How to Start a Garden
Starting a garden can be daunting. There are all kinds of decisions to make and a little planning can go a long, long way toward making a garden you will love working in as much as looking at, but even planning can be a challenge. I think the 2 most important questions to keep in mind are: How do you plan to use the space (entertaining, play area, grow food...)? What do you envision in your mind? Here are some resources to help you answer these questions and create a garden you will enjoy. Where to begin? First you need to choose a good site. The amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you will be able to grow. Another good place to begin a new garden is with the soil. This may not be the most fun part of gardening, but as the saying goes: "Feed the soil and the plants will take care of themselves” (http://www.about.com). You will need to access what type of soil you have and what, if anything it needs. You can get your soil tested for a nominal fee at your local Cooperative Extension office and sometimes at a good nursery. The next step in starting a garden would be choosing your plants. Selecting plants is one of the toughest gardening tasks, simply because there are so many from which to choose. Key things to keep in mind are your hardiness zone and your soil type. But when push comes to trowel, what it really comes down to is what plants do you like and how much time can you put into caring for them. Here are some lists and resources to help you focus your search: drought tolerant plants, easy, low maintenance perennials, deer resistant plant list, and shade plants. Now that you’ve selected the plants it is now time to decide on a garden design. Designing a garden is an ongoing process and half the fun of gardening. While there are so called design rules, like always planting in odd numbers, there are no garden police to enforce them. Make your garden whatever you envision. Most gardens are a...
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