This time of year seems to bring out the best intentions in folks and why shouldn’t it?! Everything feels fresh, new and all challenges are up for the taking.
Thinking about how one wants to take on this fresh new year can be exhilarating. The last few days I’ve been thinking about how we could take on 2013, as gardeners, together. TO-GETH-ER. What are some ways we could make this next year fruitful?
Fertilize with compost tea
Perhaps some of you have already taken on this challenge and if so, bravo! All of us here at GSF are totally game for the compost tea challenge so if you have any suggestions or advice, please do tell. For those of you have been a bit intimidated or just haven’t had the time (we’ve all been there!) here’s the 411 on brewing your own magical garden tea. Compost tea is an easy way to add beneficial organisms into your soil to help keep your soil extra healthy and better able to break down microbes into soluble nutrients for your plants. A simple way to make it is by adding a shovel-full of your worm compost to a 5 gallon bucket of water and then stir it vigorously once a day for 3 days. This will allow enough oxygen into your mixture to feed the aerobic bacteria that will be gracing your soil very soon. Check out this article from Garden Web if you’re interested in taking your compost tea to the next level because, yes, you could get super fancy and buy a cheap aquarium pump and aerate the bacteria (that will really happen.) out of your tea. If you do so, just make sure you bring us a batch! Thank you.
Having a freshly sharpened pair of pruners is heavenly. HEAVENLY. It doesn’t feel like you’re battling the plant when cutting a piece of it off which makes you better suited for longer pruning sessions. Come on, people, we know you love to prune your plants as much as we do! Here’s a guide to help you take on sharpening your tools. Feel free to come by the garden on a workday, too. We would love to sharpen tools with you!
Plant more butterfly attracting flowers (and plants.)
We found a monarch chrysalis on our chard last month and it was truly one of the most magical things ever to be seen. It had a gold crown. It was gold. It was amazing. Now if we as adults were completely mesmerized by a butterfly chrysalis just imagine the awe a child would experience. Nature is amazing. So why not plant more flowers that will attract those gorgeous creatures into your garden? Butterflies like all sorts of plants; you could even add a few extra dill plants into your beds to call those swallowtails in to hang out with you! Put in a few buddleias and some milkweed and you’ll practically be starting your own butterfly sanctuary.
This is simply a great practice to get into. Deadheading helps to keep your plants on their toes. If you let them go to flower then those flowers die, your plant is going to think, “hey! My job is done. I’ve lived my life, made some pretty flowers, put out some seeds and now it’s my time to move on.” And you think, “oh no you din’t! I want. I need. I must have more of your flowers!!” annnd you can! Just snip off the old ones as they’re starting to get crusty and brown and say hello to a fresh new set of blossoms. It’s a win-win. You get another round of beautiful blossoms and the plant gets to live a bit longer. Who wouldn’t like this situation?
Attend more workshops
The Natural History Museum is going to offer gardening classes starting in April! These are perfect for those of you who just want to get a boost of confidence in the gardening world. They are introductory classes that will leave you feeling a bit more comfortable in your gardening gloves.
The Arboretum is hosting two (two!!) Square Foot Gardening workshops in the next couple of months. The first is January 19th while the second is April 20th. Both are held on a Saturday from 10am-1pm. This is perfect for beginners and old-timers alike. Square foot gardening is a thoughtful way to make the most out of your garden space. You’ll really develop a new outlook to gardening once you have been exposed to the square foot method.
Take the time to visit new gardens; explore and have fun!
The Huntington Library offers a free entry day once a month which would be a great time to get some garden inspiration!
Head over to Descanso Gardens. It’s a mini version of the Huntington, and is equally as beautiful. Their entrance fees are a fraction of the cost which is great when you’re simply looking for inspiration.
What do you think? Feel like taking part of the 2013 Gardener’s Unite Challenge?! Let us know what sorts of garden activities you plan on owning this year? We can’t wait to hear from you!