7 New Year Resolutions for Gardeners
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Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, right? Get in shape, eat better, get more sleep, reduce stress. All grand ideas, and ones I aspire to year after year. We all want to improve an aspect of our lives…what better time to start?
If you’re a gardener, there are likely a few more specific habits you want to form, or goals to meet! If you’re an experienced grower, chances are you know what you need to do. Listing goals and intentions helps to keep me on track. Or, if you’re just starting out, you’ll need some general guidelines to motivate you in the gardening season. Read on…
Here’s a list of New Year Gardening Resolutions for you!
1. Order early.
Don’t wait until planting time to think about what you’re going to grow. Seed companies do run out of stock, especially of that ONE variety you can’t find anywhere else! If you rely on mail order, best practice is to order early for the best selection. And when the ideal planting weekend arrives, you want to have your seeds on hand!
This may mean different things for different folks. Compost is a FREE source of nutrition for your garden, as well as a FREE way of disposing of organic material, all without contributing to landfills! If you’re new to composting, resolve to keep a small bucket in the kitchen for fruit/vegetable waste. Keep a larger barrel outside to empty into, and layer kitchen scraps with leaves or shredded paper.
Part A: Focus on one crop! Choose one vegetable to focus on this season. Master the art of spinach, or learn how to nurture celery, or grow the biggest pumpkins. My resolution: try starting leeks from seed!
Part B: Focus on one technique! Try out one new technique or gardening method. Build a raised bed, or install drip irrigation, or raise trellises to grow pole beans or other climbing crops.
4. Increase growing space.
What gardener has “enough” growing space? Not one that I’ve ever met! My garden grows in some way every year. Here are a few ways to increase your growing space:
- Do you have acreage to expand into? Dig the sod and till the soil just a few feet further this spring.
- Are you planting in standard rows? Explore square-foot gardening, which endeavors to maximize every square foot of growing area.
- Do you have a small, fixed area for gardening? Build up! Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas and lots more will readily climb a structure if you supply it.
5. Use the compost!
Adding kitchen scraps to the compost bin or pile is just the first step. To truly benefit your plants, that compost must find its way to the garden! I sift mine into a wheelbarrow before applying. My resolution: start sifting older compost early.
Apply straw, leaves or sheets of black plastic to keep moisture in and prevent weeds from taking over your garden. Easy to forget in the rush to plant early, but it’s well worth the time. My resolution: apply black plastic mulch to all garden beds before weeds start to grow!
It’s a bad habit of mine to let the weeds go until they’re taller than the vegetable plants. Not a good idea. Weed relentlessly, and start early! For example, here in the humid northeast, if I let them go too long, I’ve lost the onions.
Here in zone 3/4, it’s planning season: I’ve received a few seed catalogs and am beginning to plan my garden for spring. It will be a couple of mouths before I start seeds indoors. But now is the time to commit to better habits, and a better growing season!
What do you plan to do/change/grow in your garden this year?