Winter has finally arrived here in the Midwest. We had a lovely autumn and an unusually temperate weather until now. Some people had expressed worry about the delay in the changing of the seasons, but we do seem to be past strange interim that now. The cold snap has settled upon us, and we are regularly wearing sweaters in the house. Today on the first day of the new year, we woke to an impressive dusting of snow that didn’t melt away. It’s winter indeed!
Although I miss the garden, I appreciate the off-season too. The downtime allows us to think about and plan for the garden-to-come. In the spirit of New Year’s Day, I revisited garden resolutions from 2009 and 2013 and compared those goals with our present goals. There are some repeats of resolutions just because good gardening habits make for good gardens– and even experienced gardeners need reminders!
Here are my gardening resolutions for 2016:
1. Plant more fruit trees.
We are off to a strong start on this goal because four new fruit trees have been ordered from Trees of Antiquity. We are branching out by adding another apple tree as well as a cherry tree, a peach tree, and a pear tree. We have a lot to learn about growing these new-to-us fruit plants.
2. Stake everything.
I like to think we have gotten much better at following through on this practice in the garden, but it’s still on the list! Staking plants when they are small helps keep the plants upright and the leaves and fruit off the ground. Mature plants will thank you for taking the time to stake them while they are small and easy to train.
3. Take more pictures of the garden.
This goal is a redo as well. It’s easy to take pictures, and they bring so much pleasure over the season. Just do it!
4. Thin (or remove) the Jerusalem Artichokes.
The goal is to keep the garden in balance with no one plant taking over. The Jerusalem Artichokes seem unaware of this idea. I hope to tame them in the spring, but we shall see. We thought we’d removed them once…
5. Be sure to plant the things you love!
We like to have a lot of different varieties of vegetables and herbs in the garden. Sometimes we forget to put in old favorites or add something we haven’t grown in a while. This summer, I want ancho peppers and camomile, and I’ll add more to the “remember these” list all winter long.
6. Harvest and use herbs.
Last year’s mint and parsley were harvested and used regularly, and we have both drying in the house. Not all of our herbs were treated so well. We need to up the herb game.
7. Start some seeds indoors/ manage the seed stash.
Seeds are such fun to buy that it’s not hard at all to accumulate seeds but fail to plant them. As seeds age, their germinate rate decreases. This year, I’m planning to sort through the seeds, start some, and thin out the rest.
8. Post regularly about the garden.
This goal will be a challenge because I have gotten out of the habit of writing regularly. It’s time for a change, however, so look for more regular posts in 2016!
Happy New Year!