You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who isn’t happy to leave 2020 behind. Let’s face it; 2021 can only be better! New Year’s resolutions usually involve promising to eat well or getting into better shape, but we’ve got some ideas gardeners might like to commit to for the upcoming year. These resolutions will not only lead to better success in the garden and an eco-friendly lifestyle, but they might also check all of the boxes by helping you relax, be healthy, and shed a few pounds. You’re welcome!
Resolution #1 – Grow More Food
While we might be eager to get 2021 underway, the news isn’t good when it comes to our projected grocery bills. The pandemic, climate change, and changing consumer habits mean the average Canadian family can expect to spend an extra $700 on food next year! Canada’s Food Price Report says bread, meat, and vegetables will all cost a lot more.
Whether you live in an urban area with nothing but a balcony or the country with a vast property, this is the perfect time to start growing your own food. If you’re already a fruit and vegetable grower, consider expanding your repertoire of food crops beyond those you already know. Select plants that are high-yielding and versatile. There’s nothing more rewarding than growing food; it’s more nutritious than what you’ll get at the store, and if growing from seed, you’ll save hundreds of dollars too!
Resolution #2 – Start An Indoor Kitchen Garden
Why wait for the spring and the summer to start your garden? Indoor growing is experiencing a massive boom as people look to keep themselves occupied and remain as self-sustainable as possible over the winter months.
In your kitchen or on a sunny windowsill, you can grow anything from sprouts, herbs, and mushrooms, to tomatoes, lettuce greens, peppers, and more! For simplicity, you can purchase countertop hydroponic gardens, or you can grow in soil in cute little pots with the help of some grow lights, if needed. Just because the warm days of summer are months away doesn’t mean we have to give up gardening.
Resolution #3 – Plant A Pollinator Victory Garden
Our food supply depends on pollinators’ important work, and yet, many populations are in danger of extinction. Deforestation and the overuse of chemical pesticides are causing irreparable harm to these essential creatures. The bees, beetles, bats, birds, butterflies, and more need our help. Do your part by planting a pollinator victory garden.
Providing animal pollinators with a safe habitat to live in is paramount. Whether you live in the city or a rural area, don’t use chemicals on your crops. Offer pollinators clean water sources, areas for shelter and laying eggs, and a variety of floral resources for nectar, pollen, and resins. Choose native plants in a variety of colors, shapes, and blooming times for your property; this way, you’ll attract a variety of pollinators to your home and enjoy the biodiversity you’ve helped create.
Resolution #4 – Consider No-Dig Gardening
Does gardening have to be hard work? Not really, especially not if you decide to go the route of no-dig gardening! The best part of growing flowers and food is planting and harvesting. This technique allows you to focus on the fun aspects instead of laborious tasks like digging, weeding, and watering.
If you’ve ever made lasagna, this method should be a breeze. The idea is to build living soil with various layers of organic matter. Much like a compost heap, it involves alternating green and brown materials to create black gold. No-tillage means the earth is left undisturbed, which allows microbes to thrive. Carbon stays put in the ground, and weed seeds remain buried and unable to germinate. This resolution may not burn a ton of calories, but it will deliver bountiful yields, is kind to the earth, and will keep your back feeling good for your next aerobics class.
Resolution #5 – Raise Some Chickens
If you felt cooped-up during 2020, you might as well get some chickens in 2021. As people worldwide look to be more self-sustainable, interest in raising backyard chickens is on the rise. Beyond having plenty of fresh eggs every week, chickens also make lovely pets and provide a steady manure source for the gardens.
Did you know pet chickens are often used as therapy animals? Me neither, but that sounds interesting considering what we’ve been through the last several months. Of course, resolving to raise chickens is no small undertaking; you need to have the means to care for them and space. As with all living things, these birds need a lot of love.
If any of these gardening resolutions are appealing to you, consider the following resources to help you along the way: