New Year’s resolutions for gardeners are a lot more fun than New Year’s resolutions in general. For a gardener, the year ahead is a chance to do things you want, as a way to achieve the things you need to do.
Case in point: If your No. 1 New Year’s resolution is to garden more (a want-to item), you also will be exercising more (a need-to). Or if you plant a new edible garden (want, want, want), you will end up checking off “eat more leafy vegetables and fruits” from your to-do list.
So what are my gardening goals for the year? Luckily, they’re all things I want to do. Here’s a handful of New Year’s resolutions to get your garden—and you—off to a growing and greener start.
1. Care for Compost
Use more organic compost in the garden this year to naturally enrich and feed the soil, instead of depending on synthetic fertilizers that feed our plants but not the earth. By adding nutrient dense compost to existing soil, we will improving soil health and structure, and increase plant growth. Enriched soil holds moisture more effectively and drains more efficiently, setting our plants up for success.
2. Use Natural Remedies
One important choice to make in the new year is to use only natural, non-toxic solutions to control plant pests, disease, and weeds—and to fertilize. Even green products should be used judiciously to protect wildlife. By choosing homemade remedies or earth-friendly products, you are protecting beneficial insects and other creatures, our water ways, and all of us.
See step-by-step instructions to concoct your own in Homemade Remedies: 5 Natural Garden Helpers.
3. Save Your Eggshells
Although putting vegetable and plant-based food scraps into the compost is helpful to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills, it’s also wise to save coffee grounds and egg shells to create inexpensive and natural garden remedies.
For more tips, see Gardening 101: How to Use Eggshells in the Garden.
4. Start Small
Growing a plant from a tiny seed is one the wonders of the world, and at the same time saves money. This year, resolve to watch the miraculous of germination in progress. Also consider growing from seed easy-going edibles such as carrots or lettuce; it’s a guarantee that you’ll eat better. And if you have children, you can turn it into a family project.
5. Water Wisely
It seems that every year it’s a lottery whether it’s going to be a rainy year or not. Let’s set an intention to be water conscious and make smart choices, such as choosing to use a smart irrigation controller, installing a rain garden, growing natives, or going lawn-free. And while it is not required that we all start doing ceremonial rain dances, it couldn’t hurt.
See more in Garden Tech: Smart Irrigation Controllers.
6. Welcome Insects
This year encourage more good bugs to make their homes in your garden by planting a variety of appropriate pollinator-friendly flowers such as calendula, borage, and asters. By creating a varied ecosystem in your garden, you are attracting beneficial insects and pollinators that do the hard work of making your garden less susceptible to disease, drought and the nasty destruction from pests.
7. Bring Greenery Indoors
Perk up any room in your home with a potted plant. It’s almost impossible to list all the well-known benefits of houseplants—from boosting oxygen and moisture levels in the air to speeding the recovery of surgical patients. In an office, the presence of houseplants even decreases headaches, colds, and flu symptoms, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
8. Keep Potted Succulents Happy
Don’t over-water your indoor succulents. Give them plenty of sun. And if you like the spiky look, consider hardy agave and aloe houseplants. See more tips in 9 Secrets to Growing Succulent Plants Indoors.
9. Embrace Sustainable Design
Climate change has us thinking about ways our gardens can help the planet. If you’re designing a new garden or upgrading a mature one with new hardscape, consider laying permeable surfaces, installing a system to capture rainwater, or planting a wildflower meadow. See more in Landscaping Ideas: 16 Simple Solutions for Sustainability.
10. Schedule a Garden Therapy Session
Whether you choose to just lounge by the fire pit or get your knees dirty by weeding, resolve to spend more time in your garden. Being outdoors fulfills the need for the essential Vitamin N (nature) that doctors are realizing is extremely supportive of good health and a sunny mood. Also remember to stop and smell the flowers more—to stimulate your senses and rejuvenate your soul.
What are your gardening resolutions this year? Please share any ideas, we’d love to hear about them.
N.B.: Here are a few winter projects to get the new year off to a good gardening start: