New Year Resolutions for Gardeners

Lee Fields  |  1/18/2017 7:04:15 PM

Are you a resolution maker? Are you a resolution keeper? Oprah Winfrey says the New Year is “another chance for us to get it right.” Here are some gardening resolutions to head you in the right direction for the new year.

  • Adopt a “Why Not?” attitude. Daylilies need sun, hostas need shade, and bamboo will take over your yard. There are some fixed rules in gardening, but never let that stop you from experimenting!! Your garden is your garden, and if you always wanted a beautiful patch of daffodils, but assumed you didn’t have enough sun, plant a few and find out! Why not?! There’s not a gardener I know that doesn’t have a story of an improbable success.
  • Keep a gardening journal. Was Edmund Burke a gardener? He said,” Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” That is exactly what will happen to you if you don’t write down how that new variety of tomatoes you tried last summer didn’t produce worth a flip, or if you don’t order your favorite daffodil bulbs by a certain date they will sell out, or how beautiful your roses were this November after switching to that new organic granular fertilizer in August! And with your new “why not?” attitude you will definitely have successes and failures to record in your journal!
  • Add the LSU Ag Center website to your favorites. A wealth of gardening knowledge specific to our location is just a click away! Visit the LSU Ag Center site for information on landscaping, flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables, equipment, and more. The list of Louisiana Super plants, plants that have been tested at the center and selected for reliability and superior performance under Louisiana growing conditions, is invaluable. But my favorite component of this site is the articles by consumer horticulture specialist Dan Gill; his wit and knowledge are priceless.
  • Test your soil. Drive to the new location of the LSU Ag Center here in Ruston at 307 North Homer (aka the old Temple Baptist Church building, aka the Police Jury Complex), and ask for a soil test kit. The directions are easy to follow, the cost is about $15, and the results will tell you exactly what you need to add to your soil. Good soil equals good gardening!!
  • Grow something edible. There are so many ‘food movements’ taking place in the world today- Urban Gardening, Farm-to-Table, school gardening, Guerrilla Gardening, Grow Your Own, farmer’s markets, and the list goes on. Resolve to become a part of it! You don’t need a vegetable garden to participate- grow your edibles in pots or a couple of hay bales, or let a squash sneak around in your flower bed. Just grow something you can eat!
  • Plant at least one pollinator friendly plant. Fulfill your responsibility to the environment by planting a plant that supports our local pollinators. You can choose a tree, shrub, vine, or flower, but resolve to plant at least one this year. A list of pollinator friendly plants for our region can be found at www.pollinator.org. This is important!
  • Don’t commit crape murder. Crape myrtles do not require pruning beyond removing the suckers at the bottom, but if you insist, you can prune your crape myrtles without murdering them and destroying their natural growth pattern. More importantly, you don’t have to be in a hurry to do anything to them!! If you will just hold your horses, our winter birds, such as the gold finch, will feed off the trees’ seed pods. In February, we will post a video on our Facebook page (North Central Louisiana Master Gardeners) showing the correct way to prune crape myrtles.

Happy gardening in 2017.

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