I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions that I know I won’t keep, but when it comes to the garden, there certainly are a few goals I should make for 2013. For example, that patch of goutweed that appeared unexpectedly two years ago won’t take care of itself and if I don’t get it under control soon it may take over the world.
Another resolution I’ve got in mind is to re-think my 2,000-square-foot vegetable garden. I’ve spent the past year working on my next book which will feature dozens of designs for edible gardens and I’ve found myself incredibly inspired by the many amazing designs contributed to the book from experts around the world. Consequently, I’m now giving serious thought to redesigning the garden beds and overall structure of my plot. So many ideas, so little space!
Assuming that you may also wish to make a few New Year’s gardening resolutions, I’ve come up with a little list that I hope will inspire you to your best garden ever!
Start a compost pile - If you like to garden, but don’t have a compost pile, this should definitely be at the top of your resolutions. A healthy garden begins with healthy soil and the best way to keep your soil in top shape is to feed it organic matter like compost - which you can produce by recycling your kitchen scraps and garden waste. Why give away your excess organic matter to the HRM when you can turn it into free food for you garden! You can start an open heap by simply piling up your organic items, occasionally layering in some straw or shredded leaves, or build a composter from wood boards or old pallets for a tidier compost pile. Don’t buy plants unless you have a place for them - Ok, this is another resolution aimed at me. I have a bad habit of buying too many plants and then leaving them to languish on my driveway for weeks (months!) before I finally get around to finding a post for them. In 2013, I promise to be a more responsible gardener!Support local - Like many shoppers, I have been trying to spend my gardening dollars locally at garden centers and seed companies from this region, as well as subscribing to magazines like Gardens East and Garden Making that are Canadian. We have so many great local companies - Halifax Seed, Annapolis Seeds, Hope Seed and more - so get out and let these folks know how much you value them. Attract more wildlife - This resolution definitely doesn’t apply to my local sky-high deer population, but rather the critters that are valuable to the garden - bats, birds, beneficial insects, butterflies and bees. The best way to attract and support these helpful creatures is to pick the right plants (milkweed for the butterflies, for example) and add habitats like bat houses and bird houses around your garden. Fun fact, bats can eat 500 to 1,000 mosquitos an HOUR! Happy New Year!
Niki Jabbour is the author of the award winning book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener and the host of The Weekend Gardener radio show (currently gone dormant for the winter). Find her online at www.nikijabbour.com or on twitter @NikiJabbour.