Here in the Atlanta area, gardeners are blessed with a long growing season. However, it’s not a bed of roses, at least not solely. If you’re just getting started but want to make a serious go of it, these five-pointers can set you on the right path.
1. Check the USDA Hardiness Zones and the Soil Type
The country is a large one, encompassing many different ecosystems and climates. While you may love a particular family of plants, checking to see whether they grow annually or can make it through the winter and be constituted as either a biennial or perennial is essential. Atlanta is in hardiness zone 7a, which means that most plants in a vegetable garden and those that favor a more tropical latitude won’t make it more than a season. However, the climate is sufficiently mild to produce many flowers and shrubs perennial.
While Atlanta is also the beneficiary of a suitable location in the piedmont or foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the soil has taken a beating from more than a century of unwise farming practices. The red soil for which the region is so infamous is the subsoil. Generations of unrotated cotton and other crops stripped away the black loam that once crowned the iron-rich, acidic clay. Composted cow manure is advised for soil loosening and enriching at a fraction of the cost of chemical fertilizers.
2. Keep Track of Where You Plant
While this won’t necessarily apply if you’re more interested in flower beds, there are certain types of plants, like broccoli, that release an inhibiting chemical into the soil. This means that broccoli and anything closely related to it won’t flourish in the same spot during the following season. Plot your garden on a piece of paper and indicate where you’ve planted which crop, so there is no confusion. This will also help the soil regenerate its nutrients and recover from the growing season.
3. The Virtue of Verisimilitude
While the region around Atlanta is blessed with a long growing season, that in itself isn’t a blessing if you want a pure grass lawn. The constant and encroaching presence of weeds, poor soil, poorly situated plots on a slope or at the bottom of pitches, and trees, which shade out sun-loving and hoard nutrients, are all impediments to having the lawn look you want. However, there is a great solution, which saves work and precludes the use of expensive fertilizers and herbicides. Artificial grass is a growing trend. No longer what one might think of, it has a look and feels of natural grass without the tiring labor and deep maintenance expense.
While it’s used for dog runs and pet daycares, athletic fields, and public playgrounds, the presentation has come a long way in the past few decades. It looks and feels real, which makes it ideal for residential purposes. artificial turf in Atlanta is a solution for one of the most resource-intensive applications in America—the perfect lawn. Plus, it can be ordered and installed for any purpose, from the perfect lawn look to a putting green without either venue’s labor and care requirements.
4. Check the Sun
This is one of the most common mistakes that new gardeners make. The plant, without checking how much sun a particular spot receives and winds up with disappointing results. Before you purchase plants for your garden, do a bit of research on how much sun those plants need and observe your prospective plots to make sure those needs are met. Then, read the plant tags advisedly. If a plant says “full sun” but isn’t native to this region or one farther south, make sure it gets a bit of shade during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
5. Start Small
This is another standard error made by newer gardeners. Having ambitious plans for your yard isn’t a bad thing. However, whether you’re interested in flowers or vegetables, start small. Work on the part of a larger plan this season and expand it next year. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed and quit. Learn to rest, and learn to pace yourself.
Gardening is one of the most rewarding pursuits you can undertake. Not only is it good for you in many ways, but it’s also good for the environment. However, make sure you expend your effort and time in ways that will show you the fruits of your labor.