Sunday, December 27, 2009

Garden Resolutions 2010

Working on garden resolutions to mark New Year's 2010. It's a good time for resolutions and plans. Starting with the challenges and successes of 2009, what changes should we make?

Challenges - much of the garden had to be neglected, especially during summer and fall. The limited time for the garden meant there were more weeds, it looked more untidy, and there was lost opportunity for mental rejuvenation. By planning ahead, I hope to reduce some maintenance and have a better looking an more productive yard.

During the winter months, there isn't much to do with the growing plants. However, I can get in more pruning, so it won't have to happen when the garden is busier. In addition, I can get beds cleaned up and mulched. One challenge is the cat(s) using much for litter box. I don't mind, but digging up the mulch results in more weeds. Maybe chicken wire covering the mulch? Haven't decided.

This year the tomatoes, my favorite crop, were poor producers. This may have been due to planting the tomato bed too many years in a row - probably 5 years. So they'll be moved. We'll build new raised beds on the South side of the house, add chicken compost, and these will be designated tomato beds. This is also a warmer and sunnier location, so there will be benefit in microclimate as well.

The peaches were the best ever, but I left too many on the trees. Lesson learned, thin them early to 1 or 2 per 6-inch stem. Same for apples.

Garden Resolutions, 2010:

1. I resolve to continue the tradition of normal New Year's grape pruning (note to spine: please cooperate. Up movements seem OK, it's typing, like now, that's killing me). The pruning will be more extensive this year, to limit # of grape bunches. There were too many in 2009. Limiting #s should mean larger, juicier grapes.

2. I resolve to complete rose pruning in January. This is normally delayed for later, but my neighbor's roses do fine with this early pruning, so it's time to get it out of the way so that there are fewer things to do in Spring. If this kills a rose bush or 2 or 3.... well, that's more room to try something new.

3. I resolve to insert barriers around raspberries (for spreading branbles). and at least one fig tree (for roots). These barriers will mean less maintenance to control invasive vines and roots.

4. I resolve to get everything ready for tomato seedlings, during the winter. That way, if it's busy when time to plant the seeds, all that I will need to do is actually plant the seeds. Less delay, better potential crop.

5. I resolve to improve hardscaping with better edging in front yard, to keep out weeds.

6. Based on what went well, the peaches are already covered with plastic. I intend to use last year's blog post to guide in removal of cover.

7. New fruits: as discussed previously, I have already determined locations for mulberry and the 2 additional miniature apple trees.

8. I resolve to make another attempt at apple grafting. Last year was not successful. I think part of the reason was the scions were transported at room temperature for >24 hours. If I can get some mid winter, I'll plan to transport them on ice. Alternatively, there may be some local trees to graft. My "neighbor tree" graft had excellent tasting, although small, apples this year. I could use more of those.

9. I resolve to pause with a day or 2 off work, at least every other month, planned ahead, truly set aside for self regeneration. If I can, a week off to stay at home.

10. I resolve to revisit this list later, for further plans and adjustments.


  1. Yard work...yard work...and more yard work, I love it! I have already pruned my roses and they seem to do well even when I prune them early (in Novemeber). Some lateral buds were damaged from the temperature fluctuations in Ohio but they should be fine. I usually wait to prune my cherry trees in late february, they seem to do the best when I prune them in late winter. As for the strawberries, I top dressed them with some compost they seem to take off in early spring when I top dress them in November.

  2. You are ahead of me. Some of that is climate and preference for method. In the Maritime Pacific NW, the continuous winter rains can spread infection in cherry trees, so we usually prune late winter. Apples and pears do OK with winter pruning, but again, I prune in summer for dwarfing effect. Grapes, definitely mid winter. That way they don't bleed, plus they don't ripen until Aug/Sept so summer pruning is out. However, summer pruning is better due to dwarfing effect, so my main preference for cherries is July, August. I clean up strawberries when they start to grow, probably April.