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Old 06-25-2019, 06:00 AM
 
1,683 posts, read 504,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeavingNYCfast View Post
Does anybody have suggestions for gardening for dummies type resources? We live in Westchester, NY now and prior to this I lived in townhomes or apartments and never had a garden to deal with. We have a lawn care service but doing the garden beds/trees ourselves. I really have no idea what I'm doing. The beds were planted by the builder but not marked in any way. When I say novice I really mean it. Like to the point where I'm staring at areas in my garden beds debating, is that a weed or a bush that was intentionally planted? I tried one of those apps that identifies plants but it just says, well it could be one of these 8 things pick which one it is. I downloaded the app because I don't know which one it is! I didn't have money in the budget this year to do much with the garden other than throw down mulch in the spring. So I'm just trying to keep it looking nice and the weeds out so I can be ready for next year to try and get some new plants/flowers.
The best thing you can do is take aMaster Gardener course if one is available nearby.
Google Land Grant University. They all have MG program. Often by county.
In NY state it is a Cornell university.
http://westchester.cce.cornell.edu/h...rdener-program
Often The university will have a hotline manned by volunteers: the answers could be of different qualities- depending how knowledgeable the volunteer is.
You could trust the information on the university website though- it is published by staff.

Second best if you go to those Land Grant universities website in your area and find the information on how to properly garden there.
Cornell Cooperative Extension | Gardening
Don’t get your information from internet, unless the site has .edu in the name.
Get a $10 soil test done for your lawn- pH - soil acidity, etc.You May need to lime your turf.

Third advise: try to use a proper terminology when looking for answer- will get you to edu or cooperative extension site faster: for example
“Residential turf management edu”
Will get your results from top notch university- penn, umass Amherst- directly to their turf grasses centers
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C...60.i7xFZLbiSiA
Stay with the information from NorthEast- southern states grow different type grasses- you need “ cool season grasses types”
“ tree identification guide edu”
“ residential landscape trees pruning edu”
For pruning- click on images and select only from the edu sites- very self explanatory

There is a lot of misinformation out there especially from the “ professional” landscapes- they want to sound as they know what they are doing and try to scare you in parting with your money- they often have a nickname:” mow, blow, go” - residential lawn is very simple- get you pH recommendation from the university soil test-$10-15.
Lime if needed- cheap! If your lawn is thin- meaning you have weeds- then buy premium seeds in fall- second half of September and over seed.- thick lawn will fight off weeds better than herbicide would.

You don’t need any pest or herbicides sprays in residential turf- you are not a golf course!
The only money you may need to spend is lime- once you are in pH 6.3-6.8- you don’t need to lime any more for 20 years! Lime is going to be stable in soil.
Then only money for premium seeds( do not buy moisture control seeds- scam by marketing- you need to pay for seeds and it is only 50% by weight- the rest is cheap chemicals they want you to buy for the price of seeds.
Think- you paid someone to put a herbicide: now you have an” empty” spot in your lawn- if you don’t add grass- another worse weed will come in- the earth wants to be covered
You could dm me once in a while

Last edited by Nik4me; 06-25-2019 at 06:33 AM..
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:11 AM
 
9,013 posts, read 3,304,351 times
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IMO,(1) the first thing you need to know is, what growing zone are you in? (2) Second, what side of the house is the bed in? North, South, East, West? This tends to tell how much sun that particular plant bed will get. (3) How much sun DOES that area get? For a novice, it's good to go outside at different parts of the day and observe how much sun that area is getting.


(4) When you go to purchase plants/flowers, there is usually some basic instructions on the container or a tag, saying what the requirements are for that particular plant. Like how much sun it needs, how often to water, when to fertilize... stuff like that.


(5) And finally...the big box stores, like Home Depot and Lowes tend to carry the flowers and plants that grow well in that particular planting zone, so, IMO, it's a good place to start, when looking for plants to purchase. IF you want more expert advice, I'd find a local nursery and talk to someone there.


