If you're planning to relocate to a coastal area in the American South soon, you're undoubtedly looking forward to having close proximity to the beach as well as enjoying warm weather on a regular basis. However, you probably also have questions about living in a warm-climate coastal environment when it comes to matters such as gardening and yard care, especially if you're used to living in an area with cold winters. Here's what you need to know about gardening in the American South.
You Can Garden All Year Round
One of the best things about living in the American South is that you can enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers straight from the garden during all months of the year. Cool-season annuals and vegetables thrive during the winter months. If you plant plenty of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radishes, artichokes, and all kinds of salad greens in autumn, you'll be able to enjoy them on your table within two months. Root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes also grow well in Southern gardens during winter.
You can enjoy most flowering annuals during winter in the South except for the few that truly thrive only in warm temperatures, such as morning glories, sunflowers and zinnias. Nasturtiums, sweet peas, larkspur, bachelor's buttons, pansies and snapdragons all put on a glorious floral display when outdoor temperatures are mild.
Soils Are Often Sandy
Having sandy soils doesn't automatically doom you to having to live without a thriving garden, but it does mean that you'll have to make certain concessions, such as adding organic matter to the soil and making sure you choose plants that thrive in sandy areas. This is where the value of your local garden store really shines -- they'll be able to recommend plants that grow well in local soils. This is the sort of benefit that you can't get from an online plant retailer, so don't hesitate to ask for advice when you visit a local nursery.
Your soil may be so sandy that no amount of organic amendments are going to make much of a difference if you live right next to the ocean. Not many things will grow in these conditions beyond several species of grasses that are native to coastal regions, but this doesn't mean you can't create an appealing garden. Raised beds filled with rich, nutritious soil provide an ideal environment for a wide variety of plants. Containers and hanging baskets also provide a way to enjoy flowering plants and culinary herbs.
It's also important to keep in mind that high winds sometimes wreak havoc on coastal gardens, so you'll need to place specimen plants and vegetable gardens in sheltered areas.