Gardening – Do you have a green thumb?

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Going on my first spring/summer season in my new home and I would like to make a nice little garden in the back yard with both some flowers and veggies.
Is it better to start your seeds inside in like a makeshift greenhouse (out of egg cartons, for example)?
I live in the Chicagoland/NW Indiana area. What are the best flowers and veggies to grow?
Around when should I start preparing?
Any other thoughts or tips?
Thanks.

You are gonna love gardening, don't try to do it all in one year. Get to know where the sun shines the most, and where the shaded areas are. Because you will need flowers for the sun areas, and flowers for the shaded areas.

Since you are a beginner, this year start your garden with plants that you get from a garden center or nursery. They are called bedding plants and come in a six pack. Look for a little tag sticking in the six pact showing directions on how to grow the plants. If the tag is not there, ask for one or buy something else. Directions are VERY important.

Seeds are not always easy to grow. And wildflowers are the hardest so don't be disappointed if they don't show up.

Two good things to do for yourself is to call your local County Extension Service and ask for all the information that they have about gardening in your area. They usually have a packet/kit of things for the home gardener.

And number two would be to pick up a couple of beginner books. You really do need to know about soil, compost, mulch and etc.

To keep from over watering or not watering enough, buy a water analyzer from a nursery or garden center. Be sure to read the directions. This will be one of your best tools.

Send for some free gardening catalogs and get use to the different types of plants, colors, and when to plant. They are filled with good informtion and pictures. And they will keep you company during the long winter months. Here is a list of just a very few. There are hundreds more. You do not have to buy from them:

http://www.waysidegardens.com
http://www.dutchbulbs.com
http://www.jacksonandperkins.com (Roses)
http://www.parkseed.com
http://www.burpee.com

Other catalogs:
http://www.leevalley.com
http://www.gardeners.com
http://www.GardensAlive.com
http://www.deerbusters.com (all types of animal control)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Container/pots/window boxes needs:

All need holes in the bottem for water drainage,
Potting soil that comes in bags,
Slow release fertilizer for flowers (not for green plants), OR liquid fertilizer that will need to be used more often-read directions,
Water crystals to be mixed into the soil for holding water,
Bedding plants or full grown plants.

Here is an excellent link to check out for color combinations and plants that look good together:

http://www.fernlea.com/awesomeaccents/recipes.html

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No Responses to “Gardening – Do you have a green thumb?”

  1. Hot tea and Cheerios Says:

    Congrats on your new home and good luck with the garden.
    I don't start my seeds inside but I have a longer growing season. I'm in Zone 6. Mid-Atlantic US . Maybe I would have more plants germinate if I did start them indoors. I understand that you have to keep the seedlings warm for maximum success when you start plants indoors. There are heating units you can buy at gardening centers for this purpose.

    My only thought is to start as soon as you can work the ground. You will need to dig the beds and get them amended with compost and whatever else your soil might need. If you are not familiar with soil types ( clay, loam, sandy ) take a sample to your local extension office and get some guidance as to what type soil you have and what would be best to add to it. You can also have it tested to determine the pH. This also helps you know what to add to benefit your plantings.
    References :

  2. Gary C Says:

    Is it better to start your seeds inside?
    Depends on the crop.
    Corn, beans peas, No. They hate it.
    Tomatoes and peppers, yes. They love the early start.

    egg cartons, for example?
    Egg cartons are awfully small. Your plants will proably outgrow them too soon. When the roots reach the edge they stop growing. Then the plant stops growing. The poor little plant kind of gives up and it's hard to get it growing again. Peat pots about 4" tall should work well. You can make little planting pots simply by rolling up newspaper (cut to height) around an appropriately sized bottle or glass. Fold the end "in" for a bottom and fill with dirt or potting soil. It's a poor-man's peat-pot.

    If you do use egg cartons, peat pots or newspaper pots, be sure to bury the top of the pot below the soil surface. If the top sticks out above the soil, it wicks up the water so that the pot dries out and the roots cannot get through the dry pot to the dirt.

    best flowers and veggies to grow?
    Check out online seed catalogs for the flowers and veggies that grow in your "zone" You are in zone 5. Find it here:
    http://www.burpee.com/ancillary/zonefinder.do?KickerID=100116&KICKER

    An internet search for "garden" seeds will list many sources. Gurney,Park and Burpee are among well known seed suppliers. In the Chicago area you will be able to grow most of the things you will want to grow. (as long as things like bananas and pineapples are not on your list)

    Preparation centers around "last frost date" Some cold weather crops can be planted or set out 2 weeks before the last frost. Some should not be planted or set out 2 weeks after the last frost. Again, the seed catalog will tell you what to do for your crop and variety.

    For anyone new (or not new) to gardening, I highly recommend "Square foot gardening" by Bartholemew (more popular) and "How to grow more vegetables" by Jeavons (my favorite) Both are available used for cheap on amazon.com

    other thoughts or tips?
    Plant lots and lots of strawberries. If you have too many, invite me over.
    References :

  3. Joanne A. W Says:

    You are gonna love gardening, don't try to do it all in one year. Get to know where the sun shines the most, and where the shaded areas are. Because you will need flowers for the sun areas, and flowers for the shaded areas.

    Since you are a beginner, this year start your garden with plants that you get from a garden center or nursery. They are called bedding plants and come in a six pack. Look for a little tag sticking in the six pact showing directions on how to grow the plants. If the tag is not there, ask for one or buy something else. Directions are VERY important.

    Seeds are not always easy to grow. And wildflowers are the hardest so don't be disappointed if they don't show up.

    Two good things to do for yourself is to call your local County Extension Service and ask for all the information that they have about gardening in your area. They usually have a packet/kit of things for the home gardener.

    And number two would be to pick up a couple of beginner books. You really do need to know about soil, compost, mulch and etc.

    To keep from over watering or not watering enough, buy a water analyzer from a nursery or garden center. Be sure to read the directions. This will be one of your best tools.

    Send for some free gardening catalogs and get use to the different types of plants, colors, and when to plant. They are filled with good informtion and pictures. And they will keep you company during the long winter months. Here is a list of just a very few. There are hundreds more. You do not have to buy from them:

    http://www.waysidegardens.com
    http://www.dutchbulbs.com
    http://www.jacksonandperkins.com (Roses)
    http://www.parkseed.com
    http://www.burpee.com

    Other catalogs:
    http://www.leevalley.com
    http://www.gardeners.com
    http://www.GardensAlive.com
    http://www.deerbusters.com (all types of animal control)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Container/pots/window boxes needs:

    All need holes in the bottem for water drainage,
    Potting soil that comes in bags,
    Slow release fertilizer for flowers (not for green plants), OR liquid fertilizer that will need to be used more often-read directions,
    Water crystals to be mixed into the soil for holding water,
    Bedding plants or full grown plants.

    Here is an excellent link to check out for color combinations and plants that look good together:

    http://www.fernlea.com/awesomeaccents/recipes.html
    References :

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