Do you make New Year Resolutions? Most likely it is just a fun thing to do. These are things we would like to complete but never seem to get a round to doing. Well, I have a half dozen New Year Resolution we can do and they should be fun.
1. Plant lots of pansies - With possible cold winter days ahead this seems so very reasonable to me. Actually any plant in the viola group will do. These keep smiling during frosts and freezes. Here are some more survivors that don't mind the cold; petunias, snapdragons, dianthus, and dusty miller. But of all, the pansies and Johnny-jump-ups are the cold weather winners.
2. Grow lots of what your family likes to eat - Now I don?t expect to grow everything but almost everyone has a little room to plant some favorite vegetables. During cold weather broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions can withstand the lower temperatures. You can add to this list radishes, beets, carrots, and collards plus others for this time of the year. Now is also the time to be thinking of tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers for March plantings. And don?t forget all the herbs for seasoning. These all love winter.
3. Reuse your leaves - We love to gather the leaves and turn them into mulch. In fact we are raking leaves from our neighbor?s yard and can?t wait until residents start setting out the bags of leaves for pickup. They make great mulch for the garden and can be turned into compost too. One warning is if you use fresh leaves mixed with your soil you do need to add extra fertilizer. The decomposing leaves ties up the nutrients the plants need for growth. But they do build good soil and eventually return the nutrients for plant growth.
4. Water only when you have to ? There is no need to water lawns, trees, shrubs and similar plants more than once a week at this time of the year. Many could actually go for two weeks or so without the extra water. This is a low water use time of the year. Save the water and save your money too. Only vegetables, annual flowers and some perennials may need extra waterings.
5. Try some new plants ? When you see pretty plants at the garden center give them a try. You do not have to buy a lot of anyone plant, just a few. Some of the great plants like Amazon lilies, California poppies, blackberry lilies, fringe trees, stocks and more are over looked. If you are not familiar with these do a Google search and check them out for planting in your yard.
6. Use the low toxicity pesticides first ? Most times you can use pesticides that are today called natural products to eliminate both insects and diseases in the landscape. Many companies have added a line of products that are of a low toxicity. Some include the horticultural oils, insecticidal soap, naturally derived Bacillus and spinosad insecticides and copper containing fungicides. Check out the labels or get some advice from your local University of Florida Extension office. They are my first line of defense in the garden and landscape.
And most of all ? Happy Gardening in 2018