The Q&A Archives: First Time Gardener

Question: I am just now planning on starting a garden. I have never done any previous gardening or anything like that and I was just curious if there was any certain flowers that are fool proof? I just don't want to spend all this money and find out that I chose the wrong type for my area. I live an a very hot climate during the summer and fairly cold in the winter.

Thank you

Answer: The real secrets to successful gardening include good soil preparation, regular watering during the growing season, and chosing the right varieties for your climate.

Begin by preparing the planting site. Remove any weeds, dig to loosen the soil 6"-8" deep, spread a 3"-4" layer of organic matter over the top of the bed and dig it in, then smooth the soil prior to planting. This work will provide a more hospitable home for your plants. In turn, they will thrive. Easy to grow sun-loving annuals include zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, sweet pea, phlox and dianthus. Perennials include asters, campanula, delphinium, lavender, veronica and scabiosa. The perennials will come back year after year and, if you allow the annuals to develop seeds at the end of the season, most will self-sow, providing new plants the following spring.

When you water, apply enough to soak the entire bed down to the roots, then allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering again. Keep weeds pulled as they appear, or place a thick layer of mulch over the bed after planting to help suppress weeds.

Good luck with your new garden!

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