Gardening Resolutions for 2011

Saturday, January 8th, 2011 by Jenny Watts
    • Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cool season crops indoors for planting outside in March.
    • Many fine varieties of flowering dogwoods, tulip magnolias, Japanese maples and other specimen plants are now available at nurseries for winter planting.
    • 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.
    • Check the watering of outdoor container plants especially if they’re located under the eaves or porch where rain can’t reach them.

Gardening Resolutions for 2011

Beautiful 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.

Resolutions often depend on the experience of the gardener.  If you are a beginner, a compost heap may be in order, whereas a seasoned gardener may make a commitment to spread more of that compost liberally on the garden. In either case, tending the soil should be first on the list.

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.

Plant an extra row for Willits Community Services and Food Bank or to donate to Willits Daily Bread. If you are weak on cooking skills, take the “Nutrition & Cooking with LOCAL, Garden-Fresh Produce and Organic Staple Foods” at the Grange. Gardening is more fun when you can fully enjoy the tastes and flavors at your table.

Plant more annuals for color, cutting, and fragrance. Plant them in flower beds, pots and even the vegetable garden. They are food for the soul.

Plant a fall garden. In Willits, this means starting seeds in June setting out plants the first of August in order to give them time to mature before the weather cools down. Plan to pull out your spring peas and put in broccoli and Brussels sprouts for a fall crop. Plant cover crops early in September so that they have time to grow before the cold days of winter set in.

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.

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