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Moonhawk

Resources for a new gardener?

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So we are moving this month and I am inheriting a large garden area. I've never had a real in-the-ground garden before, and my attempt at pots was unsuccessful. The kids are super excited and are up for the challenge, but I don't even know what to start with. It's my nana's old house, she was a prolific gardener but the past few years couldn't do much and no one has done anything at all for the past 8 or 9 months. There are rose bushes (I think they are roses, anyway) that look either dead or diseased, but I don't know if they can be brought back with just a little water and nutrients. The fruit trees look mostly okay, maybe a little scraggly.

What are some favorite resources I should look at? Do you guys have any favorite blogs or books that can put me on the right track? I've contacted a native seed organization to figure out what we can plant that is from the area, but before I'm even at that point I have to figure out what to do with what's already here. 

eta: I should mention I'd like to salvage as much as I can, not just burn it to the ground and start over. My nana really did spend most of her time out here and loved flowers, especially the roses. I'd like to preserve the original plants as much as possible. 

Edited by Moonhawk

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Try to get your hands on a copy of Rodale's Organic Gardening.  It is essentially an encyclopedia.

Also try contacting your county extension office.  AFAIK, they tend to have many expert gardeners ready to help.

Good luck, and best wishes for a bountiful first season!  🙂

 

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One bit of advice you'll often hear, when taking over an established garden, is not to do anything major for the first year. I think that's sound, especially since you want to keep as much as you can of your grandmother's garden. Watch through the seasons and make note of what is there. I find a dedicated garden notebook is helpful.

ETA that a copy of the plat is handy for notations about what is where. You might want to enlarge it to put in details.

I agree on Rodale and the extension office. If you think the roses have problems, the extension office may well be able to diagnose them and help with solutions. You can probably get a soil test through them, too, which will help you know what you need to do in the way of amendments. But you may have inherited great garden soil, since it's been worked for years. 

Otherwise, I'd start by browsing your library gardening section. They should have regionally appropriate advice. Native plants are a great idea. You can make a real difference for local wildlife by your gardening choices.

Edited by Innisfree
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You can look for a facebook garden group in your area as well and maybe find a mentor that way. 

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I also heavily rely on my local Ag-extension. Also check out davesgarden.com. It’s like the WTM hive of gardening. Lots of good stuff and people there. 

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If your grandmother isn't still living, can you locate a relative or gardening friend of hers who had an inkling of what she did out there? I think it would be extremely useful to have a knowledgeable person tour the grounds with you and tell you what you need to do and what you can put off.  Is there a nearby neighbor who gardens who would be sympathetic? Could your local master gardeners' program help you?  I'd start with pulling obvious weeds, planting a small veggie patch, and just watching the rest happen and take notes and photos.  Maybe find a forum like this for gardeners to get help for your mission.  I've recently begun binging Gardners' World, but that might be overload fresh out of the gate. 

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