I've been gardening and writing about gardening for more than 20 years, yet I find I'm always learning new things about the plants, insects and other critters that call my backyard home. That's the great thing about gardening — it's never boring! I've worked as a landscaper, on an organic farm, as a research technician in a plant pathology lab and ran a small cut-flower business, all of which inform my garden writing. Someone once asked me when I'll be finished with my gardens, to which I replied, "Never!" For me, gardening is a process, not a goal.
Start exercising, lose weight, clean the closets .... Why do most New Year's resolutions focus on things you should do, and not things you want to do? Instead, we decided to come up with some garden resolutions that you'll want to keep! (What are your garden resolutions? Let us know at the end of the article.)
Spend more time in the garden. Whether you're busy tending plants or kicking back and relaxing, time spent in the garden brings its own joys and rewards. This year, resolve to spend a few minutes in the garden every day, pulling a few weeds or simply enjoying the beauty and wonder around you.
Nurture more plants from seed. Few things in life are as rewarding as planting a seed and watching the miracle of new life unfolding. There are lots of practical reasons to start plants from seed — saving money, having more varieties to choose from — but the intangible rewards are just as important.
More: Read How to Start Seeds
Shop: Seedstarting and Lights
Enjoy more homegrown food. Nothing nourishes the body and soul like delicious and healthful food you grew yourself. Whether you add a new raised bed to grow vegetables or tuck a few herbs and salad greens among your flowers, resolve to enjoy a bigger backyard harvest this year.
More: Use our Kitchen Garden Planner
Shop: Vegetable Gardening
Get a jump on the season. Unpredictable spring weather wreaks havoc on gardens — and gardeners. One sunny, warm day and you're ready to plant; the next damp, cold spell reminds you it's still too early. However, if you take steps to shelter plants from spring's changeable weather with a cold frame, row covers, or grow house, you can get your hands in the soil weeks earlier.
More: Read Season-Extending Techniques
Shop: Season Extending
Use natural solutions to manage pests. Our gardens are as attractive to hungry pests as they are to us. Get to know the various pests that frequent your garden and take steps to prevent trouble. And if problems do arise, avoid toxic synthetic pesticides and resolve to use earth-friendly products that are safe for people and pets.
More: Use our Pest and Disease Detective
Shop: Outdoor Pest Controls
Gather kitchen scraps for composting. It just makes sense to recycle vegetable scraps and other plant-based waste into nutrient-rich compost. You'll not only reduce the amount of trash you send to the landfill, you'll also build the soil when you add your homemade "garden gold."
More: Read All About Composting
Make every drop of water count. Parts of the country experienced epic droughts last year, and who knows who will be affected this year? Resolve to conserve our precious water supply while keeping plants happy and healthy. Collect rainwater in a barrel, use soaker hoses to minimize runoff, or add a timer to your irrigation system so you don't forget to turn it off.
More: Read Eight Steps to a Water-Wise Garden
Welcome wildlife to your landscape. Create an inviting habitat for garden visitors by providing food, water and shelter to birds, butterflies and pollinators. Consider transforming some of your lawn into gardens filled with flowers and fruit-bearing shrubs. And use pesticides judiciously — even earth-friendly ones — to minimize their effects on wildlife.
More: Read Attracting Wildlife
Shop: Backyard Habitat
Surround your home with beautiful blooms. Nothing cheers the heart like a flower-filled garden. No matter where you live, you can have beautiful flowers by displaying them in hanging baskets; growing them in containers on a porch, patio or balcony; or planting them between vegetable plants.
More: Read How to Create Sensational Planters
Shop: Pots and Planters
Let nature's wisdom soothe and rejuvenate. Set aside time to enjoy the uplifting beauty and fragrance of the garden. In our hectic, workaday world it's easy to see gardening as just another item on a long to-do list. Resolve to set aside time to stop and smell the roses — literally!
More: Read Feed Your Soul: Plant a Cutting Garden
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