A fresh start to the year can bring inspiring hope and determination into our lives. As gardeners, we can find plenty of New Year’s resolution ideas to improve our gardening techniques and practices.
If you’re contemplating gardening tasks for this year’s resolutions, here are some suggestions:
» Plant an extra row of vegetable crops or install an extra planter box to grow a tomato or pepper plant this year. Donate the extra produce to local pantries or share it with your neighbors.
» Plant more native prairie plants in your landscape to attract bees and other pollinators in your garden.
» Try some heirloom vegetable varieties in your garden. Heirloom varieties are known for unique flavors, texture, colors and freshness, plus the seeds from the harvested fruits can be saved and stored for the following growing season. Check out seed catalogs for heirloom varieties.
» Get crafty by building a bee motel in your garden. Using hollow reeds, bamboos and cardboard tubes or even using wooden logs, you can construct a simple nesting habitat for native bees. To know more about how to construct bee motels, download the Xerces publication on “Nests for Native bees” from www.xerces.org.
» Learn how to properly prune fruit trees and ornamental woody plants. Sign up for the spring pruning demonstration classes (March 31 and April 12, 19) offered in partnership with the Green Bay Botanical Garden. For more information, go to www.browncountyextension.org and click on 2018 horticulture classes.
» Celebrate Arbor Day on April 27 and plant a tree in a memory of someone you love.
» Change your lawn care practices to protect bees and pollinators by mowing off any blooming weeds in your lawn right before scheduling an insecticide application.
» Be vigilant about invasive species and minimize their spread. Take action by removing invasive plants on your property and educate your neighbors and community members about the threat of invasive species. To learn more about invasive species, visit the Wisconsin DNR website at dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives.
» Challenge yourself by growing blueberries in a container or in trench this year. Though the clay soil in our region is not suitable for blueberries, you can plant in a soilless growing media. Check out the UWEX publication on growing blueberries in containers: https://hort.uwex.edu/articles/growing-blueberries-containers/.
» Invest in floating row covers to extend the growing season, protect crops from bugs such as Japanese beetles, or from cold injury. Floating row covers are lightweight, white polyester spun bonded fabric and are available at local garden centers.
Vijai Pandian is horticultural agent/educator for Brown County University of Wisconsin-Extension.