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Top 10 New Year’s resolutions for the gardener

(Photo Credit: Sally Mahoney via Flickr)

(Photo Credit: Sally Mahoney via Flickr)

It’s that time of year again! Time to make New Year’s resolutions.

This year, we at Rustik have a suggestion that you can achieve rather easily. Resolve to be a better gardener. Make it happen with these ten ideas:

1. Don’t buy too many seeds
We’ve all been there. Sitting by the fire with a stack of garden catalogues, it’s easy to get carried away. But seeds are delicate little creatures that have a distinct shelf life. Save money by calculating just what you need, researching seed swaps in your area, or sharing your seed order with neighbours and friends.

2. Learn from last year
If you don’t already keep a garden journal, start this year: a simple notebook is all it takes. Moving forward, you can look back at previous year’s notes, review what worked and what didn’t, then incorporate changes into the current garden plan.

3. Stay on top of the weeding!
No matter how much you hate to weed, resolve to stay with it in 2014. Pick a strategy that works for you, and be consistent. Letting the weeds get out of control makes the task even worse in the long run.

4. Be adventurous
Plant at least one unfamiliar vegetable in this year’s garden and learn to cook with it – chances are you will end up with a new family favourite. Think cardoons, spigarielloblack radishes or white eggplants.

5. Water only when you have to
One thing many home gardeners are guilty of is watering either too much, or too little. Learn to read the cues your plants will give you, then water slowly and deeply, so the water soaks in instead of running off. Best to water early in the morning to minimize evaporation.

6. Take better care of your tools
You know the old adage: take care of your tools, and they will take care of you. Proper maintenance prevents future problems, and with a little bit of attention a good tool can last for years. The three keys are: clean, dry and sharp.

7. Experiment with companion planting
Garden experts are split on whether companion planting, or planting certain crops in close proximity, really has a beneficial effect. The best way to find what works is to experiment in your own garden. This year, resolve to try it out and see what happens.

8. Plant more edible flowers
From angelicas to zinnias, there is a whole world to explore with edible flowers. Not only do they add zest to the plate, they also bring incredible colour and beauty to any garden.

9. Make your garden wildlife-friendly
Birds and other pollinators are a gardener’s best friend. But not all gardens are conducive to attracting these beneficial animals. This gardening season, learn about how to make your garden ‘for the birds’.

10. Rotate your crops
Crop rotation is an easy and organic way to reduce pests and disease in the garden. Moving crops from one area of the garden to another prevents nutrients from being depleted and pests from building up in the soil.

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