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PHOTO: Kevin Fogle
It’s hard to believe another calendar year has come and gone. Like everyone else, I’m always trying to find a few resolutions that I can easily uphold in the new year. Sure, health and diet items make the list, but each year I try and include at least one gardening resolution, as well. Here are few of my favorite garden resolutions from the last few years.
Get Your Soil Tested
Late fall and winter are the right time to get your soil professionally tested. Many folks don’t think about this important task until it almost time for spring planting, when it’s often too late to make the necessary soil amendments without potential injury to your planned crops. Collecting soil samples for your state soil lab is an easy process that will identify soil pH, nutrient levels and offer recommendations to correct any identified issues. Soil testing is great for the environment, too, as it cuts down on unnecessary and expensive fertilizer and additive usage by farmers and gardeners. Contact your local extension agent to get soil sample containers and instructions.
Add New Crops To The Mix
Tired of planting the exact same crops each year? Spice your garden up in 2016 by researching some new-to-you crops or cultivars of your favorite fruits and vegetables. With a wide world of well-established heirlooms and popular hybrids, there are plenty of options to add some fresh flavors and unexpected vibrant colors to any garden. Look at seed catalogues, gardening magazines or gardening blogs to find some new edible options that will make your garden interesting and fun in the new year.
Protect Beneficial Insects And Native Pollinators
Whether or not full organic gardening is feasible for your landscape, all gardeners need to think about eliminating or drastically reducing their usage of commercial insecticides and herbicides. Many of these chemical controls can unintentionally cause great harm to both the essential pollinator populations and the beneficial insects that naturally keep many harmful insect populations at bay. To identify some successfully organic strategies to safely handle insect or plant issues in your garden, talk to the knowledgeable staff at your locally owned garden center or contact your extension office.