One of my 'zen' things to do is go to my favorite nursery and just walk up and down the rows and rows of plants looking at stuff. It's definitely one of my happy places. lol
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Olympia area (for now)
1,906 posts, read 739,805 times
Reputation: 4148
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeavingNYCfast View Post
Does anybody have suggestions for gardening for dummies type resources? We live in Westchester, NY now and prior to this I lived in townhomes or apartments and never had a garden to deal with. We have a lawn care service but doing the garden beds/trees ourselves. I really have no idea what I'm doing. The beds were planted by the builder but not marked in any way. When I say novice I really mean it. Like to the point where I'm staring at areas in my garden beds debating, is that a weed or a bush that was intentionally planted? I tried one of those apps that identifies plants but it just says, well it could be one of these 8 things pick which one it is. I downloaded the app because I don't know which one it is! I didn't have money in the budget this year to do much with the garden other than throw down mulch in the spring. So I'm just trying to keep it looking nice and the weeds out so I can be ready for next year to try and get some new plants/flowers.
Your local extension agent will be happy to talk to you about identifying those weeds. Where I live, the extension agent stopped by and warned about the plant tansy, as did a neighbor. It’s deadly to horses, but easy to identify since it’s yellow. You may need to recognize poison weeds, especially if you have pets or kids around.

As mentioned, reading books and green thumb neighbors are a good source of information. Do you Pinterest? I have tons of gardening pictures and future gardening project ideas, thanks to all the creative people on Pinterest. Many of the pictures come with helpful articles on just about any gardening question.

Finally, just do it. You’ll learn more by actually planting and caring for a garden yourself, than all the advise in the world. Go get dirty, wear gardening gloves and sunscreen and have fun.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:07 AM
 
57 posts, read 19,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Do you have any neighbors wit nice gardens, neighbors you could chat up and ask for advice? Most gardeners I know love to share their knowledge with a willing listener.

This. Your county extension agent probably can give you some written handouts too. And your local nurseries are a good source of advice/information.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
15,332 posts, read 8,496,685 times
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It's a good idea putting much down and letting whatever is there grow until you can really identify it. Once you discover what it is, put plant label stakes down next to the plants you want to save, Be sure to make a sketch of your garden and what plant is where. My guess though, is that you have a lot of weeds if it was a designated vegetable garden. Pull them all out once you decide if it is a weed.
Next year you will have to weed again. I prefer my garden to be organic so I don't use weed suppressants like Preen. I think the biggest mistake new gardeners make is over crowding and planting too much of one thing. I plant 4 Roma tomatoes and one Beef Master. The Roma's are for the freezer and I usually have enough to cook with all winter. You have to picture in your mind how big everything gets. Tomatoes need more room than green peppers and zucchini needs more room than tomatoes. Pumpkins will take over your whole bed. I made my own cages out of five foot fencing for the tomatoes. They're much sturdier than the ones you buy. I use those for kale, eggplant, broccoli, and green peppers.

I like to add a mixture of fresh dirt, mushroom compost, and cow manure to the hole I dig for the plants. Why feed the weeds? I like flowers around my garden and have orange marigolds that have been coming back year after year. Last year I transplanted over 30. This year, only about 15.

I love my gardens. My whole back yard has no grass. There's a big vegetable garden and flowers every where. We'll be eating kale in about another week. There's nothing better than fresh green beans an vine ripe tomatoes.

It's not hard to garden, and you may find it as enjoyable as I do.
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Old 06-25-2019, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,497 posts, read 45,482,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Buy a really good gardening book.

https://bonnieplants.com/the-bonnie-...new-gardeners/

https://www.thespruce.com/best-gardening-books-4159206

I'm not endorsing any of the books but just wanted to give you an idea what's out there. Hell, I still use my 40(?) year old Victory Garden books by Jim Crockett and Bob Thompson. With the exception of pesticide use, and Crockett really bombed it, the basics are still pretty much the same.
My husband used to say if I ever left him he knew right where to look. I would be stalking The Victory Garden for Jim Crockett or Bob Thompson. They are the only people I ever asked for autographs!
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:26 PM
 
