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So New Year’s Eve has come and gone. We’ve all made our resolutions, such as “I’m going to start my diet!” But what about us with green fingers and our gardening resolutions? It’s not too late to follow our tips that can transform any garden.
Common New Year’s resolutions for gardeners
There are plenty of people with green fingers that have probably made the same gardening resolutions as you. So don’t worry! You’re not alone.
Below we’ve listed some of these common gardening New Year’s resolutions and what you can do about them.
Protect your plants from pests
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is; you’ll have to deal with unwelcome pests. Even in the New Year, you could find unwanted critters nibbling and even literally sucking the life out of your plants.
These unwanted visitors can include insects, such as slugs and mites, deer, rabbits and even weeds. But that shouldn’t discourage you from working in your garden.
First, let’s tackle weeds. You will need to check your garden for weeds when the ground thaws regularly. If you see any of these green pests poking out of the soil, you need to pull them out immediately!
If you have a vegetable garden, you might want to put up a fence to prevent little bunnies from sneaking into your vegetable patch for a bit of a snack. Peter Cottontale might have a cute fluff ball for a tale, but it doesn’t mean he gets a free meal.
You also have to keep in mind that some plants will attract more pests than others. For example, Basil will attract snails and slugs, and emerald ash borers will target ash trees.
When adding a new plant to your garden, research is critical. Doing your homework will help you know what to look out for and how to protect your plant. Having this knowledge will save you some headaches in the future.
Another example of problem child plants is tomatoes and roses, which are prone to diseases. There are some varieties of these plants that are pest and disease resistant.
Have little critters in your garden
Now that we know about the critters we don’t want in our gardens, we should think about the creatures we want. You can turn your garden into a bit of sanctuary for the small animals that you want in your garden.
You can work to turn your garden into a safe haven for declining species such as honey bees, song thrushes, sparrows, and even hedgehogs. This doesn’t have to be a complicated project or ruin your garden to do this.
You can encourage wildlife, specifically honeybees and butterflies, is to plant shrubs and flowering plants as borders in your garden. These plants will provide food for the butterflies and bees and shelter for small animals and birds.
You can grow climbing plants on your walls or fences to provide a nesting and roosting place for local birds. You should produce plants that are rich in nectar, such as honeysuckle.
Compost, woodpiles, and trimmings are handy in encouraging wildlife to live in your garden. These things can provide a little place for bumblebees, slow worms and small animals to live.
Having water features and ponds is also an excellent way to invite wildlife into your garden. These features can provide the ideal home for newts, frogs, and garden birds.
Find ways to save more water
If you live in an area that’s prone to droughts, you might have made it your New Year’s Resolution to find ways to save water. Well, it’s never too late to start, and there are ways that you can do this.
When it comes to saving water in your garden, mulch is your best friend. Mulch will assist the soil to keep the moisture for your plants. It would be best to have a minimum of two inches when you use bare soil.
Another step you should take if you haven’t already done this is growing only plants native to where you live. Native plants are better suited to the natural environment in your garden without plenty of pampering or extra watering.
Spend more time in your garden
Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to stay indoors, more and more people have made it their goal to spend more time outdoors, even if it’s just in their garden. And you don’t have to spend hours outdoors or go for long hikes.
Just spending only 20 minutes out in your garden can reduce your stress levels. So instead of stopping to smell the coffee in the morning, maybe take a moment to smell the flowers in your garden.
Why not take some time out of your day to sit and watch the birds and the bees (no, not those birds and the bees) in your garden. If you have a patio or a deck, you can start a little container garden to make the space more inviting.
Use less plastic
Our plastic has become an immense concern. Many companies are working to become “plastic-free.” For example, many retailers have opted to sell material or paper bags instead of single-use bags.
So why shouldn’t using less plastic become a gardener’s New Year’s resolution? Plastic sadly has become part of a gardener’s equipment, such as plastic seed trays, compost bins, watering cans, and plant pots.
In the end, a majority of your plastic will be dumped in already overfilled landfills. Plastic pots will take centuries to decompose. But there are some ways to use less plastic in your garden.
Instead of using plastic labels for your plants, you can use tags made from slate or bamboo. You can use recycled wooden lollipop sticks for your plants.
You can try to use other steps less plastic in your gardens, such as using biodegradable pots made from natural materials such as seaweed, wood chips, bamboo, and coir.
You can also decide to use string made from hemp or natural jute with a metal mesh to protect your fruits and veg. These options are better than using plastic strings because they will also last for years.
Garden tips for the New Year
If you haven’t figured out which New Year’s resolution, there are some things you can do to take care of your garden in the New Year.
Clean and organise your garden tools
Cleaning and organising your gardening tools will not only save you some headaches in the future. Still, it can also be therapeutic, especially cleaning and oiling your hand tools such as your spades and secateurs.
If it’s not too cold or if you have a heater in there, you can spend some time in your shed. If you are lucky enough to have a fire pit or a chimenea in your shed, you can keep warm while you work and listen to your battery-operated radio.
Be sure to feed the birds
We all know the saying, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” but what about a gardener? Well, wee garden birds are your best friend when it comes to your garden.
These birds will snack on the snails, slugs, aphids and any soil-borne pests that would make the leaves on your plants look like Swiss cheese. Birds will also improve the general health of your garden.
You can place bird feeders in random spots in your garden to encourage birds to come to your garden. If you already have bird feeders in your garden, you might want to check on them or replace them if needs be.
Plant a tree or two
The winter months are the best time to plant shrubs and bare root trees. You can even choose to start a container garden if you haven’t done this already.
If you’re not sure about what you should plant, check out some garden blogs and magazines that talk will have a section on planting trees or planting in containers.
If you have a small garden, you try planting two or three blueberry bushes in a pot. If space isn’t an issue, you can try planting a stylish tree such as the Acer griseum (also known as a Paperbark Maple.
Get started on your compost heap
Do you have plenty of vegetable scraps from your kitchen but no compost bin or heap? Well, there’s no time like the present to start composting!
You have plenty of methods and compost bins in various sizes for your posting. It’s usually a process of trial and error when it comes to finding the composting method that suits you and your garden.
A few examples you could try include:
- A composting trench
- Hot composting
- Cold composting heap or in a bin
If you already have a compost bin or heap that isn’t working correctly, you can give it a quick look-see. If you use a traditional cold composting method, you might need to use your compost.
If you have a compost heap that’s already working correctly, you should consider adding another compost heap or bin to your collection. Maybe try adding a bokashi system or even a wormery.
Consider your lawn
You could try making some changes to your lawn. If you don’t have a lot of time to mow your lawn or if you want to reduce your water usage, then changing your lawn might be a good step.
You might want to consider adding artificial grass to your garden. Having artificial grass for your lawn could benefit you in a few ways.
It could reduce the amount of time you spend weeding your garden and using non-organic chemicals in your garden. Artificial grass could help you reduce the time you spend mowing your lawn.
If artificial grass doesn’t appeal to you, there are some other alternative options that you could try. You can try the following:
- Edible gardens such as vegetable plots or mini-orchards
- Herb lawns
- Herbaceous borders
- Wildflower meadows
These alternatives can be combined with grass lawns to create a garden that’s excellent for your family and pets as well as the local wildlife.
The final word on starting your garden’s New Year’s Resolution
Well, it should be the last six words, “It’s never too late to start.” If big garden projects feel a bit overwhelming, there are some small things that you can do to get started.
A simple clean-up and organising your garden tools in a heated shed are excellent ways to get started. As the old saying goes, “The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.” So get out your spade and garden loves, and start planting!