In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
December, 2000
Regional Report

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New Year's resolution #5: Get rid of some of my gardening tools.

My New Year's Resolutions

It's time to make my gardening resolutions. Every spring I swear I will never again make resolutions because I don't need any more pressure. Then January rolls around, and I find it exhilarating to make a new start, to think about improvements in the garden and in my gardening habits. So here goes!



Fix the Compost

My first resolution, although certainly not very glamorous, is to fix my compost. I've been tossing my kitchen scraps into a wire bin, rarely turning or adding soil. This winter we plan to build a state-of-the-art three-bin system. Oh, I'm going to miss my stinky, half-finished, haphazard compost pile, but I can hardly wait for the exquisite results.



Cut Up the Vegetables

My second resolution is to cut my garden waste into manageable, compostable pieces. I'm notorious for tossing sunflower stalks and bean vines on the pile, muttering to myself that I'll cut them up later. Before long, my husband comes to find me with a manure fork full of slimy, smelly, half-decomposed vines that obviously will not break down. I need discipline. Standing over the compost bin, patiently cutting up plant stalks can be my meditation, helping me to relax and take things slowly, one at a time.

Simplify the Landscape

My third resolution is to simplify my landscape. In my head, I've begun consolidating my plantings, to one perennial bed instead of four or five, for example. I've always used vegetables in my flower beds, but I never remember to give them the care they need. So I'm going to keep all my vegetables in the vegetable garden.



No More Containers

Fourth, I resolve to stop planting in containers. I had over thirty pots of flowers last summer, and every morning when I dragged out the hoses, I cursed all those spontaneous purchases at the garden center.



Fewer Tools

Which leads to the fifth resolution. It's one I know I can't keep, so why mention a resolution to stop spontaneous buys at the garden center? Besides, it does a soul good to occasionally buy something that takes your breath away, even if there is no place to put it, it's not hardy, and it won't ever again look like it does when you buy it. So, scratch that resolution.



However, I am going to reduce my garden tool inventory. Who needs four pairs of pruners, two pairs of loppers, two pruning saws, three hoes, three shovels, and a thousand plastic and clay pots? Not only will paring down be liberating for me, it will also give us more storage room in the shed - hopefully not to fill again with those bargain tools I can't resist at estate sales.



Eat More Healthful Foods

My last resolution is to prepare foods from the garden by keeping them as close to their natural state as possible. I want my daughters to know the taste of a cucumber and a green bean as it comes from the garden. I look forward to seeing them enjoy the taste of a cherry tomato warm off the vine, or a handful of pak choi, crunched on the back porch.



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