees that may shade the garden when in full foliage. Although an area may be in full sun in early spring, once trees attain full foliage the area may be in full or partial shade.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches and remove large rocks, roots or other debris. New garden beds typically contain large stones that must be removed before planting, and rocks can surface from the effects of freezing and thawing in established gardens.
Test the soil in the fall before the first growing season to determine soil condition. Contact your local extension office for a soil test kit. The extension office offers soil-testing services for a minimal fee and provides a written summary of your soil's makeup.
Follow the recommendations in the soil report for amending your soil. Amending in the fall allows time for nutrients to break down into usable form.
Select vegetables and fruits that match your region's climate. Refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones (see resources) to determine your zone. Pay close attention to the days to maturity listed on plant identification tags or descriptions in seed catalogs.
Talk to local gardeners to find out what grows well in your area. Even though catalogs and plant identification tags are a great source of information, relying on them without practical experience often leads to disappointment. Days to maturity often refers to the average time for the plant to mature in optimum growing conditions--generally warm weather and supplemental watering.
Plant according to the depth and seed spacing outlined for the specific vegetable. Allow 3 feet between rows for cultivation. Rural gardeners can take advantage of available space to allow for cultivation. Tilling between rows regularly curtails weeds and creates loose soil, promoting vigorous growth.