10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Garden

It’s the time for looking back and looking forward, the threshold of a new year. Gardening is an exercise in optimism, especially in the winter when everything is still possible. We check things off in catalogs and draw little circles on graph paper or the back of an envelope, asking questions like “What worked this year that we can repeat? What failed? How big will that get? Should we try that one in a different spot?”

We know the weeds, pests, and dry spells will arrive sooner or later but now we focus on the potential blooms and the bounty. In that spirit, why not make a list of garden resolutions for 2012?

Here are mine…

1. Grow more food. I won’t resolve to grow ALL of my vegetables this year, not with my busy schedule, but I can shoot for half, at least from June to September.

2. Stick to the budget and the plan. When I am looking starry-eyed at pictures of fresh Black from Tula tomatoes and mounds of blue lupine, I will keep in mind the size of my garden and my wallet, and most importantly my available time to work it.

3. Try something new. I’m always pulled between growing more of something I know will do well (thus meeting goal #1), and having more variety. The balance tips both ways depending largely on what seed packets I have on hand when I get a free spring afternoon.

4. Start more from seed and take better care of the seedlings. Might be time to buy a warming pad. Last year I finally started using good quality potting soil and it made a huge difference.

5. Weed earlier and more often. I’ve got to get ahead of them this year, before it gets so out of hand I give up. Skimming them off with a sharp hoe when the weeds first popped up gave good results in 2011. I just have to keep it up.

6. Get the family more involved. Cherry tomatoes and Edamame help keep them interested.

7. Plant with preservation in mind. I want to plant varieties like Kennebec potatoes and
http://sowtrueseed.com/garlic/”>Hardneck Garlic that do well in storage. I also want to make more pickles and jams.

8. Share more with neighbors. Having plastic bags already in the garden when harvesting makes this easier.

9. Feed the soil. What you give is what you get, so feed your soil by adding more organic matter. Happy soil micro-organisms make for productive plants!

10. More succession planting. Snap bush beans and beets are especially good for succession planting.

And one more for good luck, Stop and smell the Bee Balm, Tulsi Basil and Garlic Chives more often.

Jennifer Murphy is a garden blogger with Sow True Seed,
http://www.sowtrueseed.com”>www.sowtrueseed.com, an open-pollinated, non-hybrid, GMO-free vegetable, herb and flower seed company specializing in heirloom, certified organic, and traditional varieties. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Sow True Seed seeks to promote and foster community sustainability by helping to preserve our shared botanical heritage and seed a new era of sustainable culture and ecological wisdom. Join our conversation on Facebook, or to read more of Jennifer’s garden advice, please visit the Sow True Seed website.

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