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Gardening with Laurie: Gardeners resolutions

By By Laurie Garretson
Jan. 3, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 2, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.

Laurie Garretson

Here are some of my favorite gardeners resolutions that I would hope inspire you to a healthy 2013.

The first will have to be conserving water. Water is probably the most valuable resource humans have control over in our lives and our gardens. Use more drip and soaker hoses. These will get the water right to the soil without much evaporation loss. Keep all beds and vegetable gardens well mulched. Mulching holds in moisture and provides many other benefits.

Plant more natives in the "right place." Once established, native plants will get by on less water. Native plants can better adapt themselves to your landscape. Natives can better handle our stressful summers and drought situations. The natives can also attract beneficial insects, birds and bees.

Next, I would suggest downsizing the lawn area in your landscape. Not only will less lawn save on water usage, which in turn saves you money, but it will save you time mowing. In place of grass consider groundcovers, shrubs or native perennials.

What about a resolution to grow more of your own food? This actually seems to be one of this year's more popular gardeners resolutions. With the rising cost of groceries and the growing threat of more genetically modified crops, more and more gardeners are growing bigger vegetable gardens. Vegetables don't have to be grown in a garden. Vegetables can easily be incorporated into all areas of the landscape.

If you just don't have any gardening space at all, there are people that will allow you to garden on their land in exchange for your labor. You can email me about more information on contacting these people.

Make a resolution to get out and clean up your winter garden now. I can almost promise you there will be fewer weeds at this time than there will be at a later date.

How about starting a compost pile? This would be a great time to start one with all the free leaves that are probably laying in your yard or your neighbors. Composting helps to cut back on all the garbage in our landfills. You only need a small spot (4 feet by 4 feet) of land in an out-of-the-way area of your yard. Start by piling leaves and any other organic material you have on the pile. Occasionally, mist and stir the pile. In time, you'll have your own compost.

Plant more diverse plants to attract wildlife. Try to have plants that will bloom at different times of the year. Bloomers will provide nectar for the bees and butterflies. Plant trees and shrubs that will provide nesting and shelter for birds. Different types of foliage will provide butterfly caterpillars a food source.

If you haven't done so, try to start a more natural approach to your gardening routine. You know it will be healthier for you and the environment.

One of the most popular resolutions would have to be to lose weight. Gardening can provide the exercise you need to shed a few pounds and also helps to slow you down. That's a very good thing.

Here's to a very happy, successful and healthy gardening season.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, and not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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