Did you make any gardening-related New Year’s resolutions this year? Whether you’re a horticulture expert or a newbie who wants to try gardening for the first time, here are our favorite New Year’s resolutions for gardeners in 2017.
1. Get started: grow and harvest your first veggies
The #1 resolution on our list is to get gardening! Gardening comes with many benefits for our physical, emotional and mental well-being. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening for just 2.5 hours a week can reduce the risk of common conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Gardening has also been shown to ward off depression and anxiety. Plus, nothing beats the smell of flowers in bloom or the taste of fresh, homegrown vegetables.
Getting started by growing your first tomato plant (or any annual vegetable) is easier than you think. If you’re worried you might have a “black thumb” or are simply short on gardening space, try your hand at gardening with a self-watering container like The GrowBox. Plants love it, and it takes all the guesswork out of gardening. Consider using a GrowBox to grow some of these easy-to-grow plants in a well-lit window or sunny area outside:
- Cherry tomato
- Bush bean
- Bell pepper
2. Make your backyard a Certified Wildlife Habitat
All over the US, native birds, bees, and butterflies are on the decline. You can join thousands of other gardeners and help these valuable backyard visitors by turning your garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat. All you need to do is make sure your garden has adequate food, water, shelter and nesting sites. The best part is, your wildlife garden will seem to come alive with backyard visitors—and your yard will look great, too.
One of the most important features of a wildlife garden is a consistent source of food. Your feathered friends will thank you, especially in winter when food is scarce, if you have a Beacon Birdfeeder hanging in your yard. Both attractive and functional, this birdfeeder is easy to fill and clean, and makes a wonderful accent to any garden.
3. Go native
Everyone loves the bright, showy flowers of non-native species, but they can be high-maintenance if not grown in their ideal climate, requiring lots of water and pesticides. This year, resolve to plant native species for a more sustainable garden that’s easy to maintain. Choose native plants that are adapted to your local climate, weather and pests. Natives can handle periods of drought and sudden freezes. In addition, they require little, if any, fertilizer to thrive. Native plants also help sustain backyard birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
If you want to try your hand at landscaping with native flowers, check out the wide selection available at American Meadows. They are well known for selling an impressive variety of wildflowers selected for regional growing throughout the USA. American Meadows is a great resource for native pollinator-friendly species, including native milkweed, the #1 host plant of the increasingly rare monarch butterfly.
4. Save water
From rising water prices to widespread drought, there are many reasons to make your garden a little less thirsty. Resolve to save water this year by installing rain barrels or replacing some of your water-wasting lawn into a lovely bed of perennials, shrubs or wildflowers. Converting even just 1/3 of your front lawn into a drought-tolerant garden can make a huge difference on your water bill.
A good selection of native, drought-tolerant plants can be hard to come by, but you can find some great varieties at small, specialized nurseries. You can also check out High Country Gardens, an online nursery that ships plants all over the US. Experts there have dedicated years to finding and breeding the American Wests’ most beautiful and hardy perennials and shrubs. They also offer wildflower seeds, low-water lawns, and even flowering bulbs. Check out their exclusive “Pre-planned Gardens” for a fast and easy way to start a water-wise garden.
5. Try something new
Whether you’re a Master Gardener or digging in the dirt for the first time, resolve to be a little adventurous this year and plant something completely different. The nation’s best plant breeders release new and exciting varieties of vegetables, perennials and roses every year. Check out their websites or request their free catalogs of new offerings.