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This may sound like a dumb question but...

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by chermoni on July 30, 2006 12:52 PM
There are a few people, I've noticed, that have mentioned zones. I new to gardening, mostly I just have house plants but am looking to expand to outdoors by next year. What does zone 6 or zone anything mean? Is it something I need to know about before I start on outdoor gardening next year? Particularly for shade plants? Thank you and I appologize for being so naive, but like I said, I'm a beginner. [Embarrassed]

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by afgreyparrot on July 30, 2006 12:59 PM
Zones

This will explain it better than I can! [Embarrassed] [Big Grin]

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by johnCT on August 01, 2006 01:31 AM
Beginners can't possibly be naive. No problem. You should definitely make a note of the zone you're in. I believe it's 7 or 8 in Seattle. This will come in handy when you would like to know wether or not a plant can make it through the winter in your garden. The higher the number, the more milder the winters are.

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John - Zone 6
by tkhooper on August 01, 2006 03:51 AM
Your not 7 or 8 in Seattle more like 5. Where do you live in Seattle. My Dad is in Lake City.

Anyway there are lots and lots of plants you can use in the shade. But before you start buying anything you need to do a soil test. That will tell you what your soil is like. If you have any evergreens in your yard or that overhang your yard you may have an acid soil that needs to be addressed either by using acid loving plants in your garden or by adjusting your soil with lime.

Sounds confusing doesn't it? But your starting at the right time to have a garden next year.

The soil test is where to start along with knowing your zone and how much sun the area gets. Then you need figure out how your going to make your beds. Pull the weeds and sod out or use a layering technique to kill off all the grass and weeds that are where you want to plant next year. Either way you want to do that now so you can ammend the soil so it's ready to plant in next year.

I'll leave it there because I don't want to overwhelm you with information.

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by chermoni on August 02, 2006 12:10 PM
Thanks, that is all very helpful. How do I do a soil test though? It that something I can buy at store to just stick into the dirt? I was also just noticing yesterday that in the late after noon, about half of that area gets some sun, but not for more than about in hour, probably less in the winter. I also looked up that zone map and based on the average lows here in the winter, I thought I was in about zone 8 or 9. I live not far from the water so it generally doesn't get as cold here as other parts of the city. I'm in Ballard by the way.

All your info isn't really overwhelming, I'll take all the info I can get. I love all the help and advice I've been receiving on this site so far. I think I'm more excited about gardening than I was before I joined this forum.

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Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
by tkhooper on August 03, 2006 12:42 AM
You can get the kit at lowe's or home depot and just follow the directions. They are pretty easy. But yes there are the little meter type things too. I have no idea how those work. Or you can contact the university cooperative extention and talk to them about how to get a test done by them. They really give you an indepth summary of what your soil needs. And they have master gardeners there to answer questions as well.

I've remembered lows in the single digits in Seattle and snows that lasted weeks. I'm not sure that plants that require zone 7 or 8 would do well in that situation. But who knows it never hurts to try.

It's been getting so hot here in Virginia that I've been thinking about trying some zone 8 plants out in the garden. We are having close to triple digits here this week so I'm really hot and the plants outside are having problems too. The miniature roses are going dormant because of the heat. And although the peppers and tomatoes love it the glads didn't last as long this year as they have in previous years. And the snapdragons are drying up into just sticks. I'm not at all sure they will be back in the fall. It makes me want to move to a cooler climate.

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by chermoni on August 03, 2006 07:09 AM
Wow, single digits?! I've lived here 16 years and the coldest I've ever seen it get was low 20's. I also live really close to puget sound so I'm just about at sea level and when and if it does snow at my house, it doesn't last for more than a day or so. It's really bizarre because if you go a mile or 2 up the hill from where I live there will be snow and sometimes lasts for a few days but as you drive down the hill closer to the water, the snow turns to rain.

We had a heat wave here about a week ago. It was in the upper 90's which reall sucks for us because air conditioning is not standard. We're back down to mid to upper 70's now and it feels nice.

Anyway, we do get unusual winters every now and then so maybe just to be safe I'll look at plants that are maybe zone 5 or 6? Thanks again for all your help. This has become my new favorite web site.

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Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
by tkhooper on August 03, 2006 09:12 AM
It's my favorite too. How are you doing with the soil testing?

I'm sure that columbines will probably do well for you. And they come in many different colors and combinations of colors.

They require a cold spell before they will sprout but I think they are worth it. They flower spring and fall so you would have to have something to fill in during the summer but there are alots of things in that catagory. I just mention the columbine because I have clay and they still manage to do really well.

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by chermoni on August 06, 2006 03:37 PM
I have not started to test the soil yet. Just haven't had time. I checked out the seed exchange, that looks overwhelming and I don't have anything to trade with anyway. Thanks for the recommendation on the columbines. When I go to the store next weekend I'll look and see what kind of seeds they have for shade plants for me to start indoors now and then transplant next year.

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Cheryl's Photobucket
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Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
by tkhooper on August 07, 2006 02:35 AM
Most people will send you seeds for s sasbe. But I always come home with seed packets when I go to the garden center. I can't seem to help myself. Different plants need different pH. So when you've made your selection google the plant and find out what it likes to grow well. I've lost a number of plants because I didn't check that out before planting. Especially money plants and chinese lanterns. They are hard to grow in my soil. But now I have a spot especially amended just for them.

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by Deborah L. on October 02, 2006 09:44 AM
Chermoni, have you ever seen the Betty MacDonald house on Vashon Island? Or any of her Seattle homes?
TK, these are great posts-I learned alot. [thumb]

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by chermoni on October 02, 2006 10:19 AM
Deborah,

No I haven't. Never heard of her actually but I would be interested in learning more.

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Cheryl's Photobucket
My journal

Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
by Deborah L. on October 02, 2006 03:05 PM
She wrote the "Egg and I", and other books. My favorite was the book about her life on Vashon Island, called "Onions in the Stew".
A famous author who died in the 1950's.

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by chermoni on October 02, 2006 11:57 PM
I'll have to check those out next time I'm at Barnes and Noble. Thanks for the tip. I'm always looking forward to reading new books. That's my other hobby.

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Cheryl's Photobucket
My journal

Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

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