Gardening Tips: January 4, 2012

Looking Back
First of all, I want to wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2012. I know that for many of you, 2011 was not a good year due to the wrath of Tropical Storm Irene. Let us hope that nature will be kinder to us in 2012.

This is the time of year when we make promises to ourselves that we may or may not keep. Usually the promise revolves around some sort of health or life style change that we know will be good for us.

Unfortunately this is a lousy time of the year to expect healthy lifestyle changes. It is the middle of winter and dealing with winter weather is about as much sacrifice as most people around here can handle. It is hard to go on a diet when surrounded by Christmas cookies and leftover turkey. It is also hard to quit drinking when it gets cold and dark by 4 p.m. Cut back on TV watching? See the previous sentence.

The following are resolutions I made last January and wrote in this column. Let’s see if I actually accomplished any of them.

I resolve to plant no more than eight tomato plants (O.K. maybe 10) but no more. (Well, I did get close on this one and ended up with 12 tomato plants. I had my best tomato harvest ever and made lots and lots of sauce. I will aim for 10 plants in 2012.)

I resolve to plant only two hills of zucchini, cucumbers and winter squash. (I planted two hills of summer squash, which was plenty, about six hills of cucumber which was not enough to make enough pickles and over a dozen hills of winter squash, which was about six too many)

More resolutions
I will plant only three varieties of corn. (I planted only one variety which was adequate) I will not order any seeds through the mail. I may not even look at the 50 or so seed catalogues I receive. I won’t buy any more gardening gadgets that don’t actually work. (Done and done and done!)

I will eliminate almost all lawn mowing and let the yard revert to weeds and brush. (This almost happened as my lawnmower has been in the shop since October of 2010 but I borrowed a lawn mower from Lester, I did selectively kill the grass in some small places as a test to see if this is practical on a larger scale.)

I resolve to keep both of my chain saws running and sharp at least part of the time. I resolve to get my firewood cut at least three months before I have to burn it. (Done and done!)

I will resist the urge to gather every bit of “free” firewood that I see by the roadside. (Irene has provided enough free, fallen firewood to last me all of 2012) I will not watch the Weather Channel for more than a half-hour per day. (done) I will read at least three books that are not about ginseng. (Nope, I did listen to several books on CD however but I only seem to read Florida fishing magazines) I will lose 15 pounds and paint my house. (Ha! I weigh about the same as last year, but I did hire my friend Lionel to paint the trim on my house and I got a new metal roof)