The end of December is a time for resolutions, reviews and renewals, so resolve to start a garden notebook, mark up your calendar or take more garden photos if you want to chart the improvements and failures of your gardening experiments.
Here are a few ideas to make 2013 a celebration of all things green and growing:
Resolve to start growing your own food.
This one act can be as simple as buying a potted rosemary plant for the kitchen counter and using more fresh herbs in your everyday life. Here in Western Washington it is simple to grow cool season crops such as lettuce, peas, cabbage, kale and Swiss chard. You don’t even need a patch of ground, as many edibles do just as good in pots as in the ground. Beginners should start with cherry tomatoes, basil and zucchini.
Resolve to leave the clippings on the lawn.
In our cool climate, leaving the grass clippings to decay on the lawn will help improve the water-holding capacity of the soil by adding organic matter and also nitrogen by returning green material to the soil. The trick is you must mow more often and choose a mulching mower so that the clippings are tiny enough to slip between the blades of grass. Mowing your lawn every 7 days during the growing season fits in nicely with the most popular of all New Year’s resolution: The vow to lose weight and get more exercise.
Resolve to rebel from convention and bring back the bees. Becoming a flamboyant, rebellious and adventurous gardener has many benefits, but the latest buzz is about what your experiments in growing can do for the birds, bees and the butterflies. The more diverse the plant material we grow in our gardens, the more likely our local wildlife will survive. This year, promise to try a new climbing vine, plant a tree, add more perennials and buy a blooming baskets filled with flowers you’ve never grown before. We need gardens full of early bloomers, late bloomers, trees, shrubs, native plants and exotic new comers that will provide nectar for bees, homes for birds and foliage for the caterpillars that turn into butterflies and moths.
Life began in a garden, so celebrate the New Year and just keep growing.Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. For gardening questions, write to her at P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply. She also can be reached at binettigarden.com.