Moving to MD & starting a new garden
Hi there, fellow Mid-Atlantic gardeners! Just wanted to introduce myself after a few weeks of mostly lurking in the forums, and start getting to know my soon-to-be garden neighbors. :-)
My name's Nora, and I'm moving to Hyattsville, MD from the outskirts of Houston, TX at the start of July. I used to live in NJ, so Mid-Atlantic gardening won't be *completely* new, but I still have a lot to learn. My husband and I are moving into a house with 2 other couples that we've been close with for a decade (in one case) or two (in the other), and the place actually has a sizable yard (hooray!). Our friends tell me that it's fairly heavy clay, so we do plan to get the soil tested & see how much help it needs (or whether it's finally time to take up Square Foot Gardening) before we do anything much. I'm afraid I've been planning a little bit obsessively, as spring fever has hit and there's nothing I can do about it here.
It seems weird, but I've been in garden exile here in Texas. I was so excited to live in a climate that allowed for year-round gardening that I spent all of my spare time, energy & money on building a giant raised-bed garden in the back yard when we first moved down here. Unfortunately, this area of TX is completely infested with fire ants who *laughed* at all of the various organic and chemical weapons we deployed. So when I developed a catastrophic fire ant allergy that sent me to the ER, I had to abandon the whole undertaking (right at tomato-staking time, too!). :-( Now I can't wait to get back to the green! It's been maddening having to avoid anything outdoors that isn't solid concrete.
As a first-time Marylander moving in high summer, though, I do have a couple of questions:
1. Aside from a couple of extra frost-free weeks, are there any big differences between gardening in the D.C. area of Maryland and gardening in central New Jersey? (I had a community garden plot in the New Brunswick area when I lived there, so there weren't any of the mountain- or coastal-gardening concerns.)
2. What flowers, veggies or small fruits could be reasonably planted in containers in July-August in MD, just to slake the gardening withdrawal a bit? Anything at all? or should I just put off all planting until the bed setup, soil testing & amendments, etc. are done for a fresh start in spring of 2014?
Thanks -- and nice to (virtually) meet you all!
-- Nora (Brigids_Ember)