Photo by Melody
Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.

Beginner Gardening Questions: Recommend your favorite plants

Communities > Forums > Beginner Gardening Questions
bookmark
Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 8, Views: 63
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
mshelenlu
Larkfield-Wikiup, CA

June 26, 2014
4:17 PM

Post #9878441

Please recommend a veggie, fruit, or cut flower that you think would be the best for a beginning gardener. I live in sonoma county, ca and will be planting in a raised bed.

Looking forward to hearing what others love.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

June 26, 2014
7:48 PM

Post #9878655

Leonotis leonuris is an unusual shrub with showy orange flowers. I do not know how well they hold up to cutting. It is a tough, durable shrub that will stand up to little or no water, hot sun and keep on blooming. Of course just a little care will help it look a lot nicer. Deep, rich green leaves that are toothed and look different.
Too big for your raised bed, though.

OK, back to reality.

Cut flowers: Lavender. and there are some dwarf forms that only get a foot high or a bit bigger.

Edible: I like plants to make tea out of. Catmint (I have Walker's Low), and some native mint relatives like Monarda villosa. Other Monardas are good, too.
Lemon Balm is another VERY nice herb, if you like lemon flavor tea or for cooking. Deep, rich green...

Fruit: Can't beat strawberries right off the plant!
mshelenlu
Larkfield-Wikiup, CA

June 27, 2014
1:56 PM

Post #9879292

Diana - your dreamy rant about Leonotis leonuris made me laugh. Moe i know what I am missing out on.

I am growing some sweet mint and it is so aromatic. I love it!

I had one strawberry plant as a test and did not do so well with it. It gave me two strawberries which a bird took before I could and that was it. Nothing more =(

StillPlaysWDirt

StillPlaysWDirt
(Becky), Lipan, TX
(Zone 7b)

July 8, 2014
9:20 AM

Post #9888668

Diana has great recommendations, you should listen to her. And I also need a reality check from time to time since I get major zone envy, particularly of you gardeners along the west coast. Just wanted to give my two cents, some of these might seem boring, but they are low maintenance, great starter plants. And most *should* do well in your zone :)

Veggies: Pole beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, tomatillos are easy ones. I would look for dwarf variety tomatoes since they take up less room in a raised bed and would be easier to maintain. Pole beans will produce longer than bush beans, and they will fix the nitrogen in your soil which would be a great boost for any winter veggies you may wish to start later.

Fruit: can't go wrong with strawberries or cantaloupes. The melons can be tied to a trellis to take up less room than their ground-trailing counterparts. I believe there are even low-bush type blueberries which would be well suited for a smaller space like a raised bed.

Cut flower: yarrow, lavender, orlaya, echinacea, cockscomb are some of my favorites. Zinnias, sunflowers and marigolds can even be direct seeded and provide ample blooms perfect for cutting.

You may also want to try some herbs. They are pretty carefree aside from regular watering, periodic feeding, and are available for low cost at most nurseries or even grocery stores! Rosemary, basil, thyme are good ones to start with.

Perhaps the most important part is to research some of the plants that most appeal to you, and see if they'd do well in your zone, particularly in the immediate environment your raised bed will be in (sun, water, soil). And any of your gardening neighbors would be a great resource. Maybe offer to help them weed or water, and pick their brain while you're at it. Good luck!!
nutsaboutnature
Algonquin, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 8, 2014
8:49 PM

Post #9889191

I'm assuming you're planning for next year.

The very first flowers I ever grew, a long, long time ago, were Zinnias, both Giant and Thumbelina. I was very young and didn't know the first thing about planting seeds. To make matters worse, it was an area of northern CA with hard-packed red clay everywhere.

I followed the package directions and was rewarded with oodles of the most beautiful, colorful flowers that I was constantly cutting to bring in the house. Based on that first-time experience, I would have to recommend Zinnias.

For veggies/fruits, I think tomatoes and zucchini are great for beginners. They grow fast and produce a lot. Zucchini grow so fast you'll want to check them daily while they're producing. A pencil-thin zucchini one day can become huge almost overnight.

