It may be a few days after the new year, but it is never too late to make gardening resolutions. Never mind that it is often minus zero outside and snow covered, the garden is waiting patiently.
Every year, I resolve to get up earlier each morning to work before the sun gets too high. About 5:30 in the morning would be ideal, but then again, so is sleep at that time. About 7 to 8 a.m. sounds best. If only I could skip that second cup of coffee.
Resolve to do more composting. My compost bin is a little walk from the door, but that is no excuse to put the coffee grounds and clementine peelings down the garbage disposal. Gather all this together in a covered container each day and then make the five-minute trip outside. The rewards are great.
Try something new. Every year different vegetables, fruits and flowers appear in the gardening catalogs. Burpee is touting a steakhouse hybrid tomato that promises to be near 3 pounds in 75 to 80 days. Supposedly it is loaded with true heirloom flavor. Red Luna potato is new and supposed to be a rich red with golden yellow flesh and a high resistance to blight.
NeSeed is a company I bought pumpkins seeds from last year. I planted 50 seeds of Porcelain Doll F1, a Cinderella pink pumpkin ideal for October’s breast cancer awareness campaign. I must say it was not successful, but this year I will vow to get the pumpkins in before the end of June. These were getting ready to do something about the time frost hit.
Buy local. Even though I mentioned these catalogs, I do like to buy plants and seeds from our local gardening supply stores. It’s a good time to ask question, too.
Start seeds in March and be sure to label them well. Share extras with your friends.
Water trees well in the spring if the winter is dry. (Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen this year.)
Take care of the tools. It is so easy when you have been working all day to leave them for tomorrow, but a quick rinse with the hose will keep them sharp and ready. That goes for the mower, too, whether it is push or power. Hose off the grass, keep it well oiled and clean.
Do some winter gardening by attending Project Green’s 2nd Sunday Forums at the library. They have excellent speakers and it’s all free, including the delicious snacks at break time.
The Linn County Master Gardeners are having their annual fair with 54 classes to choose from. Topics include herbs, trees, shrubs, vegetables and containers, just to name a few. There is something for the beginner to the seasoned gardener. It will be Feb. 15 at Kirkwood Community College. Tuition is $49 and that includes a boxed lunch. Registration has started, but there is still plenty of time to get information from email@example.com or by calling 319-377-9839.
Judy Terry is a freelance garden writer. Questions or comments should be sent to her at Iowa City Press-Citizen, P.O. Box 2480, Iowa City, IA 52244-2480; faxed to 834-1083; or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.