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Garden Help Desk: Green-thumb resolution suggestions for 2023

By USU Extension - | Jan 7, 2023

Courtesy Meredith Seaver

Interplanting is a good way to get more from your garden. In this garden, the lettuce will be harvested before the tomato transplants need more space.

You’ve probably at least contemplated making a few new resolutions for 2023. Here are some suggested New Year’s resolutions for your inner gardener.

Not a gardener yet? Resolve to plant, tend, and enjoy at least one thing this year. A small houseplant on your apartment windowsill, a potted herb on your condo deck, or a tomato plant in a sunny corner of a shrub bed are all good ways to get started.

Commit to getting all your tools gathered, cleaned, organized, and ready to go before the end of February. Sharpen and oil your pruners, hang your larger hand tools where they’re easy to see and grab when you need one, and collect your smaller tools in a pot or bucket.

Increase the diversity in your landscape. Add a few plant species that you don’t already have in your flowerbeds and gardens. Include some native plants.

Resolve to read seed catalog descriptions completely so that you’ll have the best varieties for your gardening style in your landscape and our climate.

Courtesy Meredith Seaver

Drip irrigation is a great way to "upgrade" you yard or garden. It can reduce water use by putting water right where your plants need it, but not beyond that. Plant get a deep soak, but weed seeds miss out on the moisture.

Get your soil tested. Knowing about the salinity, pH, and fertility in your soil early in the year will give you time to correct problems and plan for proper watering before it’s time to start your cut flower or vegetable garden, lay sod, or plant new trees and shrubs. You’ll find all the information you need for your soil test here: http://usual.usu.edu/home-soil/index.

Invite more pollinators and other beneficials into your landscape. Plant flowering herbs and other nectar-rich flowers, including native annuals and perennials, add some bird feeders, and reduce your use of broad-spectrum pesticides to make it easier for beneficial insects to flourish.

Learn about composting and build your own compost bin so that you can make your own “black gold” for your gardens. Composting will reduce the amount of garden waste that goes to the landfill and the compost will improve the drainage, moisture-holding capacity, aeration, and fertility of your soil. Register for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District composting class on March 8th to learn composting basics.

Resolve to include some Showy milkweed in your flowerbeds for Monarch butterfly larvae.

Plant a pot of ginger in honor of its status as the 2023 Herb of the Year. Some tips can be found at https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/ginger-zingiber-officinale/.

Courtesy Meredith Seaver

The small flowers on some popular herbs are an important food source for many beneficial insects.

Resolve to review your current gardening style and identify something you can change to make your landscape more sustainable. Reduce the size of your lawn; fertilize your lawn and garden only as needed, not “just because;” use the mulching feature on your mower; consider purchasing battery-powered trimmers, mowers, and leaf blowers when it’s time to replace old equipment and use a broom or rake for small jobs.

Switch to drip irrigation in your vegetable, shrub, and flower beds. You’ll improve the health of your plants and still give them a deep soak while saving water.

Start a garden journal. Make notes of what you do, when you do it, anything special about how you did something, and include the results- crop size, flower quality, harvest dates, etc.

Resolve to go out into your gardens scouting for problems at least two to three times a week. Examining your trees, shrubs, flowerbeds and vegetable plants will let you respond to problems before they’re difficult to manage.

Practice getting sharp, detailed photos with your phone camera. Your photos will be great for your garden journal and helpful if you need to email gardenhelp@usu.edu about questions or problems in your landscape.

Try a new gardening method. Vertical gardening, raised beds, succession planting, interplanting, container gardening, season extending, combining veggies and flowers in mixed garden beds, or trying your hand at overwintering a vegetable crop like onions, garlic, or carrots.

Grow, cook, and eat something new in your vegetable garden.

Add a new or improved variety of a flower or vegetable that you already have growing in your landscape

Resolve to invite children into your garden. Set aside 2-3 square feet of garden space as a learning zone for a young gardener.

Create an outdoor dining space where you can enjoy a garden meal at the end of the day appreciate the results of your gardening resolutions.


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