The Q&A Archives: Starting A New Garden

Question: We have just moved to an acreage and I want to plant a flower garden this spring. The soil seems to be very sandy and we have a lot of early morning shade where I want to plant the garden but the spot is sunny in the afternoon to early evening time. I am interested in perennials. I am not sure how the deer or other animals will be as we moved here in the fall. Do you have any ideas for natural plants that the deer do not care for and any ideas for vines of some sort that I can grow on a fence in the area that I am thinking of planting? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: What fun! It sounds as though you will be planning for perennials that like what is called full sun despite the bit of morning shade. You might want to look at some basic gardening books as a guide to starting your planning. One I particularly like is "Gardening for Dummies" by Michael MacCaskey (ISBN1-56884-644-4) which includes some garden plans as well as recommended plants.

As with any new garden, you may want to run some soil tests and see what soil amendments (if any) are needed before you begin planting. Your County Extension (tel. 234-6811) can help you with the tests and interpreting the results, and may even be able to suggest plants that do particularly well in your area.

Unfortunately deer eat many types of plants and are so adaptable that they can learn to eat new types of plants so there is no absolute list to give you. If there are deer in your area your neighbors would be the best source of information about what the deer in your area have learned to eat so far. In my experience, the best protection against both deer and the wide variety of plant-eating country critters is unfortunately a fence.

Good luck with your new garden!

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