A brand new year and a brand new start. While I generally make garden resolutions each year, they are not all necessarily made during the first week of January. I often jot them down throughout the year, from season to season… but, now that the holidays are over and my mind has moved on to orders, garden plans, and seed catalogues, it truly does feel like a good time to put those great intentions down on paper.
Do you need to up your garden game this year? Here a few improvements that I resolve to make in my garden and life, maybe you can relate to some of these, as well?
Keeping (even) better notes.
While I have been keeping a garden journal for a decade or so now, I know I need to get a titch more disciplined about it. I occasionally find myself looking back though my journals for information that I did not keep, truly wishing that I had. Here are some of the things that I DO keep notes about …
What new plants or ideas I want to trial in the upcoming year, yard and garden changes to make, what to move where, what to plant or add to the perennial landscape.
My colour schemes for baskets, pots and planters, food garden, and front yard (oh yes, I usually always start with one, though it usually changes if I have lots of leftover annuals at the greenhouse come the end of the selling season)
My kitchen garden layout/plan (for rotation purposes and tweaks to make for better efficacy)
What seeds I purchased from which company (so I know who to buy from again, or to avoid, depending on the results)
Business ideas… order ideas, customer requests, feedback, workshop ideas, blog ideas, etc…
Here are some ideas of what I want to keep better track of this year… in my lovely new notebooks (which I sell, by the way ; )
Keeping Track of Dates… All kinds of dates. I am not nearly as diligent at keeping this information as I wish I had been. Like, for example, the weather and what it is doing each day (imagine how helpful this will be for seeding purposes and making changes). Also, seeding dates… when I sow, transplant, plant out, first fruits, and harvest. Such helpful information for tracking successes and for planning purposes.
Yields. I have never bothered to weigh my harvest but think that I should give it a go this year. To be able to make actual comparisons based on numbers rather than my current eyeball method ; ) This should help me weed out some or the less fruitful varieties.
Prices. Cost of seeds and supplies to grow your own versus store bought. Is it worth your while to grow that cauliflower or better to buy it? Now, to be completely honest. I don’t really care, not even one iota : ) I would rather grow my own, even if it costs me way more than at the shops. For me, the joy is in the growing. While it may not be as pretty as the ones in the shops, or as big, or whatever … the joy is simply that I grew it from start to finish. Still, I’d kinda like to know whether I saved or splurged.
Edit and Simplify.
This is an annual task for me. I really love to grow food. It is an obsession, a passion, a crazy need to grow more of anything and everything. However, I also know that if not everything I grow is eaten, I am wasting valuable garden space that could be used to grow something more useful… like more tomatoes.
Each winter, I evaluate what we grew the year before, how it fared, did we eat it, did we like it, do we want to grow it again, do we want more or less of it this year… and then I make my list of what seeds to buy. I mean, how many varieties of beans do I really need in the garden? Okay, this resolution is super hard sometimes, as I really want to grow them all ; )
Take stock of your garden. Did you eat all that kale? The heads of cabbage? Could you use that space to grow something else that might be a better use of space?
Grow more winter veggies. Yay, yay, yay!
Thus far, we have only been growing winter veggies in our regular kitchen garden. In hard winters, the bunnies eat our brussels sprouts and kale, the lettuce and celery turn to mush after a hard frost. As we will no longer be using the hoophouse (unheated poly covered greenhouse) to house annual flowers for spring retail, is time to build some raised beds in there.
The beds will house a couple of stone fruit trees, at least one peach and a nectarine, as they are prone to a fungal disease called Peach Leaf Curl in our rainy climate, but there will still be tons of room left over for growing winter greens and stuff. I am super excited about the prospect of more fresh, homegrown foods in winter.
By the way, worry not, I will still be selling annual flowers in spring. They will now be sold only at my weekend markets and the workshops, so will be out on the benches in the main nursery area instead of hidden in the hoophouse.
I am pretty new to Instagram, still on the learning curve. However, I vow to use my cell phone more for taking pictures rather than the camera this year, especially in summer. I really find myself liking Instagram, checking out all those fantastic gardens everywhere. It’s like going on a garden tour every day!
Those are my garden resolutions for 2019, ones that I know I will actually keep. The personal improvement ones are pretty hit and miss after a few weeks or months, but the garden ones are super fun and easy to keep.
How about you? Have you resolved to up your garden game this year? Here are some more ideas that you may wish to try…
Join a garden club, hang out with like minded peeps.
Attend a garden workshop, learn something new.
Become more water wise, most garden issues are caused by over-watering.
Plant more flowers for the birds and the bees, buy from bee-safe growers.
Visit the farmer’s markets more often, buy locally grown.
Don't start seeding too early, the seed packet will tell you when to sow.
Grow more food, less lawn.
Try something new, a new veggie or a new variety, shake things up.
Grow up! Use trellises, arbours, tuteurs , teepees, pergolas.
Walk about your gardens for 10 minutes a day to smell the roses (or herbs) and nip bugs and diseases in the bud, so to speak. Catch problems early.