We’re coming round to the end of January and this is usually the time that some of us (ok, I mean me) ditch the resolutions and fall back into our (meaning, my) old habits. I think it is because we tend to make broad, general resolutions rather than specific ones; at least that’s what I do. In the past I’ve pledged to “be healthier”, “read more”, or “be more organized”. Yet I’ve never really mapped out a plan for how I was going to accomplish any of those and would end up floundering around in my discarded resolutions by February 1st! This year I decided to make specific goals to see if that might help me keep my resolutions. Instead of making a blanket declaration to “be healthier”, I chose the goals of hitting the gym at least three times a week for 3 months, and include a protein/anti-oxidant smoothie to my daily routine. Instead of saying I would “read more”, I set a goal to read two books per month, one educational and one for fun. And as far as getting more organized, I made a pact with myself to start using my phone calendar to log appointments and commitments. If you don’t do this, believe me, it is a game changer! I’m not telling you my personal resolutions to get your applause, but rather to show you how they started me thinking about gardening resolutions. I’ve found it very easy to stick to my goals so far ( I know, I know, it’s only January 19th, but I’ve already read more than two books!), and I thought that maybe I could reevaluate how I approach gardening using this same method. When I have something specific I know I need to do each day, week, or month, it allows me to focus my normally wandering thoughts and actually accomplish something. I realize this is not really a breakthrough method, but it just might help to be reminded of this simple process.
(Ain’t it the truth!) Photo credit: Unearthedcomics.com Sara Zimmerman
I’ve decided that instead of just saying, “This year I’m going to grow a butterfly garden”, I’m going to try and break things down by monthly tasks. During January I’ve been taking the time to research the best host and nectar plants for our area (Remember those books I’m reading? I also have a great source in Laura Jarvis, our event coordinator.). In February I will begin to sow my collected seeds of milkweed indoors so that I will have transplants for the garden in spring. In early March, after the threat of frost has passed, I will cut back some of my perennial butterfly plants and give them a dose of organic fertilizer to give their new growth a boost. I will buy and plant my carefully-selected, spring plants that will practically guarantee a butterfly bonanza in my garden. In April I can sit back and enjoy seeing many of the native wildflowers pop up in the places I planted back in November. May will be the beginning of the warmer season which is ideal for planting host and nectar providing sennas, and for filling in some spaces with nectar-filled annuals like zinnia. If I keep up with a task per month, by October I should be dizzy from all butterflies swirling around my backyard.
(Ultimate Goal: Butterfly garden filled to the brim)
My butterfly plans are just an example of setting attainable gardening goals. Your goal might be to take better care of your houseplants. In this case, maybe setting a date each month on the calendar to check their soil moisture is all you need. Maybe you are a first timer to growing a veggie garden. You could research raised garden plans the rest of this month, build your bed and research veggies for our area in February, purchase and plant in March, and fertilize in April. Maybe you decide this year is the year you are going to reclaim the life of your garden tools. This month you could sharpen the blades of your mower, next month you could remove rust and sharpen your pruners, in March you could make repairs to trellises and cages. You can schedule out your whole year by setting a new goal each month. Pick a day to do a task and write it on your calendar or plug it into your phone and set an alert. This way it is not just an idea floating around your head but rather a specific commitment you need to take care of on a specific day. Whatever your ultimate goal may be, I hope you can see that by breaking it down into smaller tasks, it can easily be achieved. The ultimate goal that I hope we all achieve is having the most successful gardening year to date. I wholeheartedly believe that we can accomplish this together! We are always here for you and your gardening questions, whether great or small.
2017 here we come!
(Finally shedule time to do something with that rusty wheelbarrow. Fix it or turn it into a fairy garden!)
The Happy Gardener