Rita's Monthly Gardening Tips, January 2, 2014
Five Garden Resolutions
Grow what you love to eat
If you have never grown any food crops before, give it a try this year. Start small. When deciding what to grow, choose vegetables and fruits that you truly enjoy eating. Are you crazy about carrots, love lettuce, adore artichokes? Then grow some. Not so wild about watercress? Then don’t grow that. Once you have thought about what you love to eat, then find out if it grows easily in your area. If you’re eager for eggplants but they don’t grow well in your area, it isn’t worth it. Grow just enough of the easiest-to-grow plants to make your experience fun and successful.
Grow flowers to support pollinators
Pollinators are our garden buddies, our partners in life, and our link to a healthy, thriving garden. Bees need to eat every day, not just when, for example, our apple trees are blooming. If we want our apple trees pollinated, then we must plant flowers or other vegetables that will provide a banquet of delicious nectar and pollen for our hard-working pollinators every day. Every creature in nature plays an important role in the web of life.
Use less water
You’ll be hearing a lot about water conservation this year. Plan now for how you will still enjoy gardening while at the same time making the best use of every drop of water. Mulch, soaker hoses, drip hoses on timers, and drought-tolerant plants are all good strategies.
Use no chemical pesticides
This is such an important one. The word pesticide broken down means “pest”— anything we don’t like—and “cide”—to kill. Because pesticides can’t read our minds to determine what we personally like and dislike, they pretty much kill or weaken everything as they funnel through the food chain and down the watershed. Mice provide food for owls, spiders provide food for songbirds, and aphids provide food for ladybugs. Learn other pest management skills, such as trapping or exclusion.
Allow time to just enjoy the garden
Make room in your garden for a quiet bench to sit back and enjoy the beauty and bounty that you have created. Watch the bees, birds, and butterflies. Breathe deeply the fragrance of herbs and flowers. Savor the taste of fresh, hand-picked fruits and vegetables. Take pleasure in your role as caretaker of a healthy environment.