Gardening Resolutions for 2016

    • Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cool season crops indoors for planting outside in March.

    • Fill your winter garden with color from primroses and pansies.
    • Roses should be pruned in February near the end of the dormant season. You can clean them up now, however, by removing all the old leaves on and around the plants.
    • Control peach leaf curl by spraying during the next dry spell with copper spray to help prevent this disfiguring disease from attacking your trees this spring.
    • Blueberries are a delicious fruit that can be planted now from young plants. Give them a rich, acid bed prepared with lots of peat moss.

Gardening Resolutions for 2016

Rainy winter days make gardeners anxious for the warmer weather that will allow us once again to get our hands in the dirt and watch new life grow. As you look out at the garden, maybe with garden diary in hand, it always feels good to set some goals, to make some resolutions for the season ahead.

This is a good year to build a compost bin to turn kitchen scraps, leaves or yard waste into rich humus. Or vow to change to a more organic style of gardening for truly nutritious produce. Maybe this is your year to double-dig the garden. If so, pick up a copy of John Jeavons’ How to Grow More Vegetables and learn how to do it right.

Grow more food! Rotate your crops from where you planted them last year and practice succession planting with things like peas, lettuce, beets, greens mix, basil and cilantro. Choose at least one new vegetable to plant. Variety adds different nutrients to our diet and is good for the soil. Make a trip to the nursery to shop for seeds so you’ll be ready when the time is right.

Plant more flowers for color, cutting, and fragrance – and also to attract beneficial insects and butterflies. Plant them in flower beds, pots and even the vegetable garden. They are food for the soul.

This is a good year to replace that tired lawn with drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials or even vegetables. Get some help to create a new water-wise plant design for at least part of your yard, and perhaps an irrigation system to go with it. Choose natives and Mediterranean plants that will need little water once established.

Create a relaxing oasis somewhere on your property. Find a place for a bench, surround it with your favorite plants and add a small fountain to enjoy the sound of running water. A recirculating fountain uses very little water and is a place where birds can enjoy a drink of water.

Plant a fruit tree this year. If you haven’t started an orchard, there’s no better time than the present. If you have a tree that isn’t thriving, pull it out and plant a new vigorous one. There are few things so rewarding as harvesting a tree full of fresh, ripe fruit. And there are few taste pleasures as satisfying.

Keep a garden diary. Each of us seems to live in a different micro-climate where temperatures, precipitation, sunlight and winds can drastically vary within a few miles. It’s hard to remember what happened from year to year, and after a few years, you may be able to anticipate the first frost or when the rose weevils arrive.

If you’re not a gardener, become one. You don’t even have to have a yard. Many flowers, herbs and small vegetables can be grown in pots. And the exercise and stress reduction make gardening a healthful pastime.

Share your love of plants and gardening whenever possible. Grow, celebrate, discover and enjoy your garden this year!

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