2019 Garden Evaluation Time! Plan Ahead for 2020 Growing Season!

We have made it to the final weekend of 2019 and our attentions are torn between a look back at this year and looking ahead to next year.  The Christmas and holiday decorations will still be up for a few more days or weeks depending on your custom but many of us begin the annual ritual of retrospective review and prospective resolutions.  This is not only a good habit for our personal lives but also a good idea for our yards and gardens.

Most everything in life goes better with a little planning.  Sometime soon, take a few moments to think about your flower and vegetable gardens of 2019.  Which plants did the best and which struggled?  Did they struggle because we were wet for so long in the spring or because you planted too late or some other known reason?  What plant varieties and colors did you love and want to plant again?  Did you wish you had another flowerbed, drip irrigation, another shade tree, your own blackberries or grape vines, a personal apple orchard or pecan trees at some point this last year?  This is a good time to take those ideas, wishes and experiences and turn them into goals or resolution for the year ahead.  This is the time of year when gardeners often get mail order catalogs in the mail or now you may get e-mails bursting with information on the newest vegetable, herb, annual and perennial varieties and touting their attributes with delicious and enticing pictures and prose.  It is always fun to plant seeds or transplants of some of these new plants but it is wise to focus on plants proven over the years to do well in our tough Oklahoma weather conditions and then expand the use of the new plant varieties after you have trialed them and feel they are worthy of more intense planting.  Look through the catalogs and e-mails for new ideas and inspiration but it is often best to visit and shop with your local garden center or nurseryman who knows our soil, water and climate issues and can help you select plants with the best chance for success at your home or property.

Your evaluation of 2019 and prior years may not only focus on existing trees, shrubs, lawn, vegetables and flowers but on plant experiences you may want to add to your life.  Have you wanted to start a vegetable garden, to add rose bushes, to start a kitchen herb garden, to add a water feature, fish pond or water garden, to add a hobby greenhouse, to build a patio with container gardens, to add a butterfly or pollinator garden?  All these cool garden projects begin with a dream and then a plan and finally action.  What have you seen and liked, visited and enjoyed or dreamed about that you would like to add your garden?  Life goes better if we are doing things we anticipate and look forward to, that give us a sense of wonder and enjoyment.

We have entered the season of winter on the calendar and this is a great time to sit down and evaluate what is going well in your yard and garden and what needs improvement.  After some basic evaluation you can make resolutions of what you want to add or try in your garden this coming year.  Like most things in life, gardening can be drudgery or “food for the soul” depending on your attitude and how you approach it.  There are some basic parts of gardening we do to keep our yards and property functional, presentable and attractive.  The rest of our gardening time should be growing the crops or plants you enjoy. Gardening gives us a chance to interact with nature and be in awe of how everything grows and develops, to meditate and contemplate with the wonders around us, to get physical and spiritual exercise while doing something we enjoy.

Take time this weekend and over the next few weeks before the 2020 gardening season to reflect on gardens past and to plan for you own future gardening experiences and enjoyment.  We wish you a very happy and rewarding New Year 2020!


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