If you’re someone that make New Year’s resolutions, be sure to remember gardening when setting your goals for a new year. In fact, consider putting gardening at the top of your list. Here are some ideas and inspiration to get you started on your best gardening year yet.
Don’t let weeds get out of hand before taking efforts to control them. Dealing with weeds is an unavoidable part of landscape upkeep. Yards with regular weed maintenance have less severe weed problems.
Tidy up. We all have that one place in the garage or shed where forgotten garden materials have piled up and now sit, unused. Resolve to clean out your garden shed, discard expired materials, clean up tools and get organized.
Strive to have healthy soil. Our soils team with life such as worms, nematodes, insects, microbes and weeds along vital nutrients for proper plant growth. Think about adding compost, manure or fertilizer to enrich your soil.
Start a compost pile for your garden. Convert your yard clippings, leaves and fruit/vegetable waste into a wonderful soil amendment filled with beneficial microbes for your garden. If you don’t have room for a compost pile, considering vermicomposting which is composting with worms!
Commit to being water-conscious. This means converting outdated and wasteful spray heads to drip irrigation and adding a smart irrigation controller. Learn how and when to properly water your landscape – lawns should not be watered daily or at 3 in the afternoon.
Go on a gardening excursion. Broaden your horizons with a trip to a local botanical garden or arboretum this year. Use the trip for design inspiration, to learn something new, or to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. The UC Davis Arboretum is a wonderful place to visit that is close by. There are also many local nurseries that you can spend time at discovering new to you plants.
Whether it’s a veggie, fruit or herb, resolve to grow something new in your garden this year. It’s fun to try a new variety of tomato or an herb you’ve never grown before. Conversations with friends are so much better when you can brag about your garden!
If you use pesticides (yes organic materials are also pesticides) consider cutting back this year. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a method of controlling weeds, diseases, and insects in a more environmentally friendly way with chemical controls being the last resort. Find out more at ipm.ucanr.edu.
Add an indoor plant to your home. Indoor plants supply countless benefits including greening up a room, lifting moods, boosting oxygen levels, and adding visual design interest.
Incorporate a native flowering plant or two or three into your ornamental garden. Native plants are more likely to support pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Consider other things you can add to your garden for pollinators like a water source.
Use mulch. Mulch helps control weeds and conserves moisture. Just make sure to keep it a few inches away from plants to prevent rot.
Take a risk, plant something new. Try a few new plants in your landscape or garden. Experimenting with new plants is part of the fun of gardening.
Take your son, daughter, grandchild, niece, or nephew and show them your garden, flowers and vegetables. Plant something with a child. Whether it’s your own children or grandchildren, nieces, nephews or students, resolve to share the love of gardening with a younger person this year.
Spend more time simply enjoying the garden. Take time to touch leaves, smell flowers and appreciating what’s happening.
Treat yourself to a good gardening book. Gardening books are a great way to practice your hobby during the colder months or when the sun isn’t shining. Check out the American Horticultural Society’s Book Awards for a list of good titles to choose from.
Keep a garden journal in 2022. How many times have you grown a new vegetable cultivar but forgotten the name by next year? To ensure gardening success in the future, a simple garden journal will allow you to keep track of what worked and what didn’t work.
Remember to have fun. Don’t get too overwhelmed in your garden. Some years are good years and others not so much, and a lot of what determines that is out of our control. So, just enjoy it and remember the gardener’s motto: There’s always next year.
For advice on gardening related questions, call the UC Master Gardener office at (209) 953-6112, or use our website: ucanr.edu/sjmg