5 New Year’s resolutions for aspiring gardeners

There’s hardly an activity as healthy and rewarding as gardening. Not only does gardening allow you to grow your own food and beautify your yard, it also helps you slow down, live a simpler life, and exercise.

If you’re someone who enjoys setting New Year’s resolutions, consider adding these 5 gardening goals to your list of resolutions.

If you’re not a gardener, become one: The activity of gardening can help you burn calories while simultaneously allowing you to distress and put your mind at ease. And you don’t even need to have a yard. Planting herbs and small vegetables on your balcony or window sill is also possible, or look for a community garden you can help out in.

Reduce your lawn area: The lawn may be the standard for American yards, but that does not mean it’s the best. Lawns require a whole lot of water, not to mention a lawnmower and fertilizer to keep them growing properly. Instead, do yourself a favor and replace part of your grass lawn with shrubs, perennials, or even vegetables. You’ll spend less time and money on fertilizer and water, and give precious insects and bees new habitat to enjoy. To begin this project, the first thing you’ll need to do is organically kill a portion of your lawn. You can do this by either smothering a portion of your lawn with compost and aged manure or by using plastic sheets that will solarize and dry out your lawn. Once spring comes, the area should be ready for planting and mulching.

Add native plants: We all want our gardens to survive, so the best thing you can do is to add native plants. Natives will adapt much easier to periods of stressful weather, and they’re more likely to attract and help sustain local insect and bird populations.

Start a compost bin: Don’t toss your kitchen scraps or yard waste into the trash. Instead, create a garden compost and turn that waste into nutrient-rich “black gold” for your pots or in-ground plants. The best thing is you don’t need a yard or large space to create a garden compost. A small composter no bigger than a patio grill will do the trick.

Add one new sustainable method to your gardening routine: Along with composting, there are many sustainable practices you can use to increase your gardening enjoyment and ease your eco-conscious. For instance, you can start using a drip or soaker hose to put water directly on the plant root zone rather than spraying the water to unintended places using a conventional sprinkler. Another good sustainable method to consider is eliminating chemical fertilizers. Lastly, you might want to consider installing one or more rain barrels to capture rain runoff from the roof in order to save water.

We can’t say enough about the power of gardening. As the New Year gets underway, we hope these resolutions will get you in the gardening mood!

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