CLEVELAND, OH — The new calendar year is upon us. This means it’s a good time to think about your resolutions for the upcoming gardening season. Thanks to the ideas submitted by our readers, we have some concepts to consider in 2023.
Read Susan Brownstein’s entire gardening column here.
Eliminate single-use plastics and minimize waste and petroleum products in your gardening practices. In the words of Westlake reader Ray, there are many good reasons for gardeners to “reduce their litter footprint,” but doing so requires a conscious effort. Plastic pots, tags, bags, and bottles are abundant in garden supplies. I’ve been reusing wherever possible for a long time, but I’m ready to take the next step and find alternatives to these products, especially single-use ones. In doing so, we may be doing irreparable damage to the environment, and we don’t want to satisfy our children by saying, “I told you so” when they grow up.
Make plans for new factories and projects. Occasionally people buy new clothes or shoes just because they look cute or because they were on sale. Problematic items are shoved in the back of a closet or drawer until they are finally donated.
I rarely make these types of impulse purchases, except when it comes to plants. I love anything with blue-gray foliage, but also natives that bloom in colors that my garden lacks, or simply stragglers for sale who want to give me a good home. Whatever the reason, if you don’t have the exact location of the plant in mind, it will languish in the pot while you’re trying to figure out where to put it, and then find the time to prepare the spot and plant it.
What’s worse is when my garden plans exceed the time and strength available to get the job done, and piles of mulch dot our gardens for months at a time. Summers are short in the northeastern part of the state, limiting the number of projects that can be done in a year. I’m used to budgeting for garden projects, but this year I’ll be budgeting for time, prioritizing projects, and setting more realistic goals.
find the third dimensionLake Avon reader David has written to me best about his success in preserving seeds, but he also has some interesting thoughts on planting line of sight and dimensions. Instead of a dimensional typical American garden, he uses compost to create a “three-dimensional garden with limited lawns and sloping mounds” of shrubs, flowers and ground cover. british tv show gardener’s world, gardens designed with ridges and hollows are often seen. This creates visual interest and wildlife habitat. One of my favorite spots in my garden is a simple slope with ferns on the allium planted by the previous owner, and the gentle curves are a big draw. In keeping with my earlier determination, I will start small, but try to think more about adding height and curvature to my gardening.
Start planting more seeds indoors and experiment with foodscapes and permaculture. Lake Avon readers Jim (aka Popcorn Guy) and Ray of Westlake are among those pushing the idea of incorporating edible plants into landscaped areas. Jim’s intriguing suggestion of using corn as his privacy screen is tempting, and Ray suggests: Carrots, basil, and kohlrabi look delicious too…and beetroot leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach or chard. ”
Last year, I was hesitant to take this advice: I sprinkled a sunny flowerbed with kale and chard seeds in mid-July to see what would happen. But in October, when the raised bed garden began to go dormant, it eventually sprouted some ragged leaves and began to take off. Even better, these plants were not protected from deer or rabbits, but they were not eaten by them. Start with and plan to plant in larger areas of the garden. Planting seedlings instead of seeds makes it easier to remember where they are. Also, using your own seedlings instead of purchased seedlings keeps them cheap enough that you don’t lose a few specimens to critters or weather conditions.
Above all, my goal is to continue learning and producing beautiful, delicious food for my family and the environment. What are your New Year’s garden resolutions?