2,812 posts, read 1,145,790 times
Reputation: 4757
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeavingNYCfast View Post
Does anybody have suggestions for gardening for dummies type resources? We live in Westchester, NY now and prior to this I lived in townhomes or apartments and never had a garden to deal with. We have a lawn care service but doing the garden beds/trees ourselves. I really have no idea what I'm doing. The beds were planted by the builder but not marked in any way. When I say novice I really mean it. Like to the point where I'm staring at areas in my garden beds debating, is that a weed or a bush that was intentionally planted? I tried one of those apps that identifies plants but it just says, well it could be one of these 8 things pick which one it is. I downloaded the app because I don't know which one it is! I didn't have money in the budget this year to do much with the garden other than throw down mulch in the spring. So I'm just trying to keep it looking nice and the weeds out so I can be ready for next year to try and get some new plants/flowers.
Best of luck with your new hobby. There are tons of info on each plant, shrub, tree online. You will be able to do lots of detective work to find out what they are. First divide them into the type they are vine, tree, shrub, plant. Do they have flowers, what color are they? Note the shape of the leaves. Then you do a search for each one online such as shrub with white flowers. Or big tree that turns red in fall, or something like that. Put that in the search terms, and then click on the "images" at the top, and look at each picture to compare that with your plant. When you find a photo that looks like yours then click on it, and start reading. It can take awhile, but you will sift through it all, and learn a lot as you go. You can also do a search for common weeds, and weed seedlings so you can learn to identify them. They are much easier to pull up when little. After that, many get roots down to China, lol.

I made an e-mail folder for gardening, and when I found a good reference site for my plant I copied the address of the page, and pasted it into an e-mail to myself. Then I moved that e-mail into the gardening folders. That way I didn't have to look it up each time. Once you have identified your new baby then you can make your search terms more specific using it's common name, or it's botanical name. Below I did a general search "growing shrubs in New York". Also, you can send away for seed, and plant catalogs to read through. Many have lots of good info to learn from. And they are fun to read through in winter to get ideas from. Best regards, and have fun.

https://www.google.com/search?q=grow...hrome&ie=UTF-8


P.S. Before I forget, you can also pay a visit to different nurseries in your area. That can be lots of fun, and some are very helpful.
--------------------------------------------------
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Virginia
4,823 posts, read 2,489,181 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexTheCat View Post
This. Your county extension agent probably can give you some written handouts too. And your local nurseries are a good source of advice/information.
I have to second the fact that your local county extension agent will be more than happy to give you plenty of reading material and information, as well as inform you of classes for your area. I know we have classes that are open to the public every fourth Tuesday at local libraries (tonight's class is on ticks) that are very informative. Most county extension agents are also happy to just talk about garden topics as well if they have the time - it's their passion as well as their job.
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Old 06-25-2019, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Midwest
4,658 posts, read 7,482,299 times
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I planted tomatoes in a 4' x 4' patch in front of our apartment when we were in PA. We had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with.

Last year I got my wife three tomato plants for mother's day. I stuck them in the ground, watered them, and we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with.

This year I planted three tomato plants, eight lettuce, on yellow pepper or something like that. One plant already has two tiny tomatoes on it. They've been in the ground 2-3 weeks.

Stick something in the ground. It's not too late now. The worst that can happen is nothing.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA, USA
1,058 posts, read 607,079 times
Reputation: 2390
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeavingNYCfast View Post
Does anybody have suggestions for gardening for dummies type resources? We live in Westchester, NY now and prior to this I lived in townhomes or apartments and never had a garden to deal with. We have a lawn care service but doing the garden beds/trees ourselves. I really have no idea what I'm doing. The beds were planted by the builder but not marked in any way. When I say novice I really mean it. Like to the point where I'm staring at areas in my garden beds debating, is that a weed or a bush that was intentionally planted? I tried one of those apps that identifies plants but it just says, well it could be one of these 8 things pick which one it is. I downloaded the app because I don't know which one it is! I didn't have money in the budget this year to do much with the garden other than throw down mulch in the spring. So I'm just trying to keep it looking nice and the weeds out so I can be ready for next year to try and get some new plants/flowers.
It is very satisfying to garden, even in a townhouse situation. Being a city slicker, I knew nothing about anything, but I planted things on my patio and watched them grow (or not) and come back the next year (or not). Ask your neighbors, the garden stores, and check online for pointers. Some plants need sun, some like the shade. You will find out what works for your garden, patio, or porch. As an example, I love lobelias to death, but they are hard to sustain in my micro climate area, and growing technique. I also tend to overwater or underwater. One thing that is hard to kill are hostas (they love shade). Hydrangeas are pretty tolerant too, but they get wimpy in the heat-you need to keep them watered. Geraniums and Coleus are easy to grow and care for, also. Some things thrive in containers, such as blueberry shrubs. Some plants will pop up on their own. I have a volunteer weeping cherry tree coming up in my back yard, courtesy of the squirrels. Enjoy what you are able to grow. If you mass what works in your yard or area, it will look even better.
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