What better way to embrace another growing season than by making some new year gardening resolutions? You may want to start composting, dig a pond or mow your lawn more often. Perhaps you’ve vowed to ditch single-use plastic or use water more wisely.
Stuck for inspiration? We’ve come up with 10 resolutions you might consider for the garden this year, along with tips on how to achieve (and stick to) them.
Browse our suggestions for new year gardening resolutions, below.
Grow more houseplants
Growing houseplants has surged in popularity in recent years. It’s no wonder: houseplants can improve air quality in your home, help to relieve stress and aid concentration. They’re easy to grow and many of them will tolerate shade and neglect.
More on growing houseplants:
Use less plastic
Hand tools with wooden handles
Many of us want to use less plastic in the garden, from plant labels to watering cans, tools, plant pots and the sheeting used to suppress weeds. Buying (and therefore using) less plastic will not only reduce your plastic footprint, but will also send a message to manufacturers that gardeners want alternatives to plastic (especially single-use plastic).
More on using less plastic
Watering with comfrey feed
Whether you grow your own food or not, gardening organically is much better for the health of your garden. By not using pesticides, you’ll provide a safe source of food for bees and other pollinators, as well as boosting insect numbers. This means more food for birds and other insect predators, which may then choose to nest in your garden.
More on organic gardening:
Compost your waste
Composting garden waste
Homemade compost is invaluable in the garden, providing you with a fantastic soil improver and mulch, as well as wildlife such as bumblebees and slow worms with a place to live. It’s easy to set a compost bin up, whether you buy a ready-made bin or make your own.
More on composting:
Be water wise
Installing a water butt
We gardeners use a lot of water to keep our plants healthy. If using mains water, not only does watering cost you money (if you’re on a meter), but potentially it can put pressure on water reserves, especially in dry weather. Installing a water butt or three can help you reduce your reliance on mains water. What’s more, some plants benefit from being watered with rain water. You can connect water butts to downpipes from the roof or your home, but also assemble guttering systems around the roof of your shed or greenhouse. The more water butts you use, the more water you save.
You can also save water by mulching around plants to prevent evaporation from the soil, using water-retaining crystals in container displays, avoiding using sprinklers and growing drought-tolerant plants.
More on saving water:
Keep on top of weeds
Weeding between vegetable crops
If left to get out of hand, weeds can quickly take take light and nutrients from plants you want to grow. Regularly weeding around cultivated plants can help prevent weeds from growing too big, but few gardeners weed as often as they would like to. Just 10 minutes of weeding before you get started on more enjoyable garden jobs can really make a difference.
More on weeding:
Grow more of your own food
Few gardeners have the time or space to be completely sufficient, but you may enjoy growing a few crops while being rewarded with home-grown veg. Start with easy-to-grow crops such as potatoes, courgettes and runner beans. But, if you’re an experienced grower, why not grow a new variety or two each year? Choose anything from a different variety of squash or bean, to more unusual crops such as sweet potatoes, yams and okra.
More on growing your own food:
Plant a tree
Planting and watering a peach tree
The environmental benefits of planting trees are clear: trees absorb carbon dioxide, help reduce flooding and can also contribute to reducing urban temperatures. What’s more, if you choose carefully, your tree can provide food and shelter for wildlife.
More on planting trees:
Bumblebee on scabious
Whether you decide to feed the birds, dig a pond, plant flowers for pollinators or let areas of your garden grow wild for hedgehogs and other small mammals to take shelter, welcoming wildlife to your garden is hugely rewarding. Many species are declining and by gardening for wildlife we can help to boost their numbers.
More on wildlife gardening:
Adding compost to a pot
It’s long been cited as an environmentally unfriendly choice when potting up plants, as the removal of peat from peat bogs destroys wildlife habitats, while releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Yet peat-based composts are still widely available to buy in garden centres and nurseries. More peat-free options are becoming available, however, made using bark, wood fibre, wool and coir. While peat-free options have been hit-and-miss in the past, new mixes are proving popular with gardeners, and include seed-sowing and ericaceous formulas. So, why not give it a try? When buying compost, simply check the label to make sure it’s peat-free, or buy online.