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A new year means a new start. It’s a time to take stock and plan any changes or new projects. It’s now also a great time to make some gardening New Year’s resolutions.

Some psychologists think that the key to sticking to New Year’s resolutions is to make them positive, rather than negative. So to word things as ‘I will start doing…’ rather than ‘I will stop…’.

So instead of proposing major lifestyle changes, I’ve come up with five small resolutions for an even better garden this year. There is a mixture of plans, so you can get around to certain jobs as well as fun new ideas and projects to try. After all, gardening is about more than chores!

Here are my five gardening New Year’s resolutions to make – and stick to!

1. Protect garden timber

I know applying wood paint and stain is a time-consuming and tedious job. But water gets into bare timber, then freezes and expands which leads to the wood warping and splitting. There is no way to fix the damage, so prevention is key.

And preserving wood will save you time, money and elbow grease replacing it in the future.

Rose-petal-salad-2

Many modern fence and shed treatments contain a wood preserver as standard. So, simply apply your paint or stain to clean, dry wood. If you want to maintain the wood’s natural colour, you can buy clear wood preservative. Ensure you cover the tops of posts and panels, as these are most affected by standing water.

It’s a small resolution that can make a big difference.

2. Start a compost heap

Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

The benefits of a compost heap are huge. It recycles waste, reduces landfill and makes nutrient-rich material for your garden at almost no cost.

Up to 30% of your household waste can be composted. You can put in veg peelings, coffee grounds, shredded paper and garden clippings and waste. Don’t throw away all those nutrients – put them back in your soil for the plants to use. They will thank you with stronger growth and more flowers!

In fact, many councils now have composting schemes, with discount bins and advice on what to do. Contact your local council to see what they are offering.

It’s a small outlay at the beginning but once you have the bin, you’re set for a lifetime of free compost! It is honestly one of the best things you can do for your garden.

3. Try growing veg

Growing your own food is having a renaissance, but many of us still find it daunting. The truth, however, is that you don’t need an allotment.

You don’t even need a proper veg plot. You can grow vegetables in containers and borders, without any special equipment or expert knowledge.

Viola-sandwiches

Try your hand at growing veg this year. Start small with salad leaves, radishes or beetroot, which are ideal because they don’t need deep soil and will thrive in pots. Just buy some seeds and sow them – you will be amazed how easy it is.

Many people want to grow tomatoes but put it off because they think they need a greenhouse. But all you need is a sunny wall and a growbag. You can even do it on a balcony!

My top tip with tomatoes is to buy plug plants, rather than worrying about how to germinate seeds. Plug plants are simply very young plants that are ready to be planted directly in the ground. It’s more expensive but the success rate is much higher – even I do it!

I promise you that eating food you have grown with your own hands is the most marvellous feeling.

4. Plant a tree

Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

I did this recently and it is fantastic. There’s an old saying: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

There is something so permanent about a tree, and planting one feels like making your mark on the world. If you have small children, I definitely recommend doing it now – you can see the tree grow alongside your child.

Choosing the right tree takes a bit of research and care. You need to make sure it will be happy in the site and space you have available. There’s no point planting a young tree in a small space if, in five years’ time, it will dwarf everything else in the garden.

You could plant anything, from traditional birch, apple and even oak trees to the acers and sorbus trees that are better suited to small and city gardens. Once you have chosen your tree, here is a planting guide.

5. Grow something different

Make this year the year you finally grow the plant you have always wanted to try. Always wanted to grow roses? Plant one.

Fancy trying your hand at growing saffron, or chillies, or mushrooms, or a bonsai tree? Give it a go.

Your garden should be fun, so have a go at growing something wild, wacky or long wished-for. Trim some topiary, grow a red sunflower or sow a wildflower patch. And if it doesn’t work, don’t worry. Try something else next year.

Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Choosing the right tree takes a bit of research and care. You need to make sure it will be happy in the site and space you have available. There’s no point planting a young tree in a small space if, in five years’ time, it will dwarf everything else in the garden.

You could plant anything, from traditional birch, apple and even oak trees to the acers and sorbus trees that are better suited to small and city gardens. Once you have chosen your tree, here is a planting guide.

And remember, if you make just one gardening New Year’s resolution this year, make it this one: I will find a little more time to just enjoy my garden.

Spring is coming, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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