As far as raised beds...based only on my own personal experience, I think everything grows better in a raised bed.

Domehomedee

Domehomedee
Arroyo Grande, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 10, 2014
9:07 PM

Post #9890676

Just a word on companion planting. I always plant marigolds in my vege garden as they deter a number of bugs. Here is a site that mentions various companion plants:
http://toadstoolponds.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/why-plant-marigolds-in-your-vegetable-garden/
There are others just google "companion planting".
As for easy flowers . . . nasturtiums, geraniums, and daffodils (put these in the ground, gophers won't eat them).
Easy veges . . . carrots, beets, tomatoes, strawberries.
Suggestion on the raised bed. . . don't use perlite in your soil mix.

Cville_Gardener

Cville_Gardener
Middle TN
United States
(Zone 7a)

July 11, 2014
6:23 AM

Post #9890819

If you like peppers, the variety 'Giant Marconi' is wonderful. :)

Parsley is easy to grow and very useful. I love herbs in general.

Flowers - I love Four O'Clocks and phlox of all kinds. Also daffodils. Favorite bf plants are the milkweeds (Asclepias) and my faves for the hummers are the honeysuckles.
Bonadea
Derry, NH

July 11, 2014
6:35 AM

Post #9890830

For veggies/fruit, plant what you eat. I know me, if it's not where I see it every day, I'm not going to care for it well enough.

I wouldn't really do shrub shrubs in a planter.

For plants, a little hard for me to answer being on the East coast, but I'll tell you what works for me.

Daffodils are the first to come out in my garden. After 19 months of winter (I'm being silly, but it literally snows here now from October to March these days), the warm yellowness makes me warm and happy to see. It's like the light at the end of the tunnel.

Than I rely on color from the annuals for the plants.

This is about when my trees and shrubs start blooming. Love my Azalea's the best. I just found Guara which says it stays smallers and blooms for us all season which is amazing. I haven't planted it yet. So that might be OK for a planter.

Just finished the peonies which are INCREDIBLE, but very short lived. It attracts ants and I'm told needs the ants to open. So I don't like these near the house.

Now you also have the lillies coming up.

Next will be my black eye susan's and sunflowers.

When I first bought the house, I would just go to the nurseries every couple of weeks and see what was blooming and take notes. I would watch people's yards and see what I liked.

If you want more constant bloomers, my neighbors LOVES knock out roses. I try and stay away from anything that pricks.

Salvia is real pretty.

Bloomfly22
Palmdale, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 11, 2014
8:26 AM

Post #9890902

I have that classic zone envy for those in more humid climates, lol! While I do live on the West Coast, I am far enough inland that the desert heat dries everything out. A lot of veggies I attempt to grow get super dried out, which makes for horrible harvests.

On the other hand, if your climate is hot like mine, then heat lovers like watermelon and tomato will wonderful there. Oleander is another good shrub here. There are all sizes of Oleander plants here, from small 1-2 foot dwarf plants, to the 8 foot giants I share with my neighbor. Profuse bloomers here, those plants. The white and pink ones on the property line of my house are covered in flowers almost year round, except for the dead of winter.

Another good plant is the society garlic. It seems to love all sorts of climates. Mine grow for most of the year, stopping in winter. The leaves die back a bit then, and new ones emerge in spring, followed by tall flower stalks, with clusters of light purple-pink flowers. A neat thing about this plant is that you can brew tea from the leaves to relieve headaches! The tea is pretty foul tasting though, being it tastes like garlic, lol!

Best wishes
-Bloomfly

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Beginner Gardening Questions Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Cyclanthus bipartitus 'Gigant' bepah 3 Jun 11, 2010 9:05 AM
Welcome to the Beginner Gardening Questions forum! dave 53 Jun 18, 2013 4:28 PM
canna rhizomes help Allison_FL 20 Jan 16, 2013 6:55 PM
Where to locate my garden - light issues Martell 18 Apr 19, 2010 2:17 PM
Baby Oak Tree Seedtosser1 13 Jun 4, 2009 5:13 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America