Garden/yard help!
July 9, 2018 1:03 PM   Subscribe

We are buying a house! But we are in the waiting phase. So I need something to occupy my mind (other than packing). I would love yard / garden ideas! How do I identify my plants? What do I need to do for a garden regularly? We have a shed - are there neat ways to organize it?

We have a front yard with some sun, and a shadier backyard. There is a shed, which is likely where I will keep my garden supplies. I have, up until this point, mostly container gardened, and tried to start plants from seed, which sometimes seems to work and sometimes doesn't!

I prefer to be bee / insect friendly. I love ordering from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. I tend to kill at least 50% of what I try to grow from seed. Maybe more.

1. How do I identify the plants/trees that are currently there? I have iSeek, but it doesn't work well on non-native plants.
2. What do I need to do to the yard/garden on a regular basis? We will likely have someone come and mow it.
3. There are trees and mulch in the front, but it seems to need more. How do I identify the type of mulch and do I just use a mulch calculator for how much to put down? Is there an ideal time to mulch, or an ideal thickness?
4. I don't think there is electricity run to the shed, but I normally pull container plants inside for the winter. That may not be an option this winter - should I give up on the container plants?

Any website/book recommendations are welcome.
posted by needlegrrl to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Find a nursery or garden club and you like and chat up local folks, and you can reach out to your local master gardener program - they'll know your climate, soil, and plants better than most, and give you some ideas for free. You can also bring them clippings of the plants in your yard for plant IDs, though internet horticulturalists are pretty good on that front.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Purchasing the Sunset Western Garden Book is pretty essential. IMO.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:31 PM on July 9, 2018

Seconding the recommendation to talk to a local master gardener.

For plant identification, AskMe is pretty good! You might as well try us.

In terms of what to do with your yard, it really depends on what's in it, where you're located, and what you want it to look like/produce. More info needed!

If the house is close to the shed, extension cord (or even having an electrician come wire it up) might be an option.
posted by saladin at 1:51 PM on July 9, 2018

my favorite grows like a dang weed (if you baby it), has culinary use, and smells real real good so the bees come even if you don't eat it, herb is African blue bush basil. Its a perennial basil hybrid that can get really bushy and lovely and basil-y and the flowers attract bees even though its a hybrid that is perpetuated by cutting not seeds. I've only ever started it from a plant tho- but I'm sure you could start it from seed if you wanted. It needs sun, so it would go in the front yard. put some compost in the soil, mulch around the plant(s) and just water as directed and BOOM. fragrant bushes of basil that the bees will love. And hey- you can make pesto and stuff from it too! WIN-WIN
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:54 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Go to your library and check out their collection -- you should check out the library close to your new house anyway. Ask the librarian for recommendations for books about local plants, check them out, and if you find one you like then buy a copy from your local bookstore.

(In my region that book is Pojar & MacKinnon's "Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast" but you're in Georgia so it'll be some other book. But there ought to be a worthwhile book if you can figure out which one to choose..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:05 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

In the shed, you want a tool rack that can hold rakes, shovels, etc. Take advantage of the overhead/rafter area by hanging hooks up there for light but bulky items. Clear bins make it easier to see what is inside, but labels also work. Shelves and bins are good for small items, but leave ground space for parking mowers, wheelbarrows or snowblowers. If you will be wheeling things in and out and the floor is raised, build a small ramp.
posted by soelo at 2:06 PM on July 9, 2018

Response by poster: I'm in Atlanta, Georgia, in terms of location.

A trip to the library is definitely in order.
posted by needlegrrl at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2018

Nthing the suggestion to talk to the master gardeners in your area. As for containers I think if you plant perenials in them you'll be fine. The plants may die back above ground, but the roots should stay alive, particularly if you move the containers to a sheltered area along a south facing wall in the winter. As for what else to do, I highly reccomend looking into composting. There are so many different methods you can use. I am convinced that with enough composters and compost we could actually save the Earth from global warming and many of the other environmental problems that threaten us!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:54 PM on July 9, 2018

Community Gardens are also a good resource, if there's one local to you.
posted by kjs4 at 11:50 PM on July 9, 2018

I have the Naturalist app on my phone and it's moderately helpful. Have you looked for gardening groups in your area (on meetup, local Wild Ones chapter, plant swaps, google search, etc.)?

The learning curve seems steep, but gardeners tend to be really friendly and generous -- with information as well as plants. Happy gardening!
posted by dancing leaves at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2018

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