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23

It sounds like the best thing for you is a clover lawn, although of course it will only "look like grass" from a distance. Recently, after noticing that many homes in my neighborhood have large patches of clover in their lawn, and knowing how difficult it has been to battle in my own lawn, I did a search on it. Instead of finding many resources on how to ...


22

Provided that you can provide enough water, tomatoes are not difficult to grow in summer. Just go to your local garden center and buy some varieties that look like you would want to eat them. If your weather is above 85 degrees, most tomatoes will flower but not set fruit. Find a variety that sets fruit in hot weather — perhaps something like HEATWAVE. ...


18

Many houseplants can withstand low light intensity. You can google "houseplant". Some of them can clean the air too, according to a research done by NASA. I have a copy of that research in google doc here. Here is a shortlist of houseplants: Hedera helix English ivy Chlorophytum comosum spider plant Epipiremnum aureum golden pothos Spathiphyllum ...


17

If you're new to gardening in general, you might start off trying to grow your own herbs. Basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, and sage are all really easy to grow and handle neglect reasonably well. Most of the perennial herbs will handle a wide range of climates, and the annuals will generally self-sow quite happily (that may or may not be a good thing, ...


15

Don't really have plant based solution, but if you just want a potential organic solution to keep mosquitoes in your general area in check, then you could build a couple of bat houses. Mosquitoes are some of bats favorite food and if you can successfully attract bats to live in the houses you provide, they'll cause the mosquito population in your area to ...


15

Lots of herbs are perennial, including these basic favourites: Chives Mint Oregano Rosemary Sage Tarragon Thyme Parsley will be around for a year and a bit but will start to bolt in its second spring/summer. There's a very full list of perennial herbs here or else here.


14

Bell peppers are pretty hard to get wrong, as are chilli peppers. I am trying sugar snap peas for the first time this year, and I could have gone away for a couple of months for all the attention they've needed. Good luck with the growing. Keep us informed how it goes using the community wiki.


14

Your cool wet winter will probably be a good time for the quick growing "spring" crops. The rain will make your watering job easier, and nothing is better for a beginner than quick gratification. For the hot, dry summers you are going to need to be diligent about irrigation, or else pick hardy plants. Most veggies really prefer consistent water. Roughly ...


14

Look into native plants that are attractive to wildlife such as birds, butterflies, bees, etc. You can find more information at the Minnesota Native Plant Society website. In Garden Gatherings (PDF) from the University of Minnesota Extension, there is some information on page 6 that relates to your location: Attracting Birds to Your Yard by Jane ...


12

I planted "shorty mix" from DirtWorks (no affiliation, just a happy customer): 40% Discovery Hard Fescue 30% Blazer IV Perennial Ryegrass 30% Moonshadow Kentucky Bluegrass It does not grow very tall or very quickly and does not need frequent mowing. I also knew some people who planted a low-growing clover on their lawn that they almost never ...


11

How about Jasmine? Not exactly a vine, but there are many species that might be suitable for you. They bloom at night and their perfume is incredible (there are varieties that don't have any scent, though).


10

If you want to grow kitchen herbs look for varieties that are hearty in warm climates. Basil is a good one, I'm not sure of others. Make sure that plants that want to be watered are watered well and others that do not like as much water are kept to appropriate moisture levels. Rosemary, sage and thyme grow really well in heat if you have good soil and keep ...


10

This is not really an answer to your question, but may be a step towards an answer. If you want a plant guild adapted to your area that contains Prunus species, you may want to look at your local forest to understand how it is put together and where Prunus species fit into it. In Vegetation of Wisconsin, John T. Curtis measured the prevailance of plant ...


9

I know it sounds crazy, but part of my backyard is filled with wild strawberries. They don't grow to be very tall. I only have to mow it when the other weeds get tall. It's kind of fun to walk on in the spring because of the red berries sprinkled in the salad! I'm not sure where you would get enough seed for a lawn.


9

If you've got a shady spot that grass has a tough time growing in, you might be able to let moss cover your lawn. Through sheer neglect I have adopted this strategy with good results. Walk on it with bare feet though, it feels good!


9

In California, my brother threw some cucumber seeds in the ground in April and we had nearly a cucumber every two days starting in July. They seem to grow extremely easily once established. Other than cucumbers, like others, I would say tomatoes and Swiss Chard, which do decent in hot weather. I find other greens hard to grow since they bolt quickly in ...


9

Carrots are pretty easy. We planted some here (in Las Vegas) in February, then harvested them in mid-May. They like a steady amount of water and you have to watch out for aphids (soap spray works for those). I fed them every two weeks with an organic fertilizer and added coffee grounds and extra compost on occasion. They turned out great.


9

Pollinators are no different than people, they need the same things: food, water, shelter. Food: Some butterflies like a bit of mud to puddle up minerals Shelter: many bees are under-served in the shelter area. Nesting tubes can be as simple as groups of bamboo 4-8" long, smooth with a 5/16" diameter hole. Group them together in a bundle off the ground ...


9

Legumes are often used for this purpose. From Wikipedia: Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. And Within legume nodules, nitrogen gas from the atmosphere is converted into ammonia, which is then assimilated into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), nucleotides ...


8

Your cool, rainy winters would be good for planting spinach and lettuce. Those vegetables like the cool weather, and if you have a lot of rain you won't need to worry about keeping them watered. If you plant a small amount of lettuce and/or spinach every week or two, you can have a continuous harvest of salad greens for as long as the weather stays cool. ...


8

Pumpkins are pretty easy to grow from seed. They need a couple of square metres and apart from weeding around the plants and watering you just need to control their growth. Satisfying harvest almost guaranteed.


8

If you're willing to grow veggies, snap peas are great! They don't need much tending, they're one of the first things to pop out of the soil in the spring, long before the last frost. And they are one of the best things to snack on straight off the vine. They can be planted densely, will climb any trellis you give them without much direction. And they ...


8

Unfortunately, mosquitoes are pretty persistent, and most plants just seem like a very temporary roadblock. The most important thing to do for mosquitoes is to deal with the standing water nearby. But if you live near a bog or swamp, this might be simply impossible. If not, just making sure your gutters (and your neighbors' gutters) are cleaned out twice ...


8

I will recommend two excellent (at least I think they are) low level ground covers, that I have personal experience with (have both of them in my garden), they: Love sun. In the heat of summer (MO, USA: 90°F to 115°F / 32°C to 46°C) they do best if given a good drink of water once a week. Neither of them need to be trimmed. From what ...


8

I don't really know what's the width of the "cracks" you're talking about, but if it's really the narrow cracks I'm assuming it is, where the two pieces of concrete are pretty much still abutting each other, you're going to have difficulty cultivating anything there. The seeds of weeds may blow into small holes and grass shoots may find their way up, but ...


8

Mike Perry's answer covers much of the food and water aspect. There's also the perspective of shelter. Depending on what kind of birds you want to attract, planting trees and landscaping in a way that provides small birds with protection from predators encourages them to stick around when they've discovered that your yard is a good source of food. A ...


8

I'm in Newcastle, Australia, and have a very happy Murraya growing in my front yard. It receives full sun in a Northernly aspect. It grows like mad in summer and requires trimming once a week. Top temperatures here are usually 30-35C, but 40C is possible. It is fertilized with cow manure. I rarely need to water it but the topsoil here is not sandy.


8

Consider blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Blueberries need acid soil, and probably are good deer browse, so I'd do raspberries or blackberries first. I particularly like the "gold" or "yellow" varieties, because birds don't recognize them as food.


7

I have tried Citronella plant, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Balm, and Catnip. About the only thing that actually worked was rubbing Catnip leaves on my exposed skin, and that didn't deter them for particularly long. They all smell nice, though, and the cats enjoy having fresh catnip. I'm investing in screening my porch in this year.



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