It’s not too late for New Year’s resolutions, so I have been pondering what I could do better in the garden next year. It’s a long list — believe me — and I won’t go through them all. But, here are a few resolutions that I’m making that other gardeners might want to consider, too.
- This year I will deadhead more. Picking off spent blooms not only instantly cleans up the look of the garden, it encourages more blooms and nips diseases in the bud.
- This year I will stake (not cage) my tomatoes. By late July, my vegetable patch looks like a jungle, and most of the tomatoes are falling over, sprawling, or bending their cages like the Tower of Pisa. A deeply planted stake and some old nylons would keep the tomatoes upright and more productive. Also, it’s OK to prune excess foliage on tomatoes — and if you stake them, it is recommended.
- This year I will not plant warm-season vegetables too early. The urge to get tomatoes, peppers and other warm-season crops in the ground is overwhelming, but self-control will result in healthier and happier plants. Minnesota’s last frost day is May 15 and many gardeners will not plant tomatoes before June 1.
- This is not so much a resolution as a plan: I will garden in the morning. Because I’m self-employed, my schedule is flexible. But in the past, I’ve always worked early in the day and gardened in the afternoon and evening. The problem with that is it’s easy to put it off or be interrupted with other activities. It’s also hotter. So, this year, I’ll try to get outside for an hour or so before heading to the office.
- Finally — and this will not be hard to keep — I will dig up more grass for flower, herb, or vegetable plantings.
What are your garden resolutions?