10 New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners
Make a New Year's resolution to garden smarter, greener and—yes—easier this coming year. Try some of these resolutions on for size and see which ones fill the bill.
Try a New or Unfamiliar Plant
Growing the same plants year after year yields consistent results, but trying a new plant is half the fun of gardening. Plant an exotic bulb, such as devil’s tongue (amorphophallus konjac), or go for an uncommonly pretty climbing plant, such as hops.
Start Your Own Seeds
It’s easy and pain free. You can try unique varieties not found as seedlings at the big box stores. And it’ll save a ton of money. A packet of seeds is a couple bucks and can produce dozens of plants. All it really takes to start your own seeds is a seed tray, soilless potting mix and seeds. Plastic seed trays can be used over and over again, too. And when you start the seeds indoors, you can get a head start on the planting season.
Compost Your Kitchen Scraps
All those leftover salad greens, onion layers, cucumber peels, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells are much too valuable to send to the landfill. They’re easy to collect in a compost pail. When I get enough, I can either add them to a compost pile outdoors or dig them directly into the ground, where they’ll break down and feed my garden.
Find a Place for Tools, Materials and Leftover Scraps From DIY Projects
Take Care of Your Tools
Bring your tools inside and out of the rain to prevent rust, and restore any old tools. This also means using them properly—unlike that time I ruined perfectly good hand pruners trying to cut a thick stem that required much larger loppers.
Be Kinder to Animals
Feed the birds (and maybe even the squirrels if it’s a harsh winter). And grow plants and flowers for bees and birds. Birds like evergreens for shelter, ornamental grasses for bedding, and all kinds of berried bushes for food.
Save Water Around the House
There are many ways to conserve water in the garden, like building a rain barrel. Given a choice, I’ll grow drought-tolerant plants like succulents and cacti. I’ll make sure hoses and spigots are free of leaks. I’ll water infrequently but deeply so plant roots grow down instead of congregating near the surface. Also, I’ll start using a soaker hose instead of an overhead sprinkler, which causes too much evaporation.
Keep the Soil Around My Garden Covered
This will conserve soil moisture, put the lid on weeds, and keep the ground from cracking if we get a dry spell. Reuse and recycle yard waste as mulch instead of throwing it out. A mulch of leaves works great—and there’s no shortage of them in fall. In spring and summer I can use grass clippings if I put them on thinly. Wood chips are a longer-term solution. I can either buy them bagged or probably get some free from my municipal composting site.
Enjoy Your Garden
Gardens are meant to be enjoyed. Instead of stressing about it being perfect and overworking when it’s too hot or buggy, try to spend more time simply enjoying the outdoor space. Whether it’s sniffing flowers in the morning or relaxing in a comfy chair with a beverage in the evening.