Lots of people like to make New Year’s resolutions. Gardeners are no exception. A quick web search turned up plenty of lists, with gardeners around the country vowing to stay ahead of the weeds, thin their carrots, and learn the Latin names of all their favorite plants. If you like to garden, you probably have your own list of good intentions. And if you’re like me, you’ll struggle to keep even one of them.
This year, I’d like to propose a list of gardening resolutions that any enthusiastic gardener can keep. Your garden may not be perfect, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you achieved your New Year’s goals.
For 2010, I resolve to:
- …spend more time in the garden and less time cleaning my house. I figure that if I’m outside all day, the house won’t get so messy in the first place.
- … grow some weeds. No, I’m not planning to cultivate noxious weeds. It’s illegal, for one thing. But some weeds actually benefit your garden. Lacewings and other “good” bugs may be bloodthirsty predators in their larval stages, but the adults prefer nectar. Native flowers such as Queen Anne’s Lace provide that food source, attracting beneficial insects to your garden.
- …let my compost pile rot naturally. “Natural” is all the rage, and a compost pile is as natural as it gets. Sure, fussing over it will speed up the process, but dead plants will rot eventually, even if all I do is pile them up. If I’m feeling particularly magnanimous, I’ll occasionally douse it with water.
- …splurge on at least one eye-candy plant at the local garden center. While I’ll spend most of my garden budget wisely on perennials and other long-lasting plants, life is too short to be practical all the time. This year I’m going to pick out the gaudiest blooming annual I can find and stick it right by my front door, where I can enjoy it all summer.
- …share my produce with Mother Nature. Instead of fighting the critters, I’m going to welcome them. Outside my garden fence, I have an extra plot that I don’t plant any more. This year, I’ll use it to grow some lettuce just for the rabbits. I’ll add some carrots just for the pocket gophers. Maybe they’ll take advantage of my easily accessible salad bar, and leave the barricaded part of the garden to us.
- Finally, I resolve to visit a local farmer’s market and take advantage of the terrific produce there. And I resolve to not feel guilty that I didn’t grow it myself.
The nice thing about vegetable gardening is that growing your own food actually does help you save money, get more exercise, eat a healthy diet, and lose those extra pounds. Maybe this will be the year that we actually keep our New Year’s resolutions.