Wintertime, when so much of nature is still, is the gardener’s time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the coming year in the garden. The joy in gardening is that you get an opportunity to start all over again each spring.
In the quiet days of late winter, take time to evaluate last year’s garden challenges and successes, and make plans for the new year.
Resolutions for Gardeners:
Be an inspired gardener
Try something new this year! Plant a tree, grow roses, add a raised garden bed, emphasize organic methods, add perennials to your flower beds. Research what’s interesting to you and what works in your location and jump in.
Share the inspiration and love of gardening with children: radishes are the perfect starter vegetable because they grow in cool weather, and seedling to harvest is about 30 days. Don’t be put off by memories of bitter radishes from your own childhood – tiny radishes fresh from the garden are sweet and crisp with just a slightly peppery bite. And the colors are irresistible. Look in the Garden Center or online for radish seeds.
Be an Informed Gardener
A few facts will help you make plans for the gardening year. The date of last frost in spring helps you know when you can safely plant seedlings in the ground. Counting backwards helps you time the seed planting for your tomatoes and peppers. Follow this chart to learn your area’s date of last frost in spring.
Knowing your hardiness zone will help you refine the plantings in your particular location, and is especially helpful in understanding annuals and perennials in your region. Use this map to determine your USDA hardiness zone.
Be an Adventurous Gardener
Get excited about new varieties this year. Newly introduced Proven Winners’ Diamond Snow euphorbia (shown above) works in containers or flower beds to add fullness with feathery flowers.
Also new in 2020, downy mildew-resistant Beacon Impatiens. The new impatiens offer the same look, size and vibrant color range that gardeners have missed for several years due to the impact of downy mildew, a damaging plant disease.
This spring, look for new shrubs from Proven Winners like abelia, berberis, hibiscus, hydrangea, roses and syringa (lilac). Look for perennials like dianthus, heuchera, lavender, leucanthemum, nepeta (catmint), perovskia (Russian sage), sedum and veronica. Keep in mind that selection will vary by store.
Be a Frugal Gardener
Gardeners are conscientious consumers, always on the lookout for a deal. With experience, gardeners learn products that yield a greater reward and those that do not. A good place to start is with quality garden soil and potting mix.
Packaged potting mix and garden soil are formulated for proper nutrition and drainage and are worth the investment. If you use a lot of potting mix, it’s easy to mix in your own formula of equal parts good quality garden soil and store-bought or homemade compost.
Quality soil is the foundation to organic gardening. When you nourish the soil, you give your plants the very best start. If you’ve had inconsistent results with flowers and vegetables, it may be time to learn about your soil and find out how your improvements to soil will help improve your harvest.
A good place to start is a soil test kit from the Garden Center or your local extension service. Follow through with amending the soil for the best start for your plants.
Be a Time SAVing Gardener
Gardening should be about spending time doing what you love. That can mean working with your hands in the dirt, or pruning shrubs, or harvesting vegetables and arranging cut flowers. It usually doesn’t mean loading and unloading mulch and soil bags. Use our mulch calculator to figure how much mulch you need and learn more about mulch delivery.
Download The Home Depot app for easy ordering of the tools and materials you need for your next project. It’s simple to buy online, pick up in store, or select home delivery.
Be an organized gardener
Do you have a work area for gardening? Just like cooks’ organized kitchens, having all your tools and materials where you can find them makes you more efficient.
A potting bench, either made of found materials or purchased, can be the catch-all for your gardening materials. Take that tumble of rusty and dirty trowels and clean and store them in a storage caddy made from terra cotta pots. Store bags of soil, moss and perlite in labeled containers.
Be a Seed-Loving Gardener
Get in on the ground floor, literally, when you become a seed-loving gardener. Grow flowers and vegetables from seed this year. It will give you control over the process, allowing you to start your garden earlier. With successive plantings, you can have many harvests as the weather will allow.
Learn to harvest seed from plants. Ever tasted the sweetest melon of the season and thought about trying to grow one next year? Pick up expert tips for seed-saving. Seed-saving is a straight-forward process: remove the seeds, soak them in water to remove any vegetable matter, then let dry. Place in labeled envelopes and store in a cool, dry place like a Mason jar.
Be a prepared gardener
Last year saw extreme weather in many parts of the country. It was all too much: excessive heat, record rains or no rain for weeks on end. Plants are very adaptable, but can only take so much stress. You can’t control the weather, but you can plan for success no matter the weather. In the case of drought, drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses covered with mulch will help newly established plants get a good start before summer’s heat.
In the case of too much rain, pay attention to drainage in your garden and make plans early in the season to correct problems.
For the best garden year, sign up for The Home Depot’s Garden Club. From seed to harvest, we’ve got you covered with inspiring gardening content and exclusive coupons. Over a year, you could save up to $300 by joining the Garden Club.