Answer: Your first step should probably be to obtain an accurate soil test to see what you have to work with. Contact your County Extension Agent for details. Usually Extension Offices offer this service for a nominal fee or free. Generally when you send your soil in for testing you will also send in a completed questionnaire regarding the proposed usage for the soil being tested. By providing this information, the agency can better recommend soil amendments/treatments as necessary. Regardless of soil test results, just about all new planting areas appreciate a hefty addition of organic material such as mushroom compost, leaf mould, compost from your own heap, composted cow manure, etc. Also regardless of soil results you will want to make sure your soil is loose, not compacted. You want good drainage as well. In the meantime, start looking at gardening books and magazines (including National Gardening magazine!) to see what plants strike your fancy!
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