New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener

Make plans for an improved garden in the new year. I thought this was an original idea to create New Year’s resolutions for gardeners. When I looked online for ideas I found this idea is not at all original! There are some great lists out there, so I’ve plucked out my 10 favorite gardening resolutions to share.

Try something new!

It may seem to make sense to stick with what has worked for you in the past, but it can be so satisfying to try new techniques and new plant combinations. You don’t need to make a complete change; just try one new thing.

Hang a birdfeeder.

Photo of male and female cardinals courtesy of Lok52.

This is one you can do right away! Soon you will get to know the birds in your area that are so fun to watch. Different birds show up at different times of day and in different seasons. It doesn’t take long before they feel like cherished friends and you watch for their arrival.

Start a garden journal.

Garden journal photo courtesy of Andrea_44.

During the growing season, I always think I will remember what worked, when things bloomed, and so on. I’ve learned these things slip from my mind over time. Keeping a garden journal allows you to review your observations and make good choices about managing your garden based on real information.

Build a compost bin.

There are lots of ways to approach composting. Seeing your kitchen and yard waste turn into nutrient-rich compost seems like magic.

Switch to organic fertilizers.

Nothing is better than organic fertilizer or your own compost. No worries about your pets or other wildlife. Your garden – and the Earth – will thank you.

Plant native plants.

Monarch butterfly on Swamp Milkweed in the library’s pollinator garden. Photo by Travis Garwood.

Native plants have evolved to survive the conditions in your area. They will require less maintenance and grow more successfully than plants that evolved for a completely different climate or soil.

Rethink all that lawn.

Pollution from lawnmowers and the chemicals that are often used to maintain a lush lawn are terrible for the Earth and the beings that live here. Xeriscaping techniques and edible landscaping are just two methods that can help you pare back how much lawn you need to maintain.

Grow plants from seeds and/or learn to harvest the seeds.

It’s fun to watch baby plants growing from seed. It’s best to choose open-pollinated seeds if you want to harvest them for the next year. I love the feeling of self-sufficiency that comes from saving seeds to plant next year.

Use natural solutions to manage pests.

There are lots of natural pest management solutions including attracting birds and beneficial insects that will prey on the bad guys.

Grow and cook a new vegetable.

Photo courtesy of cristina.sanvito.

I love this one! Take a walk on the wild side; you may find a new favorite.

If the weather outside is frightful – or even if it’s not – you can dream of spring and all the great things you will accomplish in your garden. The library has some enlightening books that can help with these resolutions. They are full of beautiful photos and ideas. Just browsing through them is fun! Check out this book list:

View complete list

Here are links to some of the other lists of resolutions I found online:

Chicago Botanic Garden

Gardener’s Supply Company

Mother Nature Network

Old Farmer’s Almanac


Jill Mickel

Jill Mickel is a Public Services Specialist and a member of the Arts and Crafts team. Her passions are art and community, and she believes that art is for everyone! When she is not at the library or working in her studio, she can be found gardening, cooking, reading, or bird-watching.