5 New Year’s Resolutions every gardener needs to make
24th December 2018garden, gardening, grow your own, growing, hobby, horticulture, new, new year, resolutions,
Make the most of your garden in 2019 with our simple tips and reap the rewards
New year, new garden! It’s that time of year again when we can start afresh and make new plans for our gardens for the year ahead. Unfortunately, not many people stick to their New Year’s Resolutions and give up before spring has even sprung! However, it has been proven that if you make fewer and more achievable goals then you are much more likely to stick to them. Below is a list of 5 New Year’s Resolutions every gardener needs to make in 2019 – and you never know, you might just achieve them!
1. Try something new
By the end of the year it’s easy to feel like you’ve fallen into a rut in the garden. Perhaps you grow potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries every year and you feel fed-up that you haven’t tried something new. Well, make 2019 the year you go rogue in the garden and grow a plant that you have never grown before. You can even search on seed websites for unusual-sounding plants that you like the look of. Ever heard of ocra, Japanese wineberries or Chinese artichoke? If the answer is no then give ‘em a grow!
Growers are also experimenting with garden design and unusual plants in 2019. The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) have predicted that the top trends of 2019 will be climate change gardens (adapting your garden to cope with changing weather conditions – think water butts and underground water supplies), colourful plants, plants with big leaves, and bringing indoor furniture such as sofas and bookcases outside. If you don’t feel like trying any of these new trends then don’t despair, as you can start off with something simple like planting a fruit tree or building a pond. If you’re still stuck for ideas then try checking out gardening blogs (one of our personal favourites here at GYO HQ is the The Patient Gardener) or visit RHS gardens for inspiration and to get your creative energies flowing (rhs.org.uk).
2. Get stuck in the muck
Composting is one of those jobs that most green-fingered Brits want to do but never seem to get round too. But as 30% of all kitchen waste is compostable it seems a shame to throw all of it in land-fill. You can also compost in the smallest of spaces such as front yards and patios. If you’ve got a bigger garden you can build your own compost bin out of wooden palettes which can be picked up for free from DIY stores and garden centres.
To get started, place your bin in light or light shade and in a spot that is level and will allow excess water to drain away. Stuff your bin full of 25-50% of green waste such as kitchen waste, grass trimmings and manure and top up with dead leaves, prunings and wood chippings. To keep your heap in tip-top shape it’s important to keep the compost moist and turn it each month to introduce fresh air into the mix.
3. Plan, plan, plan!
Getting organised in the garden is probably a daunting task to most people – after all, you might be one of those fly by the seat of your pants kind of gardeners! But planning where you’re going to grow your crops is the first step in crop rotation which can improve your chances of better crop yields!
First things first, step out into your garden and take a look around – are there shady spaces in your garden more suited to growing Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage and sunnier spaces more suited to growing tomatoes and peppers? Are there any unused spaces that you could make use of? Grab a pen and paper and write out a plan for each season starting with spring. Write down what you need to sow, what you need to plant and where you’re going to plant it, and what you’ve got to harvest. You can also include any other fiddly jobs that will need doing such as pruning fruit trees and getting on top of weeding. You can even plan to clean out your shed and organise your seed collection. Throw out or donate any broken or unwanted tools and discard any seeds that are over three years old as they’re unlikely to germinate much if at all.
4. Welcome wildlife
2019 is the year for befriending the beasties rather than banishing them from your gardens. Due to increased urbanisation and housing developments a lot of wildlife are having to live in unsuitable conditions and could die off without our help. Sadly, a lot of gardeners put off attracting wildlife to their gardens because they are afraid it might make their gardens look like a bit of mess. But you only need to make a few small changes to your garden to attract wildlife – bird houses, woodpiles, compost bins and piles of leaves are all perfect places for bugs and small mammals to breed and shelter. Remember, it’s important not to worry about “perfection” in the garden, as the most beautiful of gardens are those in their natural and relaxed state.
For more information on attracting wildlife to your garden why not visit wildaboutgardens.co.uk – a joint venture between The Wildlife Trusts and RHS. You can download free guides to help bees, bats, hedges and more.
5. Be scientific
It’s time to get your geek on and try something scientific in the garden. Getting ‘sciency’ doesn’t have to mean test tubes and data spreadsheets, even just building your own watering cans or making seed starter pots out of toilet rolls are all smart ways to garden. If you really want to get scientific you can start testing the PH of your soil with test kits if you’re planning on growing brassicas or blueberries which require specific soil levels.
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