Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 garden resolutions


I know, I know ... resolutions are a futile exercise and we forget about them by January 15th.

They are amateurish and a waste of time.

In terms of a blog post, they are so cliche and lack originality.

I get it and really had no intention of creating any resolutions this year. Until late last night ...

I'm in bed rifling through the recorded shows on the DVR, looking to clean it up and eventually settled on the few episodes I had remaining for Growing a Greener World.
The episode that caught my eye was "The Dirt on Healthy Soil". As I watched the host, Joe Lamp'l, gather soil for a soil test, I started to get really pissed off at myself. I call myself a "gardener" and I've NEVER tested my soil before. Chew on that for a minute ... think my credibility should sink a bit lower? Me too.

But wait, it gets worse ...

After "Joe Gardener" walked through the process of how soil is actually tested in the lab (which was really friggin cool by the way) he then took it to the next logical step. We determine our soil deficiencies and then look to address said deficiencies with ... wait  for it ... you may have heard of this "stuff" before ... I believe it is commonly referred to as ... compost.

Imagine that. Compost. What a novel idea.            
            
Oh, you've heard of it? I swear to you, it's 12:18 AM and I'm in bed and I am stewing. How can I claim to be an "obsessive" and "neurotic" gardener and not make use of the single most important resource in the world of gardening? Heresy, right?

Oh I made strides two years ago and installed a compost bin and religiously composted all of our table scraps and leaves and grass clippings. But that is where it ended. I naively just dumped and hoped for the best. I got caught up in all of the other gardening tasks and forgot about the most important one. All of that composted material still sits in the bin but it never truly "composted" in a useful way. Son of a ...

So as we entered the last day of 2012 and I considered self mutilation, I decided it was time to go back to the basics in 2013. And hence, my gardening resolutions were born. For this upcoming year, I will focus on three simple things:

1)Soil test
2)Compost
3)Education

In fact, I added these three items to the right side bar as a constant reminder to get back to the basics. See it? I'm that serious.

Soil test - as soon as the soil is workable in spring, I will get my samples out for testing and I cannot wait to see the results. Enough of the speculation and guesswork, time to get scientific.

Compost - it will take some time to get the production going, but thanks to that wonderfully inspiring GGW episode from last night, I now know where I can purchase compost in bulk. Check out this link.

Education - this is more of a keep reading, visit local gardens (and to think I'm not too far from both Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer and have never been is another strike against my credibility), talk to other gardeners (take a look at what is literally right down the street from me - Federal Twist), look into becoming a Master Gardener and simply get in the dirt kind of thing.

It is that simple.

I figure if I can address these three areas, then all else will fall into place.

Happy New Year and let's do this in 2013!


John        

   

             







8 comments:

  1. Amen. You have just moved up a notch on the serious gardener continuum. Planting trees is next (and finally bug ID), but for 2013 you are right on. Gardening takes place in the dirt, not on magazine pages, and you have to know your dirt / compost / soil intimately. I applaud these resolutions!

    There will be a Garden Conservancy open day at Federal Twist in 2013 --- so book it for a visit as soon as the date is published.

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  2. I had a soil test done years ago and after really looking hard at the results (and doing research and talking to my chemist husband) I realized that what the soil test lab recommended was malarkey. The recommendations were designed for farmers, not home gardeners (in fact, they listed additions based on several common crops!).

    So I did some more research and realized... no matter the test results... the recommendations for a home (organic) garden were to add compost.

    So now I add compost on a yearly basis (in the spring), skip the expense and effort of a soil test and most of the plants in my garden are larger than they're supposed to get (despite living in New England where plants generally stay small).

    I tried resolution 1, went on to resolution 3 and settled on resolution 2. It will be interesting to see if your results are any different.

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  3. I've never done a soil test either but one time I bought a home test kit. It's probably still in my garage, unopened.

    But I love composting and I do actually use my own compost. I think you'll find that it's just as easy to get obsessive and neurotic about your compost. I knew I'd reached that point when the people working at Starbucks knew I was there for their bags of used coffee grounds more than I was there for a mocha.

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  4. As a Master Gardener in two states, let me tell you-- soil test soil test soil test. Hope you go get enrolled into the MG program, great learning experience.

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  5. Do it! The MG class, that is:) I did it last year and am so glad I did. I learned SO much. I'm still processing it all. As far as getting your soil tested, that's a no brainer. It doesn't need to be done annually, only once, really. Gives you a good 'base' to start from, so you know what is lacking, if anything. Good luck, John :)

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  6. Great post! We've shared this on our Facebook page (facebook.com/greatgardensupply). Best of luck!

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  7. You don't need a soil test. Here's what I do: eat some dirt.

    I taste it actually. Just a pinch.
    Sour - amend.
    Sweet - amen! good dirt!

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  8. You may be able to source FREE compost from local wholesale growers. I work at a wholesale perennial nursery in Ohio and we have a huge pile out back that all our dead/crappy plants and media gets pitched on. We love it when someone pulls up for a truck load (or 2 or 3). Just watch it when using it for a veggie garden. Most production growers do use some amount of pre-emergent herbicides and pesticides.
    I've even been thanked for the free plants that spring out of the stuff once it's been spread around (mostly hostas, they are tough). So just a thought, for anyone like me who's not ambitious enough to make their own. Hope this helps :)

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