New Year's Resolutions for Gardeners

Posted: December 22, 2011

Here are 12 resolutions for the coming year, adapted from a list developed by Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor from the University of Vermont.

1.    Start a compost pile for leaves, plant residues, and kitchen scraps to be mixed in your soil as compost or around your plants as mulch to enrich your garden and improve plant growth.
2.    Use biological controls whenever feasible for insects and diseases in the garden, starting with planting pest-resistant varieties.
3.    Apply pesticides (whether conventional or organic) only as a last resort and always use them safely and prudently.
4.    Store all garden chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) in their original containers, out of reach of children and pets, and preferably in a locked storage area.
5.    Use fertilizers only as indicated by soil tests, and use organic forms whenever possible.
6.    Mow properly (often, not too high or low), and set up your mower to “leave grass clippings lay” (or compost them) so they will recycle organic matter and nutrients back into the soil.
7.    Conserve water by mulching, using efficient watering methods such as drip irrigation systems, and selecting drought-resistant ornamental plants.
8.    Develop a landscape plan that works with the environment, for example, ground covers on steep banks to prevent soil erosion and shade trees on the sunny side of a home to act as a natural air conditioner.  Landscaping also can help reduce temperature extremes, filter out air pollutants, and stop noise.
9.    Create natural wildlife habitats by planting trees and shrubs that provide food or cover or by leaving brush and undergrowth in certain areas for birds, rabbits, and other small animals to use as a protective haven.
10.    Provide food and water for the birds and to continue to feed them once they have come to depend on you.
11.    Establish and maintain pollinator-friendly plantings and use gardening methods that protect and nurture both “wild” and managed pollinators.
12.    Encourage others, whenever possible, to do all they can to help preserve the environment and our natural resources.

If you have questions, contact your local extension office. In Lackawanna County call our garden help line at 963-6842 ext. 1377 or email
Terry Schettini, Extension Educator
Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lackawanna County