New Year Resolutions for Gardeners

— Written By Kate Holt
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The New Year is a time for looking back on the past, and even more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. As gardeners, there are steps that we can take to improve the ecology and sustainability of our landscapes. Consider adopting one or more of these resolutions for your garden in the New Year:

Commit to eating more seasonally and locally.

  • Buy produce during its peak season. This is when a crop is at its freshest and most delicious and also when you can buy it from a local grower.
  • Support your local farmers market, CSA (community supported agriculture) or farm stand. Find dates and locations for the Onslow County Farmers Market on their website or follow them on Facebook. The Onslow County Farmers Market will reopen for the 2019 season in April. Find local farms, farm stands, and pick-your-own operations at NC Farm Fresh.
  • Plan your vegetable garden for year-round production. In Onslow County, you can grow some sort of vegetable almost year round. Nothing is more local than your backyard. Get started growing vegetables with these great references:
  1. Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide.
  2. Incorporate fruit crops into your landscape. Fruit trees and blueberry bushes can be beautiful additions to the yard while also producing fruit.
  3. Choose plants and varieties that are low maintenance and easy to grow in our area – figs, muscadine grapes, rabbiteye blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries grow well in Onslow County.

Be pollinator friendly. Protect honeybees, native bees, and other pollinators by taking the following steps:

  • Plant flowers that serve as pollen and nectar sources throughout the season. Check out this publication from the Xerces Society for a list of pollinator-friendly plants for the Southeast.
  • Use pesticides only when needed. Use cultural (crop rotation, early or late planting dates to avoid pests), mechanical (hand pulling weeds or handpicking insect pests, row covers) and biological control options (promoting insects and predators that prey on pests) as your first line of defense.
  • Avoid planting crops that will require a lot of pesticide sprays (such as apples or non-muscadine grapes) to produce a quality crop.