Bees, tulips and weed killer: Answers to your most common Georgia gardening questions

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Simple Tips for Helping the Planet .Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. But you don't have to wait until then to start helping the planet.Here are a few simple things you can do.Store your meals in reusable containers and avoid putting them in plastic or paper bags.Same goes for the grocery store.In fact, it is best to not use plastic bags at all.When cleaning up your house, recycle as much as you can.Old electronics can even be recycled instead of thrown in the trash.Using compact fluorescent bulbs to light up your living space will help you save energy.If you have space, consider planting a tree.Starting a garden containing flowers, vegetables or both is also a great idea

Gardening season has officially begun, but you may not quite know where to get started.

Wondering about the best organic weed control option? How about the best time to plant tomatoes? Here are answers to some of the most common gardening questions in Atlanta.

Can you use coffee grounds for plants?

There are strong differing views on this, but Walter Reeves, the AJC’s gardening expert, says coffee grounds make a good soil additive, holding nutrients and water. Learn more here.

What can I use as a weed killer instead of Roundup?

Organic alternatives to Roundup, or herbicide glyphosate, include herbicidal soap, herbicidal vinegar and citrus+clove oil, which is in Bonide BurnOut. Read more here.

ExploreFind more answers to garden questions from the AJC's Walter Reeves

What are the easiest vegetables to grow?

The Farmer’s Almanac says lettuce, cherry tomatoes, radishes, green beans and cucumbers are ideal for novice gardeners. Learn more here.

Do purple martins eat carpenter bees?

Experts say purple martins only eat flying insects, and they don’t eat huge quantities of mosquitos. Find out more about what they do eat here.

A rooster sits in a chicken coop at Fort Valley Council Member LeMario Brown’s farm in Fort Valley, Friday, March 12, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
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A rooster sits in a chicken coop at Fort Valley Council Member LeMario Brown’s farm in Fort Valley, Friday, March 12, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Can you raise chickens in your backyard in Atlanta?

Yes, you can. Chickens are allowed in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Check with your city and consult county-specific rules for backyard chickens. There are also a few other things to consider before taking the plunge. Learn more here.

Is peat moss better than mulch for plants?

Peat moss can be used as part of potting mix used in containers, but mulch nourishes the soil as it disintegrates. It’s better at suppressing weeds than peat moss, which travels further than mulch. Read more about the differences and why mulch is better for top dressing here.

ExploreHow you can make a habitat to draw birds, butterflies into your garden

Where do tulip bulbs come from?

Originally, they came from seed. Seedlings grow, flower and the original bulb forms small bulblets at the base. The bulbs are harvested, dried and sent to a local retail nursery before flowering. Find out more here.

Are all types of sage edible?

No, not every kind of salvia is edible. Only a few, known as sage, are able to be consumed. They include salvia officinalis, which is used to flavor roasted poultry. Learn more here.

What plant nurseries are there near metro Atlanta?

Garden*Hood in Atlanta and Maple Ridge Nursery in Decatur are two local nurseries. Find five others around metro Atlanta here.

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What mosquito-repelling plants can I grow in Georgia?

Citronella, cinnamon basil, lemongrass lemon balm, mint, catnip and lavender are seven of mosquito-repelling plants you can grow in Georgia. Find out more about their mosquito-repelling properties here.

What’s the best flower to grow in Georgia?

Perennials are the top flower in Atlanta. Sara Henderson, volunteer chairwoman of the landscape committee at Oakland Cemetery, has several suggestions of some types to grow. Learn more here.

What’s the best weed killer for my lawn?

Some chemical solutions and patch preventers on the market include EcoSMART Weed & Grass Killer, Avenger Organic Weed Killer and Roundup For Lawns Ready-to-Use. Find out more about these products here.

What deer-resistant plants can I put in my garden?

Color guard and golden sword yuccas, also referred to as hairy soapwort and Adam’s needle, are plants that will deter deers from eating them. Find out more here.

When can I plant tomatoes in Georgia?

Tomato plants can be put in the garden beginning in mid-March through early May in Georgia. Learn more here.

When can I plant potatoes in Georgia?

Potatoes in Georgia are planted in the early spring and they’re generally ready to harvest in mid-to-late June. Rather than trying to plant them in the fall, it’s better to plant potatoes in February, according to gardening expert Walter Reeves. Learn more here.