All of us at DripWorks want to wish you a very Happy New Year and hope for a year of normal weather patterns with more rainfall for the many drought stricken areas all over the United States. Our resolutions cover landscape, fruit tree growing, and vegetable gardening.
Start inside your home
Looking out your window, can you spot areas on your property that you wish were more attractive? Walk outside and think of a tree, a shrub, or a flower bed that would make an eye catching statement in that spot. Maybe even take a walk in your neighborhood and 'steal' a great idea.
Visit an outstanding public garden in your area
You might take a drive and make a day trip out of it, taking pictures of their layouts to incorporate into your own landscape. Often these botanical gardens have nurseries that sell the plants they grow there.
Decide to remove your lawn (or at least some of it)
With the lawn gone you can design a 'hardscape' using large rocks, mulch, or sand as focal points in the landscape. Next you can add drought resistant shrubs and grasses to add beauty and drama to your yard. Some municipalities are even offering their residents up to $4/square foot to remove large lawn areas!
Use mulch to cover your flowerbeds
Wood chips, leaves, pine needles, and dry grass clippings work well to retard weed growth, retain moisture for your chosen plantings, and cover drip lines. Evaporative loss also will be dramatically cut.
Vow to improve your soil
Have your soil tested for deficiencies. Simple-to-use soil testing kits are available at most nurseries or online.
Build a compost pile
Vegetable and flower garden clippings are excellent ingredients. Layering in straw or grass clippings is a good idea too. Whatever you use be sure to add to the pile regularly, turn it, and cover it. Many styles of compost bins are available online or in stores. A Bokashi bucket is particularly efficient at creating compost out of kitchen scraps using the 'cold compost' method. You can find some very easy to build compost bin plans online that show how you can make one out of chicken wire and fence posts or 2' x 6' planks and Frame-it-all corner brackets. The results will give you a very fertile additive for you garden.
Grow only non-GMO vegetables and fruits in your garden
Instead, try growing heirloom varieties that are suited to your gardening zone. The best source we've found for these plants is rareseeds.com, by Baker Creek Seed Company.
Grow plants you have never grown before
Do you find yourself wishing you grew raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries whenever you have to pay dearly for a pint? All are easier to care for than you think and, with a little bit of help, will produce year after year.
Plant a few fruit trees this year
Bare root season is getting closer. Late winter or early spring are the best times to plant apple, pear, plum, peach, or persimmon trees. Think of it as an investment in the future that will bear the most delicious fruit for a generation to come.
Choose local foods, whenever possible, and protect yourself from the sun while gardening. Wear a hat!
Will you get around to doing all this? It's possible, though, more than likely another priority will arise to deflect or delay you from at least some of your goals. But that's just life. As long as you keep resetting and, don't give up, you haven't failed. Besides, there's always next year!