starting a new garden in central illinois

zrox(5)May 13, 2011

Hello all,

We are starting out fresh at a new construction single family home. We had the yard seeded past week and its starting to come up slowly. We are in central illinois.

House is North-South oriented.

I am looking for recommendations on the following.

1) Ideal perennial flowering plants/shrubs

2) We love trees and would like fall colors. In addition to crab apples, maples, what else can we plant?

3) Recommendations on good quality nurseries to purchase trees

4) Ideal location for a vegetable garden. Recommendations on suitable vegetables for our climate

5) Anything else you can spare for an inexperienced gardener.

I am from a tropical wet & dry climate. Gardening in those areas is very simple and easy. Everything grows rapidly with sufficient availability of water. The only care I have experience is watering them every day.

Its my understanding trees are very slow growing here due to cold weather.

Thank you for all your time

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I was in the same boat a few years back, came over here and did not have a clue. The things that worked for me I placed on a web site ... that horrible winter storm) had to think about spring somehow. All my comments are specifically for gardening in the Midwest. I live in the Chicago Metro Area. All I can say is please do not plant any maples, they are a nuisance.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:01PM
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Yeah, I did see your site from some of your other responses. Cool time lapse videos.

Why do you say Maples are a nuisance?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:43AM
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xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska(5)

1. You might plant cottonwood trees on the south and east to shade your house. They grow very quickly and the leaves shimmer and rub together with a wispy sound, turning yellow in the fall. Be prepared to remove them in about 20 years, but that will give your hardwoods time to grow and mature. You "go green" and save money, too, with less utilities.
2. You're in squash country now. You know all of those things that grow on vines? Butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers are all favorites. Also zucchini squash.
3. Remember those stories of the pilgrims? You're in the same kind of zone-pumpkins, corn, squash, potatoes, onions, beans, peas, beets, carrots.
4. Anything that requires a long growing period to reach maturity should be planted as early as possible. Fruit trees are great, but in this zone the blossoms will sometimes freeze and it's rare to be able to "count on" a certain amount/crop each year.
5. Enjoy those crunchy fall days. Rake leaves into piles and jump in them. Tie a dozen cornstalks together at the top and set the bottom ends out like a tripod--lots of fun! Don't forget to use those leaves as nature's mulch to cover plants up for the winter so they don't "bite the dust" in the sub-zero days.
Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 8:48PM
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