It’s not even the middle of winter and I’m already thinking about my garden plans for the next growing season. In between mulling over what varieties to plant and daydreaming about simply being outside in a t-shirt and shorts on a warm summer day, I’ve also been putting some thought into the things I want to improve. It seems like every year there are tasks that just slip by and I always end up saying “maybe next season I’ll get around to that.” Considering the new year is fast approaching, I figured I’d compile some of these resolutions into an official list of gardening resolutions:
- Actually prune the tomatoes: Pretty much every year I’ve managed a school garden I haven’t pruned our tomato plants and they always end up turning into massive viney bushes. This past season I did much better at staying on top of pruning, but we had an incredibly dry summer so our tomato crop was measly at best. This year I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better weather and plan to integrate checking the tomato plants for suckers into my everyday garden routine. If you’re also looking to step up your tomato growing efforts check out our Tomato Growing Guide.
- Minimize overplanting: I manage two large production gardens for the Burlington School District and almost all our produce goes directly into school cafeterias. And even though our chefs do a fantastic job using our fruits and veggies in meals, sometimes I just end up growing a little more than necessary. Kale, hot peppers, and summer squash tend to be the top culprits. This year I’m planning on consulting my planting records and cutting back on the number of seeds I’m sowing. (See above: that's a lot of hot peppers!)
- Maintain the raspberry bushes: We have a number of raspberry bushes at one of our gardens and we always make an effort to restring our T-post trellises each spring. That being said, I don’t do the best job of training any new growth so that it’s contained by the lattice system. By the end of the summer most of the raspberry branches have escaped the trellis, defeating the purpose of our original work. Come the growing season I’m aiming to actually put a concerted effort into maintaining our raspberries.
- Clean out the tool sheds: Both of the production gardens I manage have large sheds chock full of gardening tools. I spent most of last summer telling myself that one day I’d get around to cleaning out these sheds and taking an inventory of all our assorted equipment. Needless to say this cleaning session did not happen and so I’d like to kick off the next season with a big day of cleaning and organizing.
- Plant some spinach: I love spinach and yet I never really grow it in our school gardens; we tend to shy away from greens in favor of larger crops that can have more of a presence on the lunch line. But for the first time in years I now have a little garden at home and I’m definitely looking forward to planting some spinach there and having it available for fresh salads and stir-fries all summer long.
Do you have any gardening goals for the new year? Feel free to share!