The Q&A Archives: 1st Time Gardener

Question: I am a beginner gardener with a capital

Answer: First of all, congratulations on your new home! Landscaping can be done in a series of steps, and you can do one area at a time so the entire process is not too overwhelming. Obviously you will want to address the weed problem, but if you pull or kill all the weeds and don't plant something else immediately, the weeds will happily grow right back again. So, try to keep the weeds knocked down so they don't flower and produce seeds while you are getting your landscaping plan together. Start by deciding what you will be doing in various areas of your landscape. Do you want lawn? Flower beds? Vegetable garden? Start with a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch out the basic form of your yard and then make circles on the drawing where you think you might want to place a flower bed or lawn or patio, etc. Then attack each specific area by first eliminating the weeds (either by hand or with a chemical herbicide) and then digging and amending the soil with compost or aged manure. This is the hardest part of establishing a garden but one that will reward you with healthy, happy plants. After amending the soil you can plant your favorite plants. For ideas on what grows well in your area, walk your neighborhood and check your local nurseries. Or, there are tons of books on the subject that you can check out from the library. Best wishes with your new landscape!

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