Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
It is the New Year and time for resolutions. There are opportunities to improve our lives through gardening and opportunities to improve your gardening experience. Consider these resolutions for 2008.
1) Spend more time in the garden in 2008. Gardening is good exercise and contributes to a positive state of mind. In your busy life give a high priority to gardening time to take advantage of its contribution through exercise and to your mental health.
Use less water in your gardening.
3) Use your gardening knowledge to benefit our community through participation in Master Gardeners, Garden Volunteers of South Texas, Master Naturalists, Audubon Docents, and/or Botanical Garden Docents, These groups have beautification, water conservation, wildlife habitat, recycling, education and environmental projects in which you can participate.
4) Introduce at least one youth to gardening in 2008. If they respond research shows they will have a life long hobby, do better in school, be more likely to be a good citizen, and live a more satisfying life.
5) Recycle more gardening waste in 2008. Leaves are the easiest materials to recycle. Use them for mulch, compost them, or just let them decompose on the lawn. It is environmentally unacceptable to bag them for disposal in the landfill.
6) Resolve to plant at least one tree in 2008. The tree could be in your yard, in a common area, at a school, in a park or at your church. Growing trees reduce runoff, reduce CO2 emissions, and conserve water and energy by providing shade.
Resolve to increase the care you take in using
pesticides. Use the least toxic option,
read the label carefully, and follow the label accurately. This would be a good year to dispose of all
your old and unlabeled pesticides. Also identify those chemicals you are not
likely to use and discard them. Dispose of the hazardous waste at an official
disposal site. In
After you complete writing up your gardening resolutions, here are some other tasks that should be considered.
In the vegetable garden, plant your onion
transplants. The 1015’s are the most popular selection,
Keep the broccoli harvested. The plants will produce side shoots after the central head as removed. Cauliflower curd will turn yellow if you do not shade the head. The easiest way to do it is to use spring mechanism clothes pins to pin up the leaves over the head.
Harvest spinach and other greens as you need them. Only remove one-third of any plant’s foliage at one time and the plants should produce until the end of April.
The lawn does not need much attention in January. Irrigate once if it is warm and we do not have rain. Mow once to keep winter weeds in check.
The nurseries quite often have larkspur and bluebonnet transplants available in January. Plant them in full sun.
Plant trees, shrubs, perennials, and fruits in January to take advantage of cool weather for root development before the summer heat arrives.