Gardener’s New Year Resolutions

New Year's ResolutionGardening practice, like the garden itself, can always be improved. We resolve to do more, do better.

I’ve always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions even if I wasn’t completely successful in keeping them. I can get behind the idea of taking stock of where you are, what you need to change; all with an eye to improvement or the realization of a goal or two. It’s good medicine.

Gardeners have more opportunity at this than most. Sure, everyone at least considers turning over a new leaf at the beginning of the year. But gardeners consider these resolve-to-make-it-better ideas when they plant in the spring, put the garden to bed in the fall, and all winter long as they peruse seed catalogs, read old gardening journals, and draw schematics that show exactly where the tomatoes will go. They’re always resolving to do something.

Some of what follows has been said in these pages before. Most of the following resolutions are already underway in our garden. Many specify particular commitments that fall under a previous resolution. Some of the more general resolutions, like 2013′s “To institute a program of integrated pest management to control harmful insects,” yielded more specific resolutions, such as “attract insect predators, build a bat house.”

Enough dithering. They’ll be plenty of that when it comes time to actually apply these gardening resolutions. And that’s my resolution this year: resolving to have more resolve.

  • compost more and compost more things;
  • discover and plant locally-appropriate heirlooms;
  • try a new (to me) heirloom tomato;
  • get seedlings started on time (pdf format); not late and certainly not too early;
  • plant shallots;
  • cleanliness next to Godliness in the garden–find and properly dispose of disease, molds and, and fungus affected plants;
  • pay careful attention to details while planning, including crop rotation, sunlight exposure, drainage, and soil chemistry;
  • bring a sense of form as well as function to the vegetable garden. Consider aesthetics when planning. Encourage them during the growing season.
  • plan and tend landscapes with an eye towards winter beauty;
  • expand lighting for indoor plants;
  • never buy commercial compost that might contain sewage sludge;
  • don’t wait on spring pruning;
  • inquire about growth regulators before buying any grocery stock;
  • aerate the lawn come spring;
  • thin seedlings judiciously;
  • did somebody say “bathouse“?
  • join the local gardening association, explore master gardener program (it’s all about learning) .

Okay. That’s enough for now. Let us know what we’ve overlooked (so much) and what your own resolutions might be as we prepare to enter a new year. My one last resolution . . . take a nap on New Year’s Day.