I used to have a New Year's resolution of not eating a whole watermelon in one sitting. That was back when watermelons weighed 25 to 30 pounds, but now many stores sell the little round baby watermelons. I have reversed my resolution so that now I resolve to eat a whole watermelon in one sitting at least once this summer.
Are you glad 2017 is ending? It was a stressful year for many. Research has often shown that people can relieve stress in gardens, either through enjoying an existing garden or the act of gardening. For those of us who like to work in our gardens, it is important to sometimes stop working and literally smell the roses. Resolve — right now during winter — to enjoy your garden more by eating outside more often, strolling through the yard to smell the flowers without pulling any weeds and having at least one party with family and friends over to enjoy the garden, too.
If you need to exercise more, relieve stress or spend more time with family, invite other people to help create a community garden plot. Share the work, and share the produce. Resolve to share some with your local food pantry or shelter.
To help your garden and landscape grow better and healthier this year, I have a few more suggested resolutions. Repeat after me:
I resolve to stop using Facebook and other cellphone apps and spend the extra time in the garden. OK, I'm joking. I really meant to say: I resolve to spend enough time in the garden to create pretty pictures that I can post on Facebook and Instagram.
I resolve to post pictures of weeds and insects first, to make sure they are pests, before spraying to kill them.
I resolve to be very discerning before believing posts about natural control methods for my pest problems, before spraying to kill them.
I resolve to feed real birds (not the angry kind). That way they will come back to my yard and eat real insects, so I won't have to spray.
I resolve to add more mulch to my flowerbeds where it will decrease weeds, saving me money on weedkillers and protecting the environment from useless weedkiller applications.
I resolve to have the irrigation system inspected so that I don't waste water. I resolve to install an irrigation control box that takes into account whether or not the plants need watering before it turns on.
I resolve to plant more flowers that have sweet-smelling fragrances.
I resolve to plant a cutting flowerbed in the back corner or in the side yard that no one sees, so I can enjoy more flowers indoors.
I resolve to have the kids help more in the garden so they can learn to enjoy growing plants, flowers and vegetables.
I resolve to add more native perennial flowers to the flowerbeds, so they will be less work in the long run.
I resolve to use more slow-release organic fertilizers and compost to help replenish the soil.
I resolve to consider flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds when choosing flowers for pots and flowerbeds.
I resolve to shop at the farmers market more often.
I resolve to take a gardening class with my local university extension office.
Great. Don't you feel better already? Resolutions that involve other people are more likely to be kept. Use Facebook to invite family and friends to participate in your gardening resolutions.
Email questions to Jeff Rugg at [email protected] To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.