New Years Resolutions for Gardeners
07 January 2008
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Charlottesville/Albemarle County Office
460 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
phone: 434.872.4580 fax: 434.872.4578
And now the end is near and so we face the final bargain. My friends, Ill say it clear, its time to think about your garden. Youve lived a year thats full. Youve mulched each and evry pathway; but more, much more than this, you dug it your way.
But seriously folks, now is a good time to reflect on the many issues and concerns we have and that certainly is our tradition. New Years resolutions are sometimes difficult to keep because they usually require changes in our behaviors and habits. It is also tempting to feel overwhelmed and helpless, to shrug off action with the attitude, I'm only one person, and what can I do?
But even in our own gardens, we can do much to address the problems of our individual lives and those around us. I am sure you will see the rewards are worth the effort. Now is a good time to make a commitment to the New Year with resolutions we will carry through. Here are 10 gardening ideas for you to consider for your list of resolutions for 2008.
- Fight inflation. A well-planned garden (30 x 50 ft.), under optimum conditions, can be expected to yield up to $500 in produce (with no taxes to be paid). In addition, gardening is an inexpensive recreational activity that can be shared by the entire family. Landscaping can add 10 percent to 15 percent to the value of your property, and it is an investment that keeps growing.
- Improve your family's nutrition. The garden is not only an inflation fighter; it's a source of highly nutritional foods that taste fresher and better when you grow them yourself.
- Conserve energy. By properly landscaping, you can reduce your air conditioning bill in the summer and heating bill in the winter. Learn about the use of trees and shrubs to modify your environment.
- Reduce pollution. Your landscape can be useful in reducing air and water pollution. But be careful that in caring for your plants, you don't become a chemical polluter. Many homeowners use more chemicals per square foot than farmers do. Look for alternatives.
- Protect the environment and those who live around you. Plan your landscape with food and shelter for wildlife, or incorporate wild flowers around your home. Don't take more from the environment than you return to it. If you heat with wood, plant at least as many trees as you cut down, if not on your property then at schools, parks or other public places.
- Conserve water. Clear, pure water is a product of a complex system and should not be wasted. Never simply run cold water down the drain, while waiting for it to turn hot. Save it for your houseplants. Investigate the use of trickle irrigation for your garden.
- Improve our educational system. Children learn from other sources besides their teachers. Give a child a plant, and teach him or her how to care for it. Or make a larger commitment, and sponsor a 4-H garden project or school garden program.
- Improve your community. Make your neighborhood more attractive by working with others. Start with a good-looking, well-kept landscape. If you have no space, plant a geranium or zinnia in a window box or start a community gardening project.
- Improve your health. Gardening is great preventative medicine. Not only does it provide physical activity; it also relieves many of the stresses and tensions of modern life.
- Show you care. Share your horticultural skills and products with a friend. Then for a greater challenge, share them with a stranger--someone in a nursing home, halfway home, or local hospital--or a disadvantaged neighbor.
Happy New Year!
For more information about this and other landscape topics contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. The local Virginia Cooperative Extension office numbers are Albemarle 872-4580, Fluvanna 591-1950, Greene 985-5236, Louisa 540-967-3422, and Nelson 263-4035.