I don’t make many New Year’s resolutions. I make goals instead. I put together ideas of things I would like to accomplish and set out to do them. I usually don’t get through every goal I set but by setting a few goals that are attainable I accomplish more than I would have otherwise! I’ll post my garden goals for 2014 in a future post next week but I thought for today I would list a few ideas that other gardeners may want to add to their gardening goal list.
Grow more edibles from the backyard.
Imagine what could be done if everyone increased their backyard production to cover at least 10% of their grocery needs? Fewer trucks would be on the roads, lower grocery bills, and more people would be eating healthier. Pick one area of your grocery budget that you would like to decrease then find a viable option for your backyard. Fruit trees, vegetables, or even chickens are all great options if you have the space.
Start Your Plants from Seed
Many gardeners buy plants each year from nurseries and garden centers and have never started their own plants from seed. It’s really amazing how much money can be saved by starting a few of your plants from seed rather than purchasing full size plants – and it’s not that hard either. Seeds generally cost around $3 for an average variety. Rare plants will cost more for seed but if you’re just starting plants from seed for the first time I wouldn’t go for something rare. That $3 package of seed may contain anywhere from 10-200 seeds (or even more). That’s 200 potential plants to put in your garden or give to friends. That’s good value for that $3 isn’t it? There are potential problems that arise when you start plants from seed. Damping off, fungal gnats, and other issues can arise but there are solutions to every problem. My favorite way to start plants from seed is by using plastic cups as greenhouses.
Commit in 2014 to reducing your use of non-organic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Maybe you already went organic (which is awesome!), if so then talk to those who who haven’t switched yet about how you grow food in your garden. If you can’t grow everything organically at home buy organically from your local farmer’s markets. When you buy food at the store buy organic products as that will encourage agricultural industries to put more effort into growing organic too. We all win with organic products!
Increase Your Native Plantings
Native plants attract beneficial insects to your garden and help you to grow organically. Native bees pollinate our fruits and vegetables and help our gardens to thrive so plant what they like to eat near what you like to eat! Keep in mind that a native plant in one state may not be a native plant in your state so do a little research ahead of time to find what is native in your area. If you need an idea of a great native to start planting consider coneflowers (echinacea). Coneflowers are beautiful, attract native beneficial insects, and are very easy to get started.
You don’t need much space to compost. A square feet of area is really all you need. Elaborate compost bins that spin, have multiple chambers, and make compost in record time area great but you can make a simple bin from fencing materials, pallets, or just a pile on the ground. You could even build a worm compost bin (vermicomposting)! There are lots of possibilities but by composting you keep good organic mater from going to a dump and create a rich loamy soil in your garden.