Meridian Star

Life

January 6, 2013

Garden resolutions for a happy 2013

MERIDIAN —

I have made it my tradition for the last couple of years to suggest some New Year’s resolutions for the home gardener to consider.

    This year, I’m changing that up a bit by sharing some of my own garden resolutions for 2013. Maybe you will see yourself in some of what I resolve to do next year.

    When I speak to garden clubs and other groups, people often comment that my own landscape must be beautiful. I always answer, “Sometimes yes, but sometimes the landscape can look a little weedy and like it needs some pruning.”

    For those times when it looks rough, I use the analogy of the shoemaker’s kids who run around barefoot. I’m like every other busy gardener, and sometimes it seems there isn’t enough time in the day for all I need to get done.

    I resolve for 2013 to be more diligent in the regular day-to-day maintenance of my home landscape.

    Last year, I suggested that gardeners keep a photo journal to document what works and what they’d like to repeat. I take a lot of pictures in my home garden and landscape, but I’m not very good at organizing the images. Adding dates and descriptions seems like a lot of work, especially if you are like me and fill up an 8 GB storage card with pictures every week.

    I resolve for 2013 to keep my home garden and landscape pictures filed in an orderly fashion and to share them on Facebook. Like me on Facebook at “Southern Gardening” to see what I’m up to.

    Many of my gardening friends know I have quite the home vegetable garden. I really enjoy the taste of homegrown vegetables and take satisfaction in knowing that my home garden can produce good, nutritious food. This is something every gardener can do regardless of the size of his or her garden.

    One crop I grow but don’t consume is fresh heirloom tomatoes. I grow these for my wife. My friends are shocked as I explain that I don’t eat them because it’s a texture thing. Once the heirloom tomatoes are canned, it’s a different story.

    I resolve for 2013 – and this is the big one – to learn to eat and enjoy fresh heirloom tomatoes picked right off the vine.

    When talking about taking care of the landscape, one of the big issues to deal with is how to keep our plants watered. Let’s face it: water is too expensive to waste with inefficient application.

    An efficient and easy way to control water application is to install microirrigation in the landscape and garden. This method can use up to 70 percent less water than overhead watering methods use. All the components are readily available at local home improvement centers.

    I water many of my plantings with emitters that release 1 to 2 gallons directly to the plants’ root zones. No waste. But I have not yet completed the task of having the entire garden and landscape set up on microirrigation.

    I resolve for 2013 to save money on the monthly water bill by having all my garden and landscape watered on my microirrigation system.

    I am sure some of these resolutions will go by the wayside. (Want to bet it’s eating the fresh tomatoes?) But if I only complete a couple, I know that 2013 will be a good year in my garden and landscape. Happy New Year!

    • Dr. Gary Bachman is an assistant Extension research professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

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