By Michael Leach
The tradition of setting goals and making resolutions for a new year is always fraught with uncertainty, something especially true for 2021. However, as the late comedienne Phyllis Diller observed, aim high and there’s less chance of shooting yourself in the foot. So each year, I aim for the stars.
Focus and finish — Surely there are others who start projects with the idea of quickly checking them off the to-do list. But sooner or later the focus blurs, and the projects are set aside (sometimes for years), because even more appealing or demanding issues arise.
Juggling several things is possible. I do this when preparing several different dishes for one meal. Unlike those forgotten projects, meal prep is clearly defined and time-sensitive: Sit down to a plate filled with various tasty foods at x’o’clock. Perhaps if I see projects “finished” even before starting, just as I do with cooking dinner, more things will get done in 2021.
Ease back in — I yearn for morning workouts and weekly yoga practice at the local Y, plus the socializing that goes with such activities. Yet I must resist the urge to go from 0-to-60 when things finally allow.
The garden teaches moderation when digging in. Surely I am not alone when it comes to wanting to accomplish three months’ worth of work before lunch on that first pleasant day of spring. That’s the day when the urge to go outside and play in the dirt is irresistible. Overdo in a few hours then, and you’ll spend the next 48 in aching misery. So it must be with moderation that I revive whatever routines I choose to bring back from pre-lockdown. Pacing is a must.
Socialize with a vengeance — I plan to share my garden sanctuary with special friends, probably only one at a time, as often as possible, even if it means foregoing working on a few of those first balmy spring days. Socializing happened too infrequently in 2020 and sometimes was foolishly considered too inconvenient before. Friends were so starved for real face time in 2020, we sat for hours talking. When we reluctantly agreed to part, legs were stiff. We gasped when checking the time. We were, however, so glad we did it. Now that I think about it, socializing should be the first and most important goal for 2021 — and all the years to come.
By Debra Knapke
I made a few resolutions with a smirk on my face:
- To clean out my overfull email Inbox
- To clean my office and keep everything on its place
- To download and label all my pictures off my phone.
Then, wrote my real resolutions:
- To keep my tools clean and sharp, really, especially the sharp part. Tired of hurting my body by working with dull tools.
- Replacing our gas-powered lawn mower with a battery-operated mower that uses the same batteries as my battery- powered garden tools.
- To add solar panels to our home to help with the power load of our home, greenhouse and battery-operated power tools.
And, finally, offer a few resolutions to challenge every gardener:
- To make compost from vegetative kitchen scraps and disease and pest-free cleanings from the garden and add it to the garden whenever I plant or create new garden areas.
- To sequester carbon by planting more trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, and by putting carbon into the soil through the use of biochar, and compost.
By Teresa Woodard
I’ve always loved reflecting on this day and looking forward to the future. For me, it always seemed to be about the numbers. How many articles I wrote or how many things I accomplished? But after this crazy pandemic year, I’m learning to measure success in quality more than quantity. As Einstein put it, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Here are my 2020 gardening goals:
Grow fruits and vegetables. A highlight of 2020 was planting backyard gardens for families in a food insecure neighborhood. Back home, I gained a renewed passion for planting veggies — no longer looking at it as a novelty but as a privilege to grow and harvest fresh, delish and nutritious food from my own backyard. Bring on more tasty tomatoes, power-packed greens and heirloom beans.
Make friends with other gardeners. While gardening can be a welcomed solitary activity, I’ve also found joy in gardening with others. Together, tasks seem to go faster and feel less like work. Plus, friendships made in the garden are some of the best.
Visit other gardens for inspiration and learning. In 2021, I’m taking on a book project that will give me the opportunity to write about garden designers’ own gardens. So, I’m very excited to meet these gardeners across the country and share their garden stories with others.
Plant with a purpose. I love shopping for plants, and this year, I’m challenging myself to be more selective with my choices. Will this flower benefit pollinators? Will this plant persevere in my backyard and even prevent soil erosion or help absorb water in flooded areas? Will this plant offer shade, edible fruits or shelter for wildlife? And, yes, will this plant add beauty, fragrance or joy?
Happy New Year, gardening friends! We’d love to hear your gardening resolutions in the comments.