University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
The beginning of the New Year is the
time to reflect on the past year, and to make resolutions for changes whether
in health, personal habits, or in my case gardening. Here are a few of my gardening resolutions
for this coming year that may give you ideas for yours.
--I resolve when
ordering seeds this winter, to be realistic and only order what I can plant,
and more importantly maintain during the season.
vegetables in the garden, I'll make successive plantings so all my lettuce and
carrots don't all come ripe at once.
Come to think of it, I'll do the same when setting out my gladiolus
corms, so they don't all flower at the same time. I'll mark the calendar now to set them out 10
days apart, early, mid, and late May.
--Another item I
didn't get to this year, I'll add to my resolutions for this coming year, is to
plant enough vegetables to freeze, and make time to do this. Lacking the vegetables and time to keep up
with them, my fallback option is to buy local produce to freeze.
great resolution I'll have to add, even if I have enough produce, visiting a
local farmers' market regularly to get what I don't grow, and other food and
--I will be more
diligent in making good compost, turning my pile more often.
--On the topic of
compost, early in the season I will either buy a bulk load or pallet of compost
to spread on my beds
before the perennials get too tall. With
compost being used up yearly in the
garden, so needing
to be added each year, this resolution will be on my list for future years too.
--With the weeds
getting ahead of me this year in my perennial beds, I'll make it a priority to
get the beds cleaned early this coming season, and to keep up with the weeds
weeds, I'll start saving newspapers and get them laid down early in the season
in garden paths and cover with mulch, sawdust, or wood shavings from the local
sometimes this past year I didn't get sunscreen applied on sunny days. I'll do a better job with this, using one
with a SPF rating of at least 30.
my health, I'll resolve to use garden tools properly, to lift heavy loads with
my legs and not my back (or better yet to get help), to stretch and loosen
muscles before gardening, to drink plenty of water, to take breaks (especially
when hot), and do avoid long stretches of repetitive tasks (alternate among tasks
every 10 to 20 minutes).
--My wife will
like this one. I'll do a better job of
taking my gardening shoes and boots off before coming indoors, even if just for
a quick break. I've learned that those
shoe scrapers are great, but with gardening mud don't quite do the job leaving
a trail of muddy bits as proof.
embarrassed when guests visit and ask the name of a plant, and I can't find a
label. At least I have a list of
perennials by bed, which I'll go through this winter and research the colors of
daylilies or roses or other large groupings I have. Then next season I'll try to match
descriptions with the flowers when in bloom in order to get the names back on
the plants. If you're not a plant
collector, or just plant perennials for their beauty and design, or better yet
keep up with your labels and plant names (congratulations if so!), this may not
be on your list to do.
--For the wildlife, I'll resolve to keep bird
baths cleaned and filled regularly, to keep bird feeders stocked and also cleaned
periodically of old and rotting seeds, and to keep hummingbird feeders
filled and cleaned
every few days beginning the first of May.
plants this year, I'll try to find ones in pots I can wash and reuse rather
than just discard as is common with so many cheap plastic plant
containers. Better yet, I'll look for
plants in pots made from recycled materials.
--I've begun to
try and reduce my carbon footprint in my garden, using more hand tools and less
power tools for starters. I'll continue
to watch for ways to be more environmentally friendly.
--I've learned in
our climate one has to take advantage of the nice days when we have them. If a nice day, and I can take a leave day
from work and don't have essential commitments or meetings, I'll make a point
to garden. To paraphrase a ski bumper
sticker, Garden Today, Work Tomorrow.
--When tired of
gardening or needing a break, I'll make a point to visit a local specialty
perennial nursery (especially on a rainy day when its less fun to work in the
garden). I’ll try to visit some
nurseries I haven't yet from the online listing (pss.uvm.edu/ppp/vpdgli.html). If tired of just flowers, I'll visit a local
berry farm or orchard (www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/farmlinks.html), or make a
local tour of cheese farms (www.vtcheese.com/cheesetrail.htm) and wineries (vermontgrapeandwinecouncil.com).
I'm sure I could think of many more
resolutions, but these are probably enough to keep me busy and to get you
started in your own. But don't forget, perhaps
most importantly, resolve to take time to smell the flowers, to savor the
vegetables, and to just enjoy your efforts.
Return to Perry's Perennial