Garden Shack Farm is dedicated to your gardening success. The plants we grow and sell are best suited to thrive in Sussex County. We offer site-specific plants as well (for example - salt tolerant for coastal exposure, wet soil tolerant, full sun, etc.), which you can find listed on our shopping website.
Gardening is almost entirely about putting the right plant in the right place.
Before you get started, here are some points to keep in mind to help you pick out the plant(s) that will thrive in your garden:
KNOW YOUR AMOUNT OF SUN. How many hours of sun does the area you are planting get? Keep an eye on the area at different times of day and note if there are shadows from buildings, shade from trees, etc. More than 6 hours of direct sun is considered full sun, 5 or 6 hours is part sun, 3 or 4 hours is part shade, and less than 3 hours of direct sun is a full shade area.
KNOW WHICH WAY YOUR GARDEN FACES. Unless you're planting something in the middle of an open field, you should know the orientation of your garden. All things being equal, if you are planting on the north or east side of your house, that is going to be less intense sun exposure than planting on the south or west side. For example, 6 hours of direct southwest-facing sun might require a tougher, more heat-tolerant plant.
KNOW YOUR WATER SITUATION. Do you have irrigation where you are planting or will you need to water by hand? Note if there is standing water in the area after it rains. Does your yard slope? Do downspouts empty into the area? If it is an area that will receive more or less than an average amount of water, this is important to keep in mind.
KNOW YOUR SOIL SITUATION. Most soils in eastern Sussex County are sandy. Whether it is sandy or has a higher portion of clay, it can always be improved by adding organic matter such as compost. To check your soil’s ph and to learn what nutrients you may need to add, start by getting a soil sample from UD Cooperative Extension in Georgetown.
LOOK AT NEIGHBORING PROPERTIES. What is growing well in your neighbors' yards? What have they struggled to grow? These may be good clues to give you ideas of what you should grow or avoid growing.
THINK ABOUT WILDLIFE. Do you have an abundance of deer passing through your property? Are you trying to attract birds, bees, or butterflies? These factors should influence your plant choices.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WIND. Sussex County tends to be windy, even when there isn't a nor'easter blowing off the coast. Does the wind whip between houses through your yard? Are there areas where the wind can be brutal (especially from the northeast)? Think about planting strong wind blockers or not planting high profile plants in a particularly windy area.
KNOW YOUR HOA RESTRICTIONS. Many homeowners' properties are subject to rules and bylaws as part of their homeowners' association. These can include where you can and cannot plant, how tall your trees can get, and even whether or not you can grow vegetables. Know what you are allowed to do before you plant.
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU USE YOUR PROPERTY. Where will you spend time relaxing outside or entertaining? Do you want a privacy hedge year-round or to keep bee-attracting plants away from guests? What is your view from your favorite window and what would you like to see when you look out? Do you need a lawn area for impromptu soccer games or would you prefer to grow salads? All these and many more factors should influence what you decide to grow.
THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE. Many, many, way too many, people plant their gardens and they look amazing right now, but in a year or two, the trees are touching the house or overhead wires, the shrubs are blocking the windows or walkways, and the flowers are on top of each other. Plants grow. Some grow quickly, some grow slowly, but they all grow, so think about what your plants will look like 2, 5, 10 years down the road. Don't make more work for yourself. Additionally before planting, think about how much maintenance your plants require and how much you are willing to do.
CONSIDER YOUR CURB APPEAL. Ideally when you have finished planting, your property will look appealing to those passing by. Think about textures, colors, and heights. It's good to plant in harmony with your home and your neighborhood. Ideally you have a certain style or theme that ties all of your plants together.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE. Beautiful landscaping, especially the addition of trees, can increase your home value 10% to 20% and help save on your energy bills. Of course your yard should be a place you enjoy spending time, and so we always recommend planting what YOU like. Use colors, textures, layouts, and scents that appeal to you and your family and friends, and you will be much happier!
We are here to help you with these choices. Feel free to stop by for more information!