2014-12-31 / From The Garden

Garden Resolves for 2015

By Cynthia Gibson

Winter is the time to prune many plants in the garden. Roses are a good example of plants that need pruning, as do raspberries, clematis, hydrangeas, lilacs and others.: Winter is the time to prune many plants in the garden. Roses are a good example of plants that need pruning, as do raspberries, clematis, hydrangeas, lilacs and others.: Procrastination as defined by Merriam Webster is “to be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.”

How many times during our growing season did you say to yourself, “I’ll weed tomorrow, it will be cooler.” “I’ll spray my roses next week, they can hold on for a week.” “Time for a swim, I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow.” “Remember to buy mulch, check for plants that are on sale, and prepare for fall planting.” “Buy grass seed.” I am sure you have your own list but mine sounds like this too often.

Gardening is hard work and if you do not have help, be it friends, children, family, or professionals you know how difficult it is. Not only does gardening include bending, stooping, kneeling, climbing, moving ladders, and crawling, but it is also exhausting. That said, and I say it every year, it is time to turn over a new leaf!

These are my personal gardening resolutions for the new year, but I hope they will help you as well.

. Start ordering seed catalogs ASAP!

. Get ready for indoor planting at the end of February. Do not wait to get what is left at the nursery or garden center. Make lists of what is needed now.

. Try new vegetables and do not be scared that the plant might not work out. You could be surprised.

. Do not overplant (tomatoes and zucchini come to mind immediately).

. Pick out flower plants with a fragrance that you love. Lily of the Valley is a good example.

. Pick out seeds for vegetables you really want to eat.

. Take care of gardening tools. There is no lawn to mow this week, so have the mower blade sharpened for spring.

. There are garden tools for everything these days. Do a little research to take the ache out of your knees, hips and back. Gardening seats/stools are helpful. Buy one!

. Do not misplace the hose nozzle. Buy two just in case!

. Have your soil tested, as it is such an easy yet important thing to do. You really need to know the soil’s pH so that fertilizers work optimally. It will also tell you if you are planting the right plants. The local Agricultural Extension Office provides soil tests or you can purchase your own kit at a nursery or home store. Your flowers and the taste of your vegetables will improve.

. Buy new topsoil and peat moss for raised beds.

. Prune in February. This includes brambles and fruit trees. With leaves off the plants and trees, they are easier to prune.

. Clean and store your sprayers for winter.

. Put unused fertilizer and chemicals in the basement along with those you did not finish using last summer. They are good for a few years only; throw out chemicals and sprays that have not been used in three years.

. If your clippers are getting rusty, buy new blades for your Felcos and soak the nuts and bolts in Gunk rust remover.

. Put in fruit tree orders next week. You will be amazed how quickly fruit tree and berry companies run out of new stock. Place the order for that Montmorency Cherry tree you have coveted for years. The tree will not be delivered until May but you can look forward to its arrival. After four years, you will begin to get crops of cherries. The sooner you buy and plant fruit trees the sooner you will have your own fruit.

. Place an order for raspberry bushes. You can never have enough raspberries. For $7 plus shipping you can buy three to five canes. You will also have raspberries the first year they are in the ground. You cannot say that for many fruiting plants.

. Re-seed or patch the lawn.

. Clean outdoor pots before adding new potting soil in the spring.

. When you buy plants, plant them. When you buy seeds, plant them (don't just look at the pretty picture on the packet and think it will magically turn into lettuce).

This is only my list. I have the feeling your list is similar. The list is long but so are the rewards: bouquets of fresh flowers, and glorious fruits and vegetables to relish all summer. You can look longingly at the lovely pictures, but unless you act on seed selection, planting, and cultivating, your list will only grow longer next year. This list will not be easy to stick to, but it sure is better than having no list at all. Now I only have to learn how to avoid procrastinating!

Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport.

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