Top Questions About Starting A Garden

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Questions About Starting A Garden

Asked by
LL on
October 4, 2016
97058

Q. Landscaping in October

I live in a Zone 6b: -5F to 0F. We just built a home and have been given some plants and trees for our (dirt) yard. If I plant them now, will they be ok? If I don’t, they will die in the pots they’re in.

Answered by
Alisma on
October 5, 2016
Certified Expert
A.

Fall is a great time to plant many shrubs, trees, and perennials. There are some plants that are best planted at other times, but fall should work for most of what you have. Here is some advice on transplanting trees and shrubs:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/transplanting-trees.htm
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/planting-and-transplanting-trees-and-shrubs/

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Asked by
jhdjr49 on
November 21, 2016
Grants Pass Oregon 97526

Q. No till cardboard garden

Have a depressed area in my backyard, 10 foot by 15 foot. Currently is made up of soil, gravel and sand hard pack. Want to put dirt over it, then cardboard over that, then compost and leaves over that. Would that be the best way to prepare that area for planting?

Answered by
Alisma on
November 21, 2016
Certified Expert
A.

That is a good plan, except for one detail. Cardboard is often used to prevent weeds from growing from underneath. But you probably don't need it, because it sounds like your depressed area is too compacted for weeds to grow in.
Unless you believe the dirt you're adding is full of weed seeds, and the compost is not, the cardboard may not be necessary or provide an advantage over just dirt.

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Asked by
BLAIRE HARDY on
March 28, 2017
60010

Q. Beginner gardener

I am a first time homeowner in Barrington, IL (Zone 5). The previous homeowner let the landscaping go in disarray. I’m eager to renovate the yard now that it is almost April, but I have no idea where to start. I would like to remove old shrubs and plants and design a whole new garden for our acre of property. I’m not sure what I need to do with the soil first and what time of year I can start planting. Help!

Answered by
Alisma on
March 28, 2017
Certified Expert
A.

First, you should check the soil to make sure you have good drainage and to find out what soil texture you have. It's also good to get a pH test, or a few on different areas of your property. There are usually DIY versions of each of these tests, or you can send them to your local extension service or a lab for analysis. Then, you can correct any problems and choose plants that are appropriate for your site.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/making-sure-soil-drains-well.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/soil-texture-jar-test.htm

The best time to plant shrubs is in fall, but they can also be planted in spring if necessary. Other plants such as flowers and herbs can be planted in spring, usually after the last frost date in your area, but it's best to look up the planting date for each variety you get.

Here are some other articles that might help:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/projects/removing-existing-plants.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/starting/how-to-build-a-flower-bed-starting-a-flower-bed-from-scratch.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/starting/shaping-the-garden.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/weeds/how-to-kill-grass-naturally-kill-unwanted-grass-in-your-yard.htm

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Asked by
Anonymous on
December 11, 2019

Q. 3 questions about spreading plastic over areas to be planted in the spring.

I’ve heard that spreading plastic sheeting over an area that I want to plant next year is an effective way to kill grass & weeds over the winter (the heat created & contained kills everything). Is this true? If so, would clear plastic be better since it will let light through and theoretically increase the retained heat? Lastly, would this also kill any beneficial nutrients, worms, etc.?

Answered by
GKH_Susan on
December 11, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

It works better in the summer, but you should have some success over winter too. Clear plastic works best.

It will kill beneficial bacteria ONLY in that spot. This means that once the plastic is removed, they will return from surrounding areas. Worms will not stick around to get hot. They will go elsewhere until the plastic is lifted as well.

This is a very safe and effective way to prepare a garden spot.

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