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24

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. ...


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 ...


23

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 `...


19

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 ...


18

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 ...


18

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, ...


17

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.


16

Edit: Because there is a limit to how long this answer can be, the most updated versions of the lists contained herein (and some not even mentioned here) can be found here (note that this link does not function on Sunday). Since the temperature in your area fluctuates so much between day and night, the rules are a little bit different. I know the daytime ...


15

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.


15

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 ...


15

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 (...


13

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).


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 ...


12

For many indoor tropical plants life in the office is slow death. You may feel that way yourself after a bad day! With minimal light levels and good watering practices most tropicals will live for a while. The ones that require high light will draw on their stored resources in the roots and gradually go downhill. Tropicals that tolerate low light levels for ...


12

I have read the original NASA studies and the plant industry has misused the findings to sell more stock. Yes, plants do filter air but only when their metabolism is going at full speed, that means lots of light, lots of air circulation. Outside light levels in the tropics are hundreds to thousands of times more intense than anything inside your car. ...


11

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

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.


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


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 ...


10

Here are some things I have had experience with in this situation. They all will grow with proper care. thyme leaf lettuce radishes spinach pepper determinate tomatoes baby style carrots tophat blueberries poly variegated cat grass sage oregano strawberries catmint potatoes sweet potatoes


10

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.


10

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

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

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 ...


9

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. ...


9

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.



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