The Q&A Archives: Beginner Gardner

Question: we have a new home and a large backyard, i would like to start a vegetable garden and start planting flowers and ornamental grass. would you please advice me to any books or any other suggestions you might have for a beginner with a busy lifestlyle but loves the yard? our yard is mostly full to partial shade.

Answer: Unfortunately, most vegetables do best in full sun all day long as do ornamental grasses. However, many wonderful low maintenance plants can be grown in shade and partial including hosta (many varieties), pulmonaria, English ivy, ferns, Vinca minor and so on. If the shade is from deciduous trees, you may also be able to grow many spring bulbs.

Since you are a beginner, you might want to take a look at a few books. One I particularly like is "Gardening for Dummies" which is straightforward and will help you organize your thinking. It addresses planning a yard, eval;uating the growing conditions, selecting plants, establishing them and maintaining them over time.

You might also want to contact your local County Extension for suggestions as to plants that do well in your local area and for help with running preliminary soil tests.

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