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10 New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners

Make a New Year's resolution to garden smarter, greener and—yes—easier this coming year. Try some of these resolutions on for size and see which ones fill the bill.

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seeds826A IA/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 1: I will start my own seeds this year

It’s easy and pain free. I can try unique varieties not found at the big box stores. And I’ll save a ton of money. A packet of seeds is a couple bucks and can produce dozens of plants. All I really need is a seed tray, soilless potting mix and seeds. Plastic seed trays can be used over and over again, too. Here are the step-by-step instructions for how to start seeds indoors.

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foodGary Perkin/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 2: I will compost my kitchen scraps

All those leftover salad greens, onion layers, cucumber peels, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells are much too valuable to send to the landfill. They’re easy to collect in a compost pail. When I get enough, I can either add them to a compost pile outdoors or dig them directly into the ground, where they’ll break down and feed my garden. Check out these 10 amazing backyard composting tools.

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rustVivienne Eastwood/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 3: I will find a place for all my tools. And materials. And leftover scraps from DIY projects

It’s only being considerate to the neighbors so they don’t have to look at all that stuff in my yard! And it will keep everything out of the weather and in usable shape. If my garage is too cramped, I’ll invest in a small garden shed. These garden tool storage ideas are a good place to start.

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shopDean Drobot/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 4: I will use fewer harsh chemicals—or maybe none whatsoever!

Because I’m composting now, I’ll be making my own natural fertilizer. And when I do need a garden chemical, I’ll see whether there’s an organic alternative instead. Mother Nature will thank me for it.

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toolLion 168/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 5: I will take care of my tools

That means not leaving them out in the rain to rust. And cleaning and lubricating them. It also means not abusing them—like that time I ruined perfectly good hand pruners trying to cut a thick stem that required much larger loppers. Discover these 12 ingenious gardening and yard tool hacks.

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bird DJ Taylor/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 6: I will channel my inner St. Francis and be kinder to animals

I’ll feed the birds (and maybe even the squirrels if it’s a harsh winter). And I’ll consider our feathered friends’ needs when choosing what to plant. I know they like evergreens for shelter, ornamental grasses for bedding, and all kinds of berried bushes for food. Make sure your birdies have a home, like this cozy bird cabin.

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water from hoseRhonda Roth/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 7: I will do my best to save water

Given a choice, I’ll grow drought-tolerant plants like succulents and cacti. I’ll make sure hoses and spigots are free of leaks. I’ll water infrequently but deeply so plant roots grow down instead of congregating near the surface. Also, I’ll start using a soaker hose instead of an overhead sprinkler, which causes too much evaporation. Learn more about saving water around the house and garden.

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grow Petrychenko Anton/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 8: I will make sure that the soil around my garden is covered

This will conserve soil moisture, put the lid on weeds, and keep the ground from cracking if we get a dry spell. A mulch of leaves works great—and there’s no shortage of them in fall. In spring and summer I can use grass clippings if I put them on thinly. Wood chips are a longer-term solution. I can either buy them bagged or probably get some free from my municipal composting site. Learn about soil coverings in our mulch guide.

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New Year’s Resolution 9: I will share my interest in gardening with others

I’ll take some of my extra new plants, and some of those I’ve divided, to work and offer them to co-workers. I’ll make a cut-flower bouquet for my elderly neighbor. And, if I have the chance, I’ll introduce young people to the magic of gardening—how they can grow beautiful flowers or delicious produce with just a little effort.

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chairAntoniya G. Kozhuharova/Shutterstock

New Year’s Resolution 10: I will enjoy my garden

I won’t stress about it being perfect. I won’t try to work in it when it’s too hot or buggy. But I WILL try to spend more time there, whether it’s sniffing flowers in the morning on my way out the door or relaxing in a comfy chair with my favorite beverage. Gardens are meant to be enjoyed